Palmerin v. City of Riverside, No. 85-5590

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore FLETCHER, PREGERSON, and CANBY; PREGERSON
Citation794 F.2d 1409
Parties21 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1 Rudy PALMERIN and Joe Palmerin, Plaintiffs/Appellants, v. CITY OF RIVERSIDE, Ab Brown, Ron Loveridge, Ed Sheppard, Jean Mansfield, Robert Bowers, Robert Buster, Sam Digati, Terry Frizzel, Doug Weiford, Vic Jones, Sonny Richardson, Terry Redfearn, Douglas Riggle, Gary Barnes, Thomas Buckingham, Henry Lucas, Warren Holm, Robert Arnold, John Burtt, Peter Curzon, Gary Crawford, Richard Bradley, Randall Eggleston and Wallace Rice, Defendants/Appellees.
Decision Date21 July 1986
Docket NumberNo. 85-5590

Page 1409

794 F.2d 1409
21 Fed. R. Evid. Serv. 1
Rudy PALMERIN and Joe Palmerin, Plaintiffs/Appellants,
v.
CITY OF RIVERSIDE, Ab Brown, Ron Loveridge, Ed Sheppard,
Jean Mansfield, Robert Bowers, Robert Buster, Sam Digati,
Terry Frizzel, Doug Weiford, Vic Jones, Sonny Richardson,
Terry Redfearn, Douglas Riggle, Gary Barnes, Thomas
Buckingham, Henry Lucas, Warren Holm, Robert Arnold, John
Burtt, Peter Curzon, Gary Crawford, Richard Bradley, Randall
Eggleston and Wallace Rice, Defendants/Appellees.
No. 85-5590.
United States Court of Appeals,
Ninth Circuit.
Argued and Submitted Dec. 4, 1985.
Decided July 21, 1986.

Page 1410

Stephen Yagman, Yagman & Yagman, Los Angeles, Cal., for plaintiffs/appellants.

John M. Porter, Riverside, Cal., for defendants/appellees.

An Appeal From United States District Court For the Central District of California.

Before FLETCHER, PREGERSON, and CANBY, Circuit Judges.

PREGERSON, Circuit Judge.

While investigating a narcotics violation, two City of Riverside police officers scuffled with two suspects and members of the suspects' family. Four people subsequently pled guilty to various misdemeanor charges. Family members sued the officers and the City of Riverside under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983 alleging the use of excessive force during the arrests. A jury found no constitutional violations and acquitted the officers. The district court then dismissed all claims against the City. One of the suspects and his brother appeal, contending that the introduction of guilty pleas and of seized marijuana into evidence was reversible error. They also assert that the dismissal of the City was premature. We affirm.

FACTS

As they approached an illegally parked van, City of Riverside police officers Terry Redfearn and Douglas Riggle ("the officers") noticed two people in the van concealing bags of what proved to be marijuana. One person, Phillip Palmerin, remained in the van. The other person, Phillip's cousin Rudy Palmerin, left the van and entered the nearby yard of Rudy's parents' house. Rudy refused to comply with the officers' request to accompany them into the street, and a scuffle developed in the yard. Rudy's brother, Joseph Palmerin, and their parents, Richard and Cruz Palmerin, then all joined the scuffle.

Subsequently, Rudy pled guilty to "resisting, delaying or obstructing" a police officer under Cal. Penal Code Sec. 148. Joseph and Richard Palmerin pled guilty to disturbing the peace under Cal. Penal Code Sec. 415(3). Phillip Palmerin pled guilty both to resisting arrest under section 148 and to possession of marijuana under Cal. Health & Safety Code Sec. 11357(b). These crimes are all misdemeanors. Cruz Palmerin was not charged with any offense.

In two separate actions under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1983, Rudy and Joseph Palmerin and Richard and Cruz Palmerin sought damages from the officers involved in the scuffle, other officers, and the City of Riverside and City council members ("City defendants"), alleging that the officers' behavior violated the fourth amendment's prohibition against the use of excessive force in effecting an arrest. After a two-day trial, 1 the district court directed verdicts in favor of all the police officers except Redfearn and Riggle. The jury then found in favor of Redfearn and Riggle, and, after further deliberations, expressly found that the officers had committed no violations of the Palmerins' constitutional rights. The district court then dismissed the remaining claims against the City defendants under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1).

In a timely appeal, Rudy and Joseph Palmerin ("the Palmerins") contend that the district court improperly admitted into evidence the guilty pleas of Rudy, Joseph, Phillip, and Richard Palmerin, and the marijuana found in Phillip Palmerin's possession by the officers. They further contend that the district court's dismissal of the City defendants was premature.

Page 1411

STANDARD OF REVIEW

We will uphold rulings on the admissibility of evidence unless admitting the evidence was an abuse of the district court's discretion. Paddack v. Dave Christensen, Inc., 745 F.2d 1254, 1258 n.5 (9th Cir.1984). We review a district court's decision on balancing probative value against prejudicial harm under Fed.R.Evid. 403 for an abuse of discretion. United States v. Rubio, 727 F.2d 786, 798 (9th Cir.1983). The district court's dismissal of the City defendants raises an issue of law which we review de novo. Guillory v. County of Orange, 731 F.2d 1379, 1381 (9th Cir.1984).

DISCUSSION

I. The Guilty Pleas

Before trial, counsel for Cruz and Richard Palmerin unsuccessfully sought to exclude admission of the guilty pleas from evidence by a motion in limine. 2 The district court held that the pleas were relevant to the issue of excessive force because the pleas constituted admissions of resistance to the officers. The Palmerins argue that the guilty pleas are not relevant to their claims of excessive force by the officers, that they constitute impermissible character evidence, and that, even if relevant, the prejudice to the Palmerins substantially outweighed the probative value.

