United States District Court, D. Nevada
M. NAVARRO, CHIEF JUDGE.
before the Court is the Motion in Limine (“MIL”),
(ECF No. 2514), filed by the Government to preclude evidence
that is irrelevant and offered in support of jury
nullification. Defendants Cliven D. Bundy (“Cliven
Bundy”) and Ryan W. Payne (“Payne”) filed
timely Responses. (ECF Nos. 2555, 2568). Co-defendants
Eric J. Parker (“Parker”) and Ammon E. Bundy
filed Motions for Joinder to the Responses. (ECF Nos. 2651,
2676). The Government filed a Reply. (ECF No. 2699). For the
reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS in part and
DENIES in part the Government's MIL.
March 2, 2016, a federal grand jury sitting in the District
of Nevada returned a Superseding Indictment charging nineteen
defendants with sixteen counts related to a confrontation on
April 12, 2014, with Bureau of Land Management
(“BLM”) Officers in Bunkerville, Nevada. (ECF No.
general, “[t]he court must decide any preliminary
question about whether . . . evidence is admissible.”
Fed.R.Evid. 104(a). In order to satisfy the burden of proof
for Federal Rule of Evidence 104(a), a party must show that
the requirements for admissibility are met by a preponderance
of the evidence. See Bourjaily v. United States, 483
U.S. 171, 175-76 (1987) (“We have traditionally
required that these matters [regarding admissibility
determinations that hinge on preliminary factual questions]
be established by a preponderance of proof.”).
the [Federal Rules of Evidence] do not explicitly authorize
in limine rulings, the practice has developed pursuant to the
district court's inherent authority to manage the course
of trials.” Luce v. United States, 469 U.S.
38, 41 n.4 (1984) (citing Fed.R.Evid. 103(c)). In limine
rulings “are not binding on the trial judge, and the
judge may always change his mind during the course of a
trial.” Ohler v. United States, 529 U.S. 753,
758 n.3 (2000); see also Luce, 469 U.S. at 41
(noting that in limine rulings are always “subject to
change, ” especially if the evidence unfolds in an
instant MIL, the Government seeks to preclude Defendants from
addressing or eliciting “information or argument that:
portrays or implies that the law enforcement officers acted
unlawfully or unethically during impoundment operations; or
that the actions of the defendants were justified by the U.S.
Constitution or other law” because they are irrelevant
and offered in support of jury nullification. (Gov't.
Mot. 1:23-2:3, ECF No. 2514). Specifically, the Government
seeks to preclude the following:
1. Self-defense, defense of others, or defense of property,
justification, necessity arguments which have no foundation
in the law;
2. Third-party/lay person testimony or opinion about the
level of force displayed or used by law enforcement officers
during impoundment operations, including operations on April
6, 9, and 12, 2014;
3. Opinions/public statements of Governor Brian Sandoval of
April 8, 2014, and/or opinions registered by other political
office holders or opinion leaders about BLM impoundment
4. Allegations of workplace misconduct by the SAC of the
impoundment, or regarding those who worked for, or with, him.
5. Allegations that officers connected with the impoundment
acted unethically or improperly by the way they were dressed
or equipped during the impoundment, or that they improperly
shredded documents during or after impoundment operations;
6. References to supposed mistreatment of cattle during the
7. Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations, or opinions that
the federal government does not own the land or have legal
authority or jurisdiction over public lands where impoundment
operations were conducted, or that the land was or is
otherwise owned by the State of Nevada;
8. Legal arguments, beliefs, explanations, or opinions
regarding infringement on First and Second Amendment ...