SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE No. BA068880
ERIK GALEN MENENDEZ and
JOSEPH LYLE MENENDEZ,
FILED June 19, 1995
PEOPLE'S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT'S' MOTION TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE OF SPENDING
DATE: June 26, 1995 TIME: 9:00 A.M. PLACE: DEPARTMENT NW, "N"
TO THE HONORABLE STANLEY WEISBERG, JUDGE OP THE VAN NUYS SUPERIOR
COURT, AND TO THE DEFENDANTS AND THEIR ATTORNEYS:
PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that on June 26, 1995, the People of the State
of California will oppose the defendants' motion entitled "MOTION
IN LIMINE RE RECENTLY PROFFERED SPENDING EVIDENCE." This
opposition will be based upon this notice, the attached points and
authorities, and such argument as will be made at the time of the
hearing of the motion.
This court has previously ruled that the prosecution may present
evidence that after the defendants murdered their parents, they
spent their parents' money. This evidence includes the following
purchases and attempted purchases:
1. Two Rolex watches and money clips (Both defendants)
2. Marina City Condominium (Both defendants)
3. Porsche (Lyle Menendez)
4. Clothing and accessories-New Jersey and New York (Lyle
5. Private limousine and body guard-New Jersey and New York (Lyle
6. A patio home (Lyle Menendez)
7. A townhouse (Lyle Menendez)
8. A restaurant-Chuck's Spring Street Cafe (Lyle Menendez)
9. A million dollar-plus residence in Newport Beach (Erik
10. Jeep Wrangler (Erik Menendez)
11. Private tennis coach (Erik Menendez)
12. Pool table (Erik Menende7)
With the exception of the million dollar-plus residence in Newport
Beach, all of the above-cited spending evidence was ruled
admissible in some form in the first trial. This Court has since
ruled it admissible in a joint trial conducted before a single
jury. The defendants now seek to exclude additional evidence of
their spending. Specifically, they seek to exclude evidence of
the following expenditures:
1. Rental of the bungalow suite at the Hotel Bel-Aire
2. A ski trip to Aspen
3. Clothing and accessories purchased in Chicago, Illinois
4. A private limousine used in Beverly Hills and Chicago, Illinois
5. A Sony Big screen entertainment center
6. A Saab Automobile
7. A vacation to Cancun, Mexico
8. Skiing and gambling in Lake Tahoe
9. Traveling the professional tennis circuit
10. Investments at Smith Barney
The Defendants argue that insofar as the People can demonstrate
that each defendant fraudulently obtained $350,000 from the
insurance company, the prosecution should be precluded from also
presenting evidence that they spent the money obtained. They argue
that evidence of spending is more prejudicial than probative, and
that it is inadmissible character evidence.
Similar objections, made under Evidence Code 352 and 1101, were
argued on June 17 and July 26, 1993, before the start of the first
trial. At that time the court ruled that such evidence is not
inadmissible character evidence. The court also evaluated the
evidence under Evidence Code Section 352, and determined that the
probative value of the evidence outweighed any possible prejudice
to the defendants.
Similar objections were raised after the first trial. On April 3,
1995 this court once again evaluated evidence of spending under
Evidence Code Section 352 and found it admissible. Additional
arguments to exclude evidence of spending were made on April 4,
1995, and were rejected by the court.
The Court has thus considered and discussed, at length, the very
issues raised by the defendants in this motion in regard to
evidence of spending, and the court has repeatedly ruled that the
defendants' arguments are without merit.
The defendants seek to exclude all but one of the following 13
areas of evidence which the People seek to present to the jury.
1. The party at the Bel-Aire hotel - In the first trial, spending
at the Bel-Aire Hotel was excluded after the defendants presented
the testimony of their cousin Henry Llanio, who testified that he
helped select the accommodations at the hotel as a meeting place
for the family immediately after the murders, and that he assumed
the bill would be paid by LIVE Entertainment.
In fact, the People will show through the testimony of Robin
Rosenbloom and others that the defendants used the suite to
entertain their friends, and that they threw a party immediately
after the memorial service in which, in the words of Ms.
Rosenbloom, "no adults" were in attendance. The defendants rented
the most expensive suite, ordered caviar and champagne, and Lyle
Menendez paid for the accommodations.
