Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,
Insomnia
insomnia

Prejudicialicious!

This law.com article reads like something straight out of The Onion...
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Apparently President George W. Bush is now so unpopular that some lawyers believe the mere mention of his name in front of a jury could tip the scales against them.

Attorneys Michael P. Laffey and Robert P. DiDomenicis of Holsten & Associates in Media, Pa., are defending Upper Darby Township, Pa., in a civil rights suit brought by Harold Lischner, an 82-year-old doctor who claims he was falsely arrested for displaying an anti-war sign outside of a Bush campaign event in September 2003.

With the case set to go to trial on July 23, the defense lawyers recently filed a flurry of motions, including one that asked Eastern District of Pennsylvania Judge Gene E.K. Pratter to prohibit the plaintiff from mentioning Bush's name.

The motion in Lischner v. Upper Darby Township said that according to the latest Newsweek poll, Bush has "the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation," and that 62 percent of Americans believe that Bush's handling of the war in Iraq shows that he is "stubborn and unwilling to admit his mistakes."

Laffey and DiDomenicis argued that "the identity of George W. Bush has no relevance to plaintiff's claim and should not be admitted."

Any "probative value" of Bush's identity, they argued, "is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice to defendant."

Bush's identity, they argued, "in and of itself, presents the danger that the jury will favor plaintiff."

As a result, the defense lawyers said, "it will be sufficient for plaintiff to testify that he displayed a sign in opposition of a 'presidential candidate.'"

In separate motions, the defense team urged Pratter to prohibit any mention of the First Amendment -- since Lischner's suit is premised only on the Fourth Amendment -- and to bar any testimony about the message on Lischner's protest sign.

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The judge, Gene E.K. Pratter, apparently did not agree with the lawyers...

"There is no requirement that trials be made up of the blandest theories, facts and arguments available," Pratter wrote.

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