SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
SHARON RUFO, Plaintiff
ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON, et al., Defendants
FREDRIC GOLDMAN, etc. et al., Plaintiffs,
ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON, et al., Defendants.
LOUIS H. BROWN, etc., Plaintiff,
ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON, Defendant.
Case No. SC 031947
Consolidated With Case No. SC 036340 And Case No. SC 036876
MOTION IN LIMINE OF PLAINTIFF FREDRIC GOLDMAN TO PRECLUDE ARGUMENT AND
QUESTIONING REGARDING PLANTING OF EVIDENCE
Trial Date: September 17, 1996
GOLDMAN MOTION NO. 1
Defendant Orenthal James Simpson would like to explain away the
overwhelming amount of incriminating evidence against him by claiming
that the Los Angeles Police Department planted the evidence in a massive
conspiracy to frame him for a double murder. Despite two years of
extraordinary investigation and discovery by teams of defense lawyers,
experts, and investigators, Simpson has produced no evidence to back up
his wild, desperate assertion.
In the criminal trial, Simpson was given unfettered reign to advance his
unsubstantiated claims of police conspiracy and planting of evidence,
presumably to afford him the widest possible discretion to raise doubts
in the face of a double murder prosecution against him. We are now in a
civil case, however, and the rules are different. Evidence that at best
creates only a "reasonable doubt" is insufficient.
Goldman contends that Simpson attacked and killed Ronald Goldman, and
Simpson denies these acts. Goldman bears the burden of proof on this
issue. But Simpson goes one crucial step beyond mere denial. He
affirmatively asserts that the police conspired and planted evidence
against him. On this claim, Simpson bears the burden of proof. Evidence
Code 664 states: "It is presumed that official duty has been regularly
performed." Evid. Code 664.
This presumption applies generally to police officers. Davenport v.
Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 6 Cal. App. 4th 133, 141 (1992), overruled on
other grounds, McNary v. Dept. of Motor Vehicles, 45 Cal. App. 4th 688
(1996). See also People v. Harris, 213 Cal. App. 2d 365, 369 (1963)
(where defendant claimed police entrapped him, he had burden of proof on
that issue and "in the void of specific testimony . . . the courts
cannot infer improper motives or activities on the part of the officers,
but must presume that the officers regularly and lawfully performed
their duties"). Section 664 is a presumption affecting the burden of
proof, Evid. Code 660, the effect of which "is to impose upon the party
against whom it operates the burden of proof as to the nonexistence of
the presumed fact." Evid. Code 606; see also Evid. Code 500, 550.
Simpson cannot possibly meet this burden because he does not even have
sufficient evidence to sustain a jury finding -- that he was framed. In
response to Goldman's specific interrogatories and requests for
admissions, Simpson was required in this case to disclose all of his
evidence showing that blood and other evidence were planted against him.
After Simpson objected and flatly refused to answer these discovery
requests, Goldman sought and obtained an order from the court compelling
answers. But Simpson's court-ordered answers were vague, evasive, and
little more than broad and indiscriminate references to over one year of
protracted proceedings in the criminal trial, including grand jury
proceedings, the preliminary hearing, pretrial proceedings, and the
nine-month long jury trial. Consequently, Goldman has filed a motion for
preclusion sanctions to be heard by this court on September 17.
The simple fact is that Simpson has had many months to provide the
evidence supporting his claims, he has not been able to do so, and he
cannot do so at trial. See Thoren v. Lohnson and Washer, 29 Cal. App. 3d
270, 274 (1972) (party may not rely on evidence not disclosed during
discovery in response to interrogatories).
Entirely absent from Simpson's interrogatory answers is any concrete
evidence of planting of blood or other evidence against him. Simpson
does not identify a single person who planted the evidence. He does not
state when the evidence was planted. He does not explain how the
evidence was planted. He does not say why the evidence was planted.
Without such basic foundational facts, all that remains is rank
speculation and pure conjecture. The court should not permit this trial
to be diverted down such paths. See People v. Kaurish, 52 Cal. 3d 648,
685 (1990) (even in a criminal case where defendant need create only a
reasonable doubt of his guilt, court properly granted prosecution's
motion in limine to prohibit questioning about a third party's
involvement in the crime, because "evidence of mere motive or
opportunity" to act by the third party is not sufficient to raise a
reasonable doubt; defendant must provide "direct or circumstantial
evidence linking the third person to the actual" commission of the act).
No reasonable jury could find that any item of evidence-was planted --
based on the evidence on which Simpson relies -- nonexistent in some
cases, scant in others. Questioning and argument that evidence was
planted could serve only to confuse the issues, mislead the jury,
consume undue time, and unduly prejudice plaintiffs, and should be
excluded. Evid. Code 352.
