Author Topic: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation  (Read 5348 times)

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Offline Cylinder

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State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« on: July 04, 2013, 09:23:48 PM »
TalkLeft brought this to my attention in the defense expectation thread for Week 3, so I thought it worth posting here:
 
State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
 
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The State of Florida, by and through the undersigned Assistant State Attorney, hereby moves this Honorable Court for an Order governing forthcoming trial proceedings in the instant case. In support of the instant Motion, the State submits the following:

(1) On June 21, 2013, Defendant scheduled the deposition of a recently-disclosed defense expert witness. During that deposition, the witness (for the first time) indicated that he had prepared, and intended to testify regarding, a computer-animated “reenactment” of some purported events in reference to the above-captioned case, currently set for trial today, June 24, 2013.

(2) Initially, the State would request the court conduct a hearing related to the violation of Defendant’s reciprocal discovery violation by virtue of the late disclosure of this proposed exhibit, by a late-disclosed witness who did not author any report or similar document.

(3) Further, the State would request that the Court prohibit mention of during opening
statement and during trial of any such exhibit, including the display of such an item as a demonstrative exhibit.

Under Florida law, in order to admit a demonstrative exhibit, illustrating an expert‘s opinion, such as a computer animation, the proponent must establish the foundation requirements necessary to introduce the expert opinion. Specifically, (l) the opinion evidence must be helpful to the trier of fact; (2) the witness must be qualified as an expert; (3) the opinion evidence must be applied to evidence offered at trial; and (4)
pursuant to section 90.403, Florida Statutes, the evidence, although technically relevant,
must not present a substantial danger of unfair prejudice that outweighs its probative
value. Further, the proponent must establish that the facts or data on which the expert relied in forming the opinion expressed by the computer animation are of a type reasonably relied upon by experts in the subject area.  Finally, the computer animation must be a fair and accurate depiction of that which it purports to be.
Cites omitted.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2013, 10:24:47 PM »
To me this looks like something that would call for a full-blown evidentiary hearing. Maybe they will do it on Friday if the state gets through its witnesses early.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 10:26:53 PM by nomatter_nevermind »

Offline unitron

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2013, 11:32:58 PM »
There is a certain droll quality to the state complaining about late disclosure by the defense.

Offline TalkLeft

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2013, 12:13:30 AM »
I was trying to figure out if this has been ruled on. So far, all I found was right before openings, John Guy brought out that they object to it. The judge asked O'mara if he was going to use it in opening. He said he had a screengrab from it but he wasn't going to mention the animation. The judge had O'Mara show Guy the exhibit and it seemed like he didn't object. But it wasn't the animation, just a shot from it, he wasn't objecting to.

Offline MJW

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2013, 12:24:32 AM »
In Lowe v. State, 2 So. 3d 21 (Fla. 2008), the Florida supreme court upheld the state's use of a video reenactment to support the state's theory of the timing.

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The State sought to introduce the videotape during the guilt phase because its theory was that Lowe acted alone. Thus, the time study was conducted to prove that Lowe would not have had time to pick up Sailor and Blackmon before going to the store and then dropping them off before returning to work. As a result, the video reenactment was relevant to prove Lowe's guilt of the crime. Although Mr. Felicella testified that the time study was not valid, he offered no study of his own to rebut this time study or to demonstrate that it was unreliable. Because Lowe fails to demonstrate deficiency or prejudice under Strickland, this claim was properly denied.

Offline cboldt

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2013, 03:50:38 AM »
I was trying to figure out if this has been ruled on. So far, all I found was right before openings, John Guy brought out that they object to it. The judge asked O'mara if he was going to use it in opening. He said he had a screengrab from it but he wasn't going to mention the animation. The judge had O'Mara show Guy the exhibit and it seemed like he didn't object. But it wasn't the animation, just a shot from it, he wasn't objecting to.

I recall that, and was looking for a still that looked computer generated.  I thought that one of the views of the walkway area behind the buildings looked computer generated.  If that speculation is correct, the CG animation would be of the paths the two took.  That content of a visual aid fits with using the timeline too.  The point of that would be to show that Martin confronted Zimmerman, not the other way around as the state alleges.  The animation would, in that sense, not be any new evidence (other than assuming velocities for Zimmerman and Martin), it would rehashing existing evidence from phone log timestamps and Zimmerman statements introduced into evidence.

There seems to be an uptick in chatter about the last 2-5 seconds of Zimmerman's account being impossible, for various reasons.  Can't grab his gun if he is on his back; can't grab his gun if Martin has grabbed his hand; Martin could not have seen the gun; and so on.  I don't think the CG reenactment covers that point.

Mantei's motion in opposition does not explain how the GC animation fails to represent a complete or accurate record of the evidence upon which the animation is required to be based, (or how the animation is speculative and irrelevant) but that seems to be the linchpin of his argument.  I can't imagine how a video animation that combines phone log timestamps with Zimmerman's recreation and Rachael's testimony is prejudicial, or an Mantei likes to remind the court "danger of unfair prejudice."  Interestingly, Mantei also doesn't directly argue that the CG animation should be disallowed because allowing it could result in "confusion of issues, misleading the jury, or needless presentation of cumulative evidence," the other bases for exclusion under in Rule 90.403.

