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Motions in Limine: A Primer (From The Litigation Manual, P 685-691, 1989, John G Koeltl, ed. -- See NCJ-117323)

NCJ Number
E S Epstein
Date Published
7 pages
This article discusses the nature, benefits, and use of a motion in limine, which may be offered at the threshold of a trial to obtain a ruling on the admissibility of specific evidence.
Evidence that is potentially damaging because it is inflammatory, prejudicial, or likely to evoke sympathy without being probative can be excluded by a motion in limine, as can irrelevant evidence or other matters that would be excluded after a proper objection. In addition to reducing the risk of exposing the jury to inadmissible, inflammatory, or irrelevant evidence, motion in limine avoids repeated objections or sidebar conferences in the course of the trial. It also prevents cautionary instructions to the jury which, rather than erasing the evidence from a jury's mind, may call the jury's attention to it. Motions in limine may also seek admission of evidence. Such motions usually help to arrange the details for advance planning, such as the jury's visiting a site to observe evidence, rather than to help strategic planning. The benefit of an in limine ruling that admits rather than excludes evidence is that it save the unnecessary expense of preparing special exhibits or producing distant witnesses for trial. Where there is a question as to whether certain evidence is admissible, an in limine ruling may also help a lawyer avoid interjecting unnecessary reversible error into the trial. 8-item bibliography.


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