MITCHELL, SILBERBERG & KNUPP LLP
DANIEL M. PETROCELLI (State Bar No. 97802)
EDWARD M. MEDVENE (State Bar No. 32227)
THOMAS P. LAMBERT (State Bar No. 50952)
PETER B. GELBLUM (State Bar No. 102695)
11377 West Olympic Boulevard
Los Angeles, California 90064-1683
Attorneys for Plaintiff
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES
ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON,
FREDRIC GOLDMAN, etc. et al.,
ORENTHAL NAMES SIMPSON, et al.,
LOUIS H. BROWN, etc.,
ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON,
MOTION IN LIMINE OF PLAINTIFF FREDRIC GOLDMAN TO EXCLUDE EVIDENCE AND ARGUMENT THAT FAYE RESNICK USED DRUGS OR THAT THE MURDERS OF NICOLE BROWN SIMPSON AND RONALD GOLDMAN WERE RELATED IN ANY WAY TO FAYE RESNICK
Case No. SC 031947
Case No. SC 036340
Case No. SC 036876
Trial Date: September 17, 1996
GOLDMAN MOTION NO. 9
Faye Resnick was a close friend of Nicole Brown Simpson's who entered a drug rehabilitation program just prior to the murders of Nicole and Ron Goldman. In the video released earlier this year by defendant Orenthal James Simpson, Simpson asserted that the identity of the killer or killers of Nicole and Ron could be found in the "world of Faye Resnick." In response to an interrogatory propounded by plaintiff Fredric Goldman, Simpson asserted that the murders were "possibly" related in some way to Faye Resnick. Simpson has now had an opportunity to discover and investigate this claim for over two years. However, his interrogatory responses demonstrate that he has no evidence, let alone any admissible evidence, that in any way ties Faye Resnick or her "world" to the murders. Simpson should be precluded from making Faye Resnick's drug use or lifestyle an issue in the case.
Goldman propounded a series of interrogatories to Simpson regarding Faye Resnick and Simpson's contentions relating thereto. Goldman asked: (1) Do you contend that the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson was in any way related to Faye Resnick? [Interrogatory No. 175]; (2) Do you contend that the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson was in any way related to the fact that Faye Resnick had been staying at the home of Nicole Brown Simpson at a time shortly before June 12, 1994? [Interrogatory No. 178]; and (3) Do you contend that the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson was in any way related to the use of illegal drugs by Faye Resnick? [Interrogatory No. 181]. Simpson responded to each with the response, "Possibly."'
With respect to each of the above interrogatories, Goldman propounded a follow-up interrogatory asking Simpson to "please set forth in detail all facts that support your contention." [Interrogatory Nos. 176,179, and 182.] Simpson responded by citing the following "facts":
* "Defendant has received anonymous phone calls that Faye Resnick may have maintained drug debts and said anonymous callers have informed representatives of the defendants that the crimes committed on June 12, 1994 was related to the drug debts incurred by Ms. Resnick. Defendant has no further information that either substantiates or denies said anonymous claims."
* "Per the police report, Sidney [sic] Simpson heard her mother crying on the phone. Faye Resnick spoke with Nicole on the phone that night."
The interrogatory responses also referred Goldman to unspecified portions of Simpson's deposition. At his deposition, Simpson was asked about the basis for his belief "that the answer to these murders are in the world of Faye Resnick." He responded:
* "[S]he's lied about every -- so much, I should say, since this thing is over, and I can't believe that a person would lie the way she has for no reason. She claimed her life was in danger early on, which I guess it was, and she claims her life is in danger now. Certainly not from me, but I wouldn't be surprised . . . I thought, the bizarre way Nicole was acting seemed to somehow be related to Faye Resnick." Deposition of Orenthal James Simpson 1982:121983:9.
* Simpson also admitted at his deposition that no one has ever told him that the murders had anything to do with Faye Resnick. Simpson Depo. 1983:17-25.
The purpose of a motion in limine is to "avoid the prejudicial effect of questions asked or statements made in connection with the offer of objectionable evidence." B. Witkin, 3 California Evidence (3d ed. 1986) 2011, at 1969; see also Ganey v. Doran. 191 Cal. App. 3d 901 (1987) (trial court correctly precluded counsel from referring to agreement as "illegal" where there was no evidence of illegality).
Simpson may not introduce evidence or raise factual contentions at trial that he failed to disclose in response to interrogatories specifically directed to those contentions. Thoren v. Johnson and Washer, 29 Cal. App. 3d 270, 274-75 (1972) (party is bound by interrogatory answer where failure to provide information "subjects the adversary to unfair surprise at trial" or "deprives his adversary of the opportunity of preparation"). Here, the only "facts" that Simpson identifies as supporting his claim that the "world of Faye Resnick" is responsible for the murders either constitutes inadmissible opinion and hearsay (purported anonymous telephone calls received by Simpson, and allegations that Resnick has said her life is in danger), or is irrelevant to any claim that Resnick or her "world" had something to do with the murders. Even if Simpson could prove that Resnick used drugs or lied about some unspecified matter, this would not tend to prove that the murders are connected to her or her "world." Similarly, the claim that Simpson's daughter heard Nicole crying while talking on the telephone on the evening of June 12, and that Nicole spoke to Faye Resnick on the telephone that night, is not evidence that the murders are connected to Resnick or her "world."
Simpson obviously has no evidence that Ms. Resnick or her "world" had anything whatsoever to do with these murders. He should not be permitted to confuse the issues and mislead the jury by presenting arguments to the jury unsupported by substantial evidence and based on pure speculation. People v. Ponce, 44 Cal. App. 4th 1380,1390 (1996) ("Trial judges have the duty to responsibly and fairly control the proceedings to prohibit argument which is not supported by substantial evidence."); see also Evid. Code 352 (Court may exclude evidence "if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will . . . create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury.").
For all of the foregoing reasons, Goldman requests an order prohibiting Simpson from presenting evidence or argument that Faye Resnick used drugs or that the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman were in any way related to Faye Resnick.
Dated: August 26,1996
MITCHELL, SILBERBERG & KNUPP
Daniel M. Petrocelli
Attorneys for Plaintiff Fredric Goldman
On August 15, Simpson purported to "supplement" these "Possibly" responses with the following statement: "After meeting and conferring with plaintiffs' counsel wherein they advised that what they were seeking in this question was whether this may be one of the defendant's contentions, defendant further responds that this may be a contention that defendant will assert at trial but is by no means the only contention on this issue." Simpson has not supplemented his responses with any additional facts.