I think Nelson will allow it, unless the state can point to aspects that are unsupported by direct or circumstantial evidence.  The position of Martin at various points in time can be taken from Rachael and Zimmerman testimony.  The speculative nature of that at various points in time can easily be addressed by attaching "if you take so-and-so's testimony as true, then ...", and for the periods of time when Martin's position is unknown, admit it is unknown.  That fits Zimmerman's account, he doesn't know where Martin is from before hanging up with NEN until Martin appears from Zimmerman's left rear.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2013, 04:22:21 AM »
The animation would, in that sense, not be any new evidence (other than assuming velocities for Zimmerman and Martin), it would rehashing existing evidence from phone log timestamps and Zimmerman statements introduced into evidence.

The defense has indicated that have some phone location for TM at least. I think the video will reflect that as well, and this will be new evidence. Maybe they will wait for that evidence to be entered before having a hearing on the video.

Offline cboldt

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2013, 05:20:24 AM »
The defense has indicated that have some phone location for TM at least. I think the video will reflect that as well, and this will be new evidence. Maybe they will wait for that evidence to be entered before having a hearing on the video.

The defense has mentioned a cell tower ping that is anomalous to Rachael's testimony, having Martin not go directly from 7-11 to RTL.  I don't think (but it's speculation) that is part of the animation.  The defense can focus on a short segment of time, from when Zimmerman claims to have first sighted Martin, the the start of the physical altercation.  All of that is inside RTL.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2013, 06:02:00 AM »
The defense has mentioned a cell tower ping that is anomalous to Rachael's testimony, having Martin not go directly from 7-11 to RTL.  I don't think (but it's speculation) that is part of the animation.  The defense can focus on a short segment of time, from when Zimmerman claims to have first sighted Martin, the the start of the physical altercation.  All of that is inside RTL.
I think her testimony left open the possibility that Martin spent time in the mail thingie of some other complex.  Nobody stepped her through the penultimate phone call to get the details of what Martin was doing on the way home.  I think her testimony on the later portion of that call is fairly consistent with Zimmerman's.  Zimmerman admits to staring at Martin from his truck while the latter was in front of Taafe's house, which Rachel mistakenly thought was the mail shed.

Offline nomatter_nevermind

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2013, 06:13:14 AM »
The position of Martin at various points in time can be taken from Rachael and Zimmerman testimony.

GZ hasn't testified. Unsworn hearsay isn't testimony.

Quote
The speculative nature of that at various points in time can easily be addressed by attaching "if you take so-and-so's testimony as true, then ...", and for the periods of time when Martin's position is unknown, admit it is unknown.  That fits Zimmerman's account, he doesn't know where Martin is from before hanging up with NEN until Martin appears from Zimmerman's left rear.

What about the periods of time for which Zimmerman's location is unknown, even if his 'testimony' is taken as true?

Offline cboldt

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2013, 06:18:29 AM »
I think her testimony left open the possibility that Martin spent time in the mail thingie of some other complex.

That still follows any "anomalous" location, to my way of thinking.  The anomaly was a hit on a tower that was not associated with being anyplace between 7-11 and RTL.

I don't think resolving that matters anyway.  The incident (other than the state of mind of Zimmerman and Martin) plays from the time the two are aware of each other.

Offline cboldt

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2013, 06:21:49 AM »
What about the periods of time for which Zimmerman's location is unknown, even if his 'testimony' is taken as true?

Can you be more precise with that?  I think the collection of Zimmerman statements account for his location for the entire time period.  In the truck, sees Martin at Taffee's, drives the truck to the clubhouse.  Martin goes past the truck, Zimmermn drives the truck down the street, loses sight of Martin, Martin comes back, martin runs, Zimmerman gets out of the truck and walks East on the E-W segment of walkway past the T to the street, and then walks West on the same segment of walkway until Martin speaks to him.   "A fight ensues."

Offline RickyJim

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2013, 05:24:46 PM »
Can you be more precise with that?  I think the collection of Zimmerman statements account for his location for the entire time period.  In the truck, sees Martin at Taffee's, drives the truck to the clubhouse.  Martin goes past the truck, Zimmermn drives the truck down the street, loses sight of Martin, Martin comes back, martin runs, Zimmerman gets out of the truck and walks East on the E-W segment of walkway past the T to the street, and then walks West on the same segment of walkway until Martin speaks to him.   "A fight ensues."
I thought there is some mystery about why Zimmerman took so long (more than a minute, perhaps)  to get from the RVC end of the cut through back to the T. 

Offline Lousy1

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2013, 07:25:32 PM »
I thought there is some mystery about why Zimmerman took so long (more than a minute, perhaps)  to get from the RVC end of the cut through back to the T.

Mystery?  Why? He was waiting for the cops. I don't see any particular reason for him to either hurry or dawdle.

Offline RickyJim

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Re: State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation
« Reply #14 on: July 05, 2013, 08:54:48 PM »
I am not the only one who thinks it strange Zimmerman would wait out in the rain for the cops instead of in his car.  He never claimed what you just did but always has said he headed back to the car right away from RVC.

 

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