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United States v. Tucker

June 14, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL L. TUCKER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Holschuh

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

On January 5, 2006, Defendant was indicted on: one count of possession with intent to distribute in excess of 50 grams of cocaine base (i.e., crack cocaine) in violation of 21 U.S.C. § 841(a)(1); one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1)(A)(i); and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1).*fn1 This matter is before the Court on Defendant's motion in limine. (Doc. # 34).

I. Background

On December 7, 2005, Columbus Police Officers Hannah and Baase were on routine patrol when they observed Defendant commit a traffic violation. The Officers activated their emergency lights and siren to signal Defendant to pull over. Defendant, however, fled from the Officers at a high rate of speed and attempted to elude the Officers. Eventually, Defendant crashed his vehicle into a building and fled on foot.

Officer Hannah secured the vehicle and did not observe any other occupants in the vehicle. Officer Hannah did, however, observe a loaded pistol in plain view on the passenger seat of the vehicle. Additionally, while conducting an inventory search of the vehicle, Officer Hannah discovered approximately 106 grams of what was suspected to be crack cocaine.

In the meantime, Officer Baase pursued Defendant on foot. Officer Baase was joined in the pursuit by several other Columbus Police Officers. Defendant was eventually apprehended by Officers Pettengill and Wilson of the Columbus Police Department.

On May 9, 2006, the Government provided counsel for Defendant with copies of certain recorded telephone conversations that Defendant made from the Franklin County Jail between December 7, 2005 and May 3, 2006. The Government contends that it will seek to introduce the recorded conversations which allegedly evidence an attempt on behalf of Defendant to induce an innocent individual, Leonard D. Thomas, to take responsibility for the possession of the drugs and firearm that are identified in the Indictment. Additionally, the Government apparently seeks to introduce evidence that was seized from Thomas's cell pursuant to a search warrant. This evidence includes letters sent from Defendant as well as a letter sent from Defendant's former counsel, Steve Nolder. Defendant has moved to prevent the admission of this evidence.

II. Discussion

A. Standard

The purpose of a motion in limine is to ensure the evenhanded and expeditious management of trials by eliminating evidence that is clearly inadmissible. See Indiana Ins. Co. v. General Elec. Co., 326 F. Supp.2d 844, 846 (N.D. Ohio 2004) (citing Jonasson v. Lutheran Child and Family Serv., 115 F.3d 436, 440 (7th Cir. 1997)). A court should only exclude evidence on a motion in limine when that evidence is determined to be clearly inadmissible.

Indiana Ins. Co., 326 F. Supp.2d at 846. When a court is unable to determine whether or not certain evidence is clearly inadmissible, evidentiary rulings should be deferred until trial so that questions of foundation, relevancy and potential prejudice can be resolved in the proper context.*fn2

Id.

B. Application

1. Rule ...


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