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Turner v. Bruce

United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin

January 22, 2019

SHAKIA TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER ANDREW BRUCE and OFFICER JIM MOROVIC, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM M. CONLEY DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Shakia Turner brings claims against Madison Police Officers Andrew Bruce and Jim Morovic under the Fourth Amendment. A jury trial is set to commence on Monday, February 4, 2019. In advance of the final pretrial conference scheduled for January 25, 2019, the court issues the following opinion and order addressing the parties' motions in limine.

         OPINION

         I. PLAINTIFF'S OMNIBUS MOTION IN LIMINE (Dkt. #25)

         MIL No. 1: Admit the police reports as evidence at trial

         Plaintiff seeks an order permitting her to admit as evidence at trial the written police reports relevant to this matter. In particular, she wants to present Officer Bruce's written report describing statements made by Wa Xiong, the person who made the initial police report that a homeless woman had entered his home and taken a necklace. Plaintiff also wants to present statements from the person who ultimately was detained as a result of Xiong's report, Lasandra Sykes. Defendants do not object to admission of Xiong's statements, but object to Sykes's statements on relevance grounds.

         Because plaintiff did not file the police reports with her motion, it is difficult for the court to rule on the admissibility of the reports or the particular statements she wishes to introduce. From the parties' vague descriptions of the reports, it appears that some (or statements within some reports) may well be relevant and admissible, while others may not. For example, statements by Xiong to Office Bruce would seem directly relevant to what information he possessed at the time he approached plaintiff. In contrast, Lasandra Sykes's statements appear irrelevant to the issues in this case, in light of the fact that she spoke to officers after the incidents at issue in this case had concluded. Nor has plaintiff explained why Sykes's statements to the police would be relevant to the claims in this case. Plaintiff is, therefore, direct to provide the court with hard copies of the actual police reports she seeks to introduce at trial by 4:30 p.m. today, highlighting those statements and other information she believes are relevant to the issues in dispute, with a brief written justification as to why. In the meantime, I will reserve on the admissibility of statements or information in the reports.

         This motion will be RESERVED as set forth above pending an adequate proffer and argument at the Final Pretrial Conference.

         MIL No. 2: Exclude evidence or testimony regarding any prior lawsuits involving plaintiff

         This motion will be GRANTED as unopposed.

         MIL No. 3: Preclude evidence of other police contacts plaintiff has had outside the incident in this case

         This motion will be GRANTED as unopposed.

         MIL No. 4: Preclude evidence of plaintiff's prior convictions

         This motion will be GRANTED as unopposed.

         MIL No. 5: Prohibit any witness disclosed as an unretained expert from offering opinions on whether defendants' conduct violated plaintiff's civil rights

         Plaintiff contends that because Officers Bruce and Morovic could not remember any specific training they received on “Terry” stops or arrests, no witness should be able to testify regarding the training MPD provides or whether the officers complied with their training or MPD standards. While defendants object to plaintiff's characterization of their deposition testimony, it appears both officers testified at their depositions that they received extensive training, but that they could not recall specific details. Regardless, defendants agree that testimony or evidence as to any training they received, whether adequate or not, and whether their actions were consistent with training, policies or procedures, are ultimately irrelevant to this case. The court agrees. This case does not involve a failure to train claim against the city and does not present complex issues about whether an officer's ...


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