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Top 10 Motions in Limine

The following ten motions in are from the book California Criminal Defense Motions in Limine.  Motion and page numbers within the motions correspond to the book.  These ten motions address issues that recur in many trials.

10. Prohibit Description of Video Recording

Video recordings are now ubiquitous and are part of many cases. Prosecution witnesses often narrate videos to give their own interpretation of what the videos show or, worse, prosecution witnesses describe their conclusions about what a video shows instead of showing the video to the jury.  A jury is entitled to make its own determination as to what a video shows. This motion seeks to have the jury make that determination without influence from the prosecution. 

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9. Limit Conversations Near Jurors

An in-custody defendant cannot roam the halls of the courtroom while discussing the next defense move.  Conversely, prosecution witnesses are almost always out of custody, and it is common for prosecutors and witnesses to discuss the pending case in the courthouse hallways where jurors may overhear.  This motion seeks to prevent such conversations.

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8. Limit Prosecution Witness Conferences

A prosecutor may attempt to help a floundering witness by reviewing police reports with the witness, describing the prosecution’s case to the witness, or otherwise trying to get the witness back on track.  This motion seeks to limit such efforts.

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7. Prohibit Use of Prosecution’s Demonstrative Evidence

Demonstrative evidence can mislead a jury and prejudice a defendant.  Video, PowerPoint, photomontage, and other such highly visual presentations can have a powerful effect, and the defense often sees such presentations only as they are being presented to the jury.  This leaves little opportunity to object without giving the jury the impression that the defense has something to hide.  This motion asks for an opportunity to review such demonstrative evidence before it is presented to the jury.

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6. Admit Evidence of Consciousness of Innocence

If a defendant flees, destroys evidence, or otherwise exhibits a consciousness of guilt, the prosecution can use those acts to show guilt. This motion seeks to admit acts demonstrating a consciousness of innocence to prove innocence.

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5. Examine Exhibits Outside the Presence of the Jury

Many judges prudently require exhibits to be premarked and discussed outside the presence of the jury.  This motion seeks to formalize the practice and ensure that prosecutors do not add new exhibits during the heat of witness examination without first giving the defense opportunity to object without the jury present. 

Download Sample Motion Here

4. Facilitate Defendant’s Communication with Counsel

An attorney should not be unduly restricted in communicating with his client, especially when the client is on trial, but jails often restrict phone calls, restrict mail, restrict defense computer use at the jail, or otherwise place restrictions on the defendant and the defense team that hamper effective trial preparation.  This motion offers some suggestions to minimize interference with defense efforts.

Download Sample Motion Here

3. Provide Private Meeting Room for Defense

If counsel and other members of the defense team try to chat with an in-custody defendant during breaks in the proceedings, there is a great danger that conversations will be overheard by bailiffs, court staff, members of the prosecution team, and others.  This motion requests a private room at the courthouse during breaks in the proceeding, an hour before court, during lunch, and a half-hour after the close of proceedings so the defense team can privately confer with the defendant.

Download Sample Motion Here

2. Make Motions in Limine Binding

If motions in limine are not binding, counsel must renew objections in front of the jury to preserve issues for review.  Repeated objections can give the jury the impression that the defense has something to hide.  This motion seeks to eliminate the need for repeated objections.

Download Sample Motion Here

1. Motion to Federalize Objections

To make a proper constitutional objection, the state and federal courts have required precision and specificity by counsel. In other words, simply objecting “hearsay,” will not preserve a federal Sixth Amendment confrontation issue, nor will objecting “Evidence Code 352” preserve a Federal due process issue for review in Federal courts.  If objections are not preserved, Federal courts will not review them. This motion seeks to remedy this problem.

Download Sample Motion Here


Motions Under Consideration

Motions in Limine submitted by visitors are listed here for comments, suggestions, and additions.  If you would like to comment on, submit. or suggest a motion, please send us a message through the Contacts Page.


California Criminal Defense Motions in Limine


Motions in limine for use in California criminal trials. This edition by Victor VeVea and Roger Lampkin is more than 50% longer than the last edition. Trials are often won or lost before the first witness is sworn. Motions in limine are used to keep bad evidence out of trial, bring good evidence into trial, and control the atmosphere and order of a trial. A great advantage of such motions is to avoid the obviously futile attempt to “unring the bell” after the jury has already heard bad evidence and been instructed to disregard it.

Praise for the book:

“Attorneys (novice and experienced), defendants, legal assistants, and anyone connected to those accused of a crime should have this excellent book. Read it; refer to it, and use it as your handbook and bible. I am pleased to contribute to this book knowing of its significant benefit to defendants. It empowers you to understand complicated issues in criminal cases.” ~Defense Attorney Joe Whittington – TicketWarrior.com

“Criminal defense trial attorneys need a strong motion in limine practice to control the floodgates of prejudicial evidence prosecutors seek to admit at trial. This book is a great place to start for the novice and experienced practitioner alike.” ~Trial Attorney T. Alan Rogers

“Actually, this is as good as I’ve seen it regarding federalizing objections… you put a lot of effort into this… and you are trying to be specific, so I think that’s good…” ~Judicial comments at trial in People v. Xavier Harris

“Great motions in limine, such as those you’ll find in this book, can help level the playing field and get your client a fair trial.” ~George A. Boyle – GeorgeBoyle.com

“Excellent source of trial motions. These motions are well written and thoroughly researched. I use this book for EVERY trial!” ~Attorney David Faulkner – BakersfieldDefenseAttorney.com

“I have used these motions in limine in many trials to my clients’ advantage. They are accurate, persuasive, and compelling.” ~Trial Attorney Bill Slocumb – BillSlocumbLaw.com

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