The recent case of People v. Ponce, 44 Cal. App. 4th 1380 (1996),
illuminates this principle. In Ponce, the defendant in a robbery case
sought to argue that he had been framed by the Los Angeles Police
Department. The trial court ruled that there was insufficient evidence
to permit the defense to argue such a "framing" theory, notwithstanding
the defendant's contention that he was entitled to argue his theory of
the case to the jury. On appeal, the trial court's decision was upheld
because "there was no substantial evidence of an effort by a single
police officer to falsely accuse or assist a witness in inaccurately
identifying defendant as the perpetrator of the offense" or "that two or
more police officers entered into what amounted to a conspiracy to
obstruct justice by falsely accusing defendants of the crimes which
resulted in convictions. The fact that defendants were contending they
had been misidentified or there was a reasonable doubt as to guilt was
not substantial evidence of Misconduct by law enforcement officials
amounting to an effort to 'frame' [defendants]. The reality that there
were inconsistencies in [the victim's] testimony or that of the officers
did not amount to substantial evidence of an attempt by police officers,
individually or collectively, to falsely accuse defendants of the
robbery. In the absence of such evidence, the trial court had a duty and
right to preclude defense counsel from pursuing such argument.... Trial
judges have the duty to responsibly and fairly control the proceedings
to prohibit argument which is not supported by substantial evidence." 44
Cal. App. 4th at 1389-90 (emphasis added).
Simpson claims all of the most incriminating pieces of evidence were
planted: (1) the trail of Simpson's blood at Bundy; (2) Simpson's blood
on the back gate at Bundy; (3) Simpson's blood, Ronald Goldman's blood,
and Nicole Brown Simpson's blood in Simpson's Bronco; (4) a glove
containing Simpson's blood, Ron's blood, Nicole's blood, Ron's hair,
Nicole's hair, fibers from Ron's shirt, fibers from Ron's pants, and
fibers from Simpson's Bronco, at Simpson's residence on Rockingham; (5)
Simpson's blood inside and outside of his home on Rockingham; and (6)
Simpson's blood and Nicole's blood on Simpson's socks in his bedroom. As
to certain of these items of evidence, Simpson's interrogatory answers
offer no explanation to show planting; as to others, the answers posit
circumstances Simpson contends are suspicious and support an inference
of planting. For the Court's convenience, the relevant interrogatory
answers are quoted and summarized in the Declaration of Daniel M.
Petrocelli filed concurrently herewith. Examination of the interrogatory
answers shows that no jury could reasonably infer planting of evidence
from the facts advanced by Simpson. Nowhere has Simpson recited who
planted the evidence, when it was planted, how it was planted, or why it
One example illustrates the merit of this motion. On June 13, the police
found and collected blood drops to the left of bloody shoe prints at the
Bundy crime scene leading away from the victims towards the back gate.
The undisputed evidence in this case is that these blood drops were
collected by LAPD criminalists on June 13 before Simpson gave a sample
of his blood to the police at Parker Center in the late afternoon of the
same day. The blood drops were tested and matched Simpson's blood. In
response to Goldman's Requests for Admissions, Simpson admitted that the
blood tested matched his blood. To overcome this conclusive evidence of
guilt, Simpson claims his blood was planted in place of the real
killer's blood. When asked to explain how the Bundy blood drops,
collected before the police obtained Simpson's blood, could be planted,
Simpson merely referred to the entire closing argument of Johnnie
Cochran and Barry Scheck, plus thousands of other pages of the criminal
trial, the preliminary hearing, the Griffin hearing, and depositions in
this case -- all in the transparent hope of hiding his complete absence
of evidence or explanation.
In banning cameras from the courtroom and issuing an order limiting
public discussion of this case, the Court drew heavily on the lessons
learned from the criminal trial. Another of those vital lessons is the
absolute need to prevent the confusion, prejudice, and waste of the
court and jury's time resulting from questioning, testimony, and
argument about speculative theories lacking any basis in fact.
Accordingly, Goldman urges the Court to prevent defendant from
misleading the jury, confusing the issue, creating undue prejudice, and
consuming. inordinate amounts of time by entering an order prohibiting
Simpson from questioning any witnesses and arguing to the jury that any
of the evidence in this case was planted. In the alternative, if the
Court is not inclined to grant this motion, Goldman asks the Court to
consider the six motions filed herewith that separately address each
category of evidence Simpson claims was planted.
Dated: August 26, 1996
MITCHELL, SILBERBERG & KNUPP
/s/Daniel M. Petrocelli
Attorneys for Plaintiff Fredric Goldman
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