A. Timeliness of Objections

The City argues that the Palmerins' failure to object contemporaneously during trial to the admissibility of the pleas into evidence bars them from raising the issue on appeal. See Fed.R.Evid. 103(a)(1). The law in this circuit is unclear regarding whether an unsuccessful pretrial motion in limine will preserve for appeal an objection to the introduction of disputed evidence at trial. See Burgess v. Premier Corp., 727 F.2d 826, 836 (9th Cir.1984). In Burgess, however, we were able to resolve the appeal without reaching the issue. Id. Two apparently conflicting decisions, decided in different contexts, generated this confusion.

In United States v. Helina, 549 F.2d 713 (9th Cir.1977), a criminal prosecution for tax evasion, defense counsel made a pretrial motion in limine to exclude any evidence that Helina had exercised his fifth amendment rights and had refused to provide records to the IRS. Id. at 715. The trial court sustained the motion with respect to direct testimony, but refused to prevent cross-examination and rebuttal on these issues. Id. This court denied Helina's contention that the prosecutor's questions to Helina on cross-examination relating to Helina's failure to provide records to the IRS amounted to improper prosecutorial conduct in violation of his fifth amendment rights. Id. at 717-18. The court reviewed the prosecutor's behavior for plain error because defense counsel had failed to object contemporaneously during trial when the comments were made. Id. at 718. The court stated: "His in limine motion having been denied ..., defense counsel once more bore the burden of making a proper objection at the appropriate time." Id.

Three years later, in Sheehy v. Southern Pacific Transportation Co., 631 F.2d 649 (9th Cir.1980), we reached an apparently contrary conclusion. Sheehy sued his employer for workplace injuries under the FELA. In a pretrial motion in limine, plaintiff's counsel sought to exclude references to collateral benefits received by Sheehy. The trial court ruled that evidence of the amount of benefits was admissible on the issue of Sheehy's motivation to resume working and malingering, but that the source of the benefits and the term "pension" could not be mentioned. Id. at 651. On cross-examination, defense counsel questioned Sheehy about his benefits' income during his extended time off work. Id. No contemporaneous objection was made. Id. This court found that the admission of evidence of collateral benefits was reversible error under Eichel v. New

Page 1412

York Central Railroad Co., 375 U.S. 253, 255, 84 S.Ct. 316, 317, 11 L.Ed.2d 307 (1963). Sheehy, 631 F.2d at 651-52. In so holding, this court without citing Helina, rejected the contention that Sheehy waived his right to raise the matter on appeal by failing to object contemporaneously to the evidence: "Sheehy's attorney objected during the pretrial...

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  • United States v. Wells, Nos. 14-30146
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 19 Diciembre 2017
    ...and find instead that Wells’ challenges were thoroughly explored pretrial and preserved for appeal. See Palmerin v. City of Riverside , 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986) ("reject[ing] an invariable requirement that an objection that is the subject of an unsuccessful motion in limine be re......
  • U.S. v. Layton, Nos. 87-1071
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 16 Agosto 1988
    ...abuse of discretion. United States v. Layton, 767 F.2d 549, 553 (9th Cir.1985) (citation omitted); accord Palmerin v. City of Riverside, 794 F.2d 1409, 1411 (9th Cir.1986) ("We will uphold rulings on the admissibility of evidence unless admitting the evidence was an abuse of The pre-arrival......
  • Tan Lam v. City of L. Banos, No. 18-17404
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 25 Septiembre 2020
    ...limine , and the trial court's ruling permitting introduction of evidence was explicit and definitive." Palmerin v. City of Riverside , 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986). If, however, there is an indication that the objection "might be subject to reconsideration," or if the disputed evide......
  • United States v. Kilmartin, No. 18-1513
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 6 Diciembre 2019
    ...F.3d 728, 733-34 (8th Cir. 2014) ; whether "[t]he substance of the objection ... was thoroughly explored," Palmerin v. City of Riverside, 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986) ; whether the objecting party was entitled to rely on the trier's grant of the blanket objection, see United States v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
81 cases
  • United States v. Wells, Nos. 14-30146
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 19 Diciembre 2017
    ...and find instead that Wells’ challenges were thoroughly explored pretrial and preserved for appeal. See Palmerin v. City of Riverside , 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986) ("reject[ing] an invariable requirement that an objection that is the subject of an unsuccessful motion in limine ......
  • U.S. v. Layton, Nos. 87-1071
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 16 Agosto 1988
    ...abuse of discretion. United States v. Layton, 767 F.2d 549, 553 (9th Cir.1985) (citation omitted); accord Palmerin v. City of Riverside, 794 F.2d 1409, 1411 (9th Cir.1986) ("We will uphold rulings on the admissibility of evidence unless admitting the evidence was an abuse of The pre-ar......
  • Tan Lam v. City of L. Banos, No. 18-17404
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • 25 Septiembre 2020
    ..., and the trial court's ruling permitting introduction of evidence was explicit and definitive." Palmerin v. City of Riverside , 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986). If, however, there is an indication that the objection "might be subject to reconsideration," or if the disput......
  • United States v. Kilmartin, No. 18-1513
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
    • 6 Diciembre 2019
    ...733-34 (8th Cir. 2014) ; whether "[t]he substance of the objection ... was thoroughly explored," Palmerin v. City of Riverside, 794 F.2d 1409, 1413 (9th Cir. 1986) ; whether the objecting party was entitled to rely on the trier's grant of the blanket objection, see United States v......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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