The People seek to present evidence of the lavish accommodations
available to them following the murders of their parents, as well
as the use they made of such accommodations. This evidence is
relevant to their state of mind immediately after the murder of
their parents, and is circumstantial evidence of their state of
mind at the time of the murder of their parents.
2. The Aspen ski trip- Testimony will show that the defendants
took a vacation shortly after they killed their parents. The
issues raised[ by the defendants in their response in regard to
this evidence are matters which may be the proper, subject of
cross- examination, but such matters do not go to the
admissibility of the evidence.
3. Shopping in Chicago, Illinois- This evidence of spending is
similar to the evidence of spending already ruled admissible by
this court through the testimony of Richard Wenskowski and Glenn
Stevens. Here again, issues raised by the defendants in their
response in regard to this evidence are matters which may be the
proper subject of cross-examination, but such matters do not go to
the admissibility of the evidence
4. Limousine rentals in Beverly Hills - The rental of limousine
for personal transportation is similar to the evidence previously
ruled admissible through the testimony of Richard Wenskowski. This
evidence is admissible for the same reason that limousine rentals
in New Jersey and New York were ruled admissible in the first
5. Limousine rentals in New Jersey - Lyle Menendez' rental of
limousines was ruled admissible in the first trial, and should be
ruled admissible once again. Also admissible is Lyle Menendez'
interest in pricing bullet-proof limousines.
6. Limousine rentals in New York - Lyle Menendez' limousine rental
in New York was ruled admissible in the first trial, and should be
found to be admissible once again.
7. Limousine rentals in Chicago. Illinois - This evidence is
admissible for the same reason that limousine--sine rentals in New
Jersey and New York was ruled - admissible in the first trial.
8. The Sony Entertainment System - The People have provided the
defendants with a statement by Perry Berman in which he discusses
his personal observations and knowledge of a purchase of an
elaborate and expensive Sony sound system by Lyle Menendez. The
defendants argue that this purchase cannot be proven without
documentation. While documentation may be one way to establish the
purchase, the testimony of a witness having personal know1edge of
this matter is an equally valid way to establish the disputed
9. A Saab Automobile - Lyle Menendez' purchase of a vehicle for
Jamie Pisarcik is relevant and admissible to show the defendant's
use of his ill-begotten gain. This evidence is not challenged by
10. The Cancun, Mexico vacation - Here again the defendants offer
no proper reason why this evidence should be ruled inadmissible.
Here again also, documentation is not the only way to establish
the expenditures of the defendant, and the testimony of a
percipient witness can establish this fact. Nor is it relevant
that the parents of the defendants took the defendants on similar
vacations before the defendants killed them. That the defendants
may have been accustomed to living well does not defeat evidence
of motive; to the contrary, it demonstrates what the defendants
were afraid of losing if they were to be cut out of the will. For
that reason, it establishes motive all the more.
11. The Lake Tahoe ski trip- Evidence of a vacation and gambling,
in Lake Tahoe, including the fact that the defendant borrowed
money from Mark Slotkin is additional evidence of the defendant's
state of mind, and there is no proper reason to exclude it.
12. Professional tennis circuit-Israel - The defendant argues that
this is evidence of "work," - an argument to which only the
privileged could relate. In truth, this is evidence of the
defendant's pursuit of his personal goal of becoming a
professional tennis player, a pursuit made possible with the
bloody money of his dead parents.
13. Investments at Smith-Barney Florida - This evidence of Erik
Menendez' spending is comparable to the purchase of a restaurant
by Lyle Menendez and should be ruled admissible on the same basis.
Both are relevant to the defendants' motive for committing the
The defendants object to the admission of all but one of the 13
items of evidence discussed above. Only two of these items were
ruled 3dmissible in the first trial; the other items were not
offered. The defendants argue that one item of evidence was
previously ruled inadmissible ( the spending at the Hotel Bel-
Aire) but the People ask that this evidence be admitted based upon
the evidence and arguments only now advanced by the prosecution in
regard to this evidence.
The defendants request that this court exclude evidence of
spending pursuant to Evidence Codes sections 350, 352 and 1101. In
light of the previous rejection ion by this court of similar
arguments advanced in regard to similar items of evidence, the-e
People respectfully ask that this court deny the defendants'
Respectfully submitted this 19th day of June 1995
/s/ David P. Conn
/s/ Carol J. Najera
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