Skip to comments.Jury cannot be told plaintiff undocumented (illegal alien shackled while giving birth)
Posted on 08/19/2011 10:04:13 PM PDT by Libloather
Jury cannot be told plaintiff undocumented
Published: Aug. 17, 2011 at 6:53 PM
NASHVILLE, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- A jury seated to determine civil damages cannot be told a woman who was shackled while she had a baby in Tennessee is an illegal immigrant, a U.S. judge says.
The judge also barred the Davidson County Sheriff's Office from using two expert witnesses, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported. The witnesses were expected to testify they believe any anguish Juana Villegas suffered during the delivery three years ago came from fear of being deported.
Villegas was near her due date when she was stopped for a traffic violation and then held because of her immigration status. U.S. District Judge William J. Haynes Jr. has already ruled her rights were violated by being forced to give birth while chained down and by not being allowed a breast pump while she was imprisoned.
"The issue of deportation and immigration is too volatile," Haynes said in his ruling Tuesday on the defense's expert witnesses.
The question on evidence is always is it more probative than prejudicial? Does the fact (or piece of evidence) tend to illuminate more than inflame?
This would be highly prejudicial, and if I understand the case from this terse report - her immigration status has nothing to do with whether or not the treatment she received violated her rights as a detainee - the core issue.
The article also says she was later unshackled and gave birth normally, so what's the big deal?
Of course that kid is now a US citizen.
Next time anyone goes into labor, get yourself arrested and later sue. Nice college fund or down payment on a house right there.
I wonder if she has the same "rights" in whatever craphole country she wandered out of?
What a pathetic country we are becoming. Bill her for costs incurred, and call it a wash.
This treatment is not reserved for illegals. Later unshackling is not guaranteed, and the UPI article doesn't provide details. The problem in this case is not with a single illegal but with a bunch of LEOs torturing people.
Once the police arrests someone and deprives the arrestee of the freedom to take care of himself the police must assume those duties within reasonable limits. For example, they shouldn't be able to arrest you, put in a cell, and forget about you for a month (no food, no water.) In this particular case the police also failed to take care of the baby - who, as far as I can tell, hadn't been accused of any wrongdoing, before or after his birth.
Many rulers in the past (and present) like to expand their power by using their soldiers against thieves and robbers. This makes people think that the soldiers are working for them, and the harsh punishment meted out to thieves is just and proper. Soon, however, the people learn that soldiers are not on their side, and they can hang villagers just as easily as robbers. I would be very careful to not laud the marginally humane treatment of illegals because if we do then the same treatment will be soon provided to all US citizens.
By all practical means, we should have open borders by now.
We’ve had 4 administrations “about 23 years” that were or are
pro open borders, one world government. They have not only
ignored the problem but actually made it worse. Now criminal
aliens are allowed to sue citizens, industry and government in
process of their illegal activity. 23 soon to be 24 years of
I'm just not at the point that you are where it seems you think the government (well maybe Obama) and therefore it's soldiers — police officers and, what, the armed forces (?) are out to get us. Many of these people are my friends or neighbors and are just as anti-big government control as I, and they don't purposely harm pregnant women just because they are illegal. They don't follow illogical and harmful orders without question and are not socialist pawns. Yes, there are always some bad apples that get all the attention but that's a small percentage.
Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by mere incompetence.
yes, you’re right, it was a good post.
and if police mistreated a CRIMINAL,
then let THEM pay.
why should INNOCENT American taxpayers,
have to pay?
let her sue the police, and then,
let the AMERICAN PEOPLE SUE HER !!!
our CHILDREN are in debt 14 trillion - $92,000 each !!!
...the picture worth 10,000 words here:
illegals cost just TX and CA, 17 and 21 BILLION,
EACH YEAR !!!
illegals are STEALING our money.
i have a right to MY money not going to illegals in benefits.
my CHILD is being put in DEBT, to give money to ILLEGALS!
our U.S. Government, is BORROWING MONEY,
and giving it to ILLEGALS!
are OUR rights, LESS than that of people
who deliberately CHOSE to INVADE our country ?!?
Hmmm. This kind of ruling never seems to be applied to the innocent; only the guilty.
The baby is a US citizen, just like me and I assume you and thus has all the rights of a US citizen.
Mom, while not a US citizen, is protected by the Constitution as she is a person and our Constitution extends rights to the people, not just citizens.
Following are the two primary rules regarding relevance in the Federal Rules of Evidence.
Rule 401: "Relevant evidence" means evidence having any tendency to make the existence of any fact that is of consequence to the determination of the action more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
Rule 403: Although relevant, evidence may be excluded if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion of the issues, or misleading the jury, or by considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence.
Under Rule 401, if there is a fact in issue which is of consequence to the action, and evidence is offered which has any tendency, no matter how slight to make the determination of that fact more probable or less probable, then it is relevant. Here, the source of her anxiety leading to her emotional distress (assuming this is an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim) is crucial to determining how much she should be awarded. Evidence of her status as an illegal alien, as well as the contribution of her fear of deportation to her emotional distress, therefore would be relevant evidence on that point, and the judge could instruct the jury to limit their consideration of that evidence to that point.
Rule 403 provides an additional limitation on the admissibility of relevant evidence. That rule keeps out otherwise relevant evidence if that evidence fails the balancing test that the judge must perform. For the rule to operate, the probative value of the evidence must be substantially outweighed by one of the dangers or considerations enumerated in the rule. We can discard the considerations of undue delay, waste of time, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence here because there is no information of other evidence probative of the point in issue being introduced, or that the evidence is being presented as a delaying tactic. The questions of misleading the jury, confusing the issues, and unfair prejudice need to be addressed.
I will limit the analysis to the danger of unfair prejudice for the purpose of brevity, though a more thorough analysis would address the other two dangers as well. Unfair prejudice is not simply prejudice. *All* evidence is prejudicial to the other side -- that is why the opposing side proffers the evidence. Unfair prejudice is a specific term of art in evidence law. The highly-influential committee notes on Rule 403 state that unfair prejudice is "an undue tendency to suggest decision on an improper basis, commonly, though not necessarily, an emotional one." In other words, evidence is unfairly prejudicial if it would tend to suggest to the jury that they should decide the case on an improper basis. Improper bases include, but are not limited to, emotional inflammation of the jury as well as the infamous he's a bad person, therefore he must have committed the crime, or he committed crime X therefore he must also be guilty of crime Y.
Here, the defense has a good argument that the evidence would tend to inflame the jury and entice them to decide against the woman simply because she is an illegal alien. Here is where the judge must balance the evidence versus the unfair prejudice. If the evidence that her illegal alien status and fear of deportation contributed to her emotional distress is weak, then the judge would probably be justified in excluding the evidence under Rule 403. However, if the evidence is strong (i.e., she made a statement to that effect, or other circumstances make it clear that some of her distress stemmed from her fear of deportation) then the judge would probably abuse his or her discretion in excluding the evidence. Without more, I cannot make a better analysis.
However, the point of my reply is that the question on evidence is not "always [if it is] . . . more probative than prejudicial[.]" It is whether, among other factors, the probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. Moreover, because the danger of unfair prejudice must substantially outweigh the probative value of the evidence, Rule 403 is a rule favoring admissibility not exclusion.
This is a complicated analysis. How prejudicial evidence is does not enter into the equation. Because it is possible for her immigration status and fear of deportation to have had a bearing on the amount of distress she experienced, the evidence could certainly be relevant and if the evidence is not too weak would most likely make it through Rule 403.
Throw her and the Anchor back n the river.