George Zimmerman Trial Coverage > Trial Motions and Rulings

State's Motion in Limine Regarding Computer Animation

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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

--- Quote ---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.
--- End quote ---
Cites omitted.

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.

There is a certain droll quality to the state complaining about late disclosure by the defense.

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.

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.

--- Quote ---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.
--- End quote ---


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