A motion in limine is a motion that a lawyer brings in front of the court when asking the judge to ban certain testimony in a health care management trial or another type of trial. Judges can either ban that testimony or allow the testimony, and this type of motion can occur during a civil or criminal trial at both the state and federal levels. There are several reasons why either side of the trial may request this motion.
One reason a lawyer may call for this motion is because he or she views the testimony as irrelevant to the case at hand. The defense may bring forward family members during a malpractice case to talk about the defendant’s good qualities and to show that the individual is a family person. The prosecution may ask the judge to dismiss or remove that evidence from the trial because those family members cannot speak to the doctor’s medical experience or training.
Unreliable in the Case
Judges in civil and criminal proceedings can dismiss evidence after one side shows that the testimony is unreliable. This often occurs in criminal trials when the court views a witness as being unreliable. A person might claim that he or she saw the crime occur but then continually changes the story or remembers additional details later. The judge may also dismiss the testimony because one the defense finds that the person was not there when the crime occurred.
Prejudicial to the Client
A common reason why a lawyer might file a motion in limine in a health care management case is because the testimony is prejudicial against the client. The American criminal justice system states that an individual is innocent until proven guilt. The defense might argue that showing certain evidence or allowing specific testimony will prejudice the jury against the defendant. The Cochran Firm points out an example of the prosecution showing photos of a victim’s injuries and claims that this can make the jury turn against the defendant and side with the victim.
Immaterial evidence is similar to irrelevant evidence and both relate to this type of motion. Immaterial evidence can include evidence presented by an expert on one side of the case. The expert will show that proof, talk about his or her background and explain how that evidence relates to the case. Lawyers working on the opposite side can call for this motion and claim that the expert presented immaterial evidence that has no connection to the case at hand. This might include an expert who spends more time talking about the testing of the evidence than how the evidence relates to the actual case.
Violate Trial Rules
A limine motion can also come about when one side argues that the testimony given will violate the trial rules or the rules of the court. Those rules relate to the burden of proof that the prosecution has, the things that a jury can do and even the way a defendant can act in the courtroom. If the judge determines that the testimony will violate any court rules, the judge can dismiss the witness or strike the testimony from the court record.
The burden of proof during a court case often falls on the side of the prosecution. Those lawyers must have enough evidence to try someone or a crime or find that individual guilty of a civil charge. Lawyers can file a number of motions, including a motion of limine, during a health care management trial or another type of trial to suppress certain testimony from witnesses and experts.