Legal Memorandum: Motion in Limine in LA

Issue: Under Louisiana law, do the rules of evidence provide for the court to exclude inadmissible evidence in advance of trial?

Area of Law: Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Admissibility of evidence; Motion in limine
Jurisdiction: Louisiana
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: La. R. Evid. art. 104(A), art. 103(c), art. 102; Fed. R. Evid. 102; Federal Rules 104(a) and 103(d)
Date: 04/01/2015

The court has the inherent power to grant a motion in limine, prior to trial, to determine the admissibility of evidence.  See La. R. Evid. art. 104(A) (stating that “[p]reliminary questions concerning the competency or qualification of a person to be a witness . . . or the admissibility of evidence shall be determined by the court”); id. at art. 103(C) (explaining that, “[i]n jury cases, proceedings shall be conducted, to the extent practicable, so as to prevent inadmissible evidence from being suggested to the jury by any means”); see also 21 Charles A. Wright & Kenneth W. Graham, Jr., Federal Practice & Procedure—Evidence 2d § 5037.12 (2008) (citing cases).*FN1  The rules must be construed to secure fairness and efficiency in the administration of the law of evidence so that the truth is ascertained and proceedings are justly determined.  La. R. Evid. art. 102; accord Fed. R. Evid. 102. 

The motion in limine is an important device for securing a fair trial, enabling the trial court to prevent prejudicing the jury with inflammatory, irrelevant, or potentially inadmissible evidence.  See 21 Wright & Graham, supra, Federal Practice & Procedure—Evidence 2d § 5037.10 (citing cases).  The motion furthers the Article 102 values of fairness and efficiency, and the policy of Article 103 by avoiding mistrials resulting from exposing the jury to evidence, the prejudice of which cannot be undone by an instruction to the jury.  See id.  Motions in limine also provide a useful adjunct to other devices, like […]

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