This is a continuation of our post this morning: David Coppedge v. JPL & Caltech: Pre-Trial Motions. As we explained, these motions were filed a day or two before the trial was continued, so they represent the parties’ preparation for a trial they thought was starting in only two weeks. Most of them (those filed by JPL and Caltech) are motions in limine, to restrict what the other party can say at the trial.
All of these have been obtained from the court by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). They maintain an archive of pleadings in the case here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive, and as we mentioned, they incur costs in doing this. For that and for all their other good works they’re certainly worthy of a contribution. You can donate right here.
We began this morning’s post with several motions filed by JPL & Caltech. There’s still one more of those: Defendant’s Motion in Limine to Exclude or Limit Testimony of David DeWolf. They’re asking for:
an order barring the testimony of plaintiff David Coppedge’s purported expert, David K. DeWolf (“DeWolf”) in its entirety, or in the alternative, precluding Coppedge and his counsel from offering any testimony or documentary evidence, making reference to or presenting any argument (through DeWolf or otherwise) that the proponents of intelligent design historically have been subjected to hostility or discrimination or that Caltech’s treatment of Coppedge is an illustration of the hostility toward advocates of intelligent design.
This motion is made on the grounds that DeWolf’s testimony is not proper expert testimony and will not assist the trier of fact, is irrelevant, is unduly prejudicial, and is akin to inadmissible character evidence.
That’s all we see of JPL-Caltech’s motions. Now we go to motions filed by Coppedge. The first is Plaintiff’s Motion in Limine to Permit use of DVD Content. This is about the showing of two intelligent design DVDs to the jury. Coppedge wants permission to show the jury “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” and “The Privileged Planet.” What’s he trying to do — convert the jury to creationism? The motion says:
This motion is made on the grounds that the DVDs are relevant as to Defendants’ witnesses [that is, witnesses for JPL and Caltech] state of mind and credibility. [Huh?]
Plaintiff contends that the [sic] these documentaries discuss science, not religion. The evidence in this case will show that Defendants’ employees perceived intelligent design to be religious in nature, and, based upon that erroneous perception, accused Plaintiff of harassing them.
Coppedge wants to have the Kitzmiller case all over again!
Anyway, that was the first of thirteen pleadings recently filed by Coppedge. The next is a 187-page Declaration by Becker, Coppedge’s lawyer. You know we’re not going to read it all, or even a significant portion of it. It’s a big collection of exhibits that Becker thinks support his case — including a transcript of the DVD “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.” Frankly, dear reader, we’re not even going to glance at that stuff. But it’s in the NCSE archive if you’re curious.
Next we have Becker’s Proposed Jury Voir Dire Question — which lawyers ask prospective jurors to see if they’re qualified to sit on the jury. Several of the questions aren’t very subtle. Coppedge apparently wants a jury loaded with creationists and people who have had problems on the job. Good luck with that! Among his questions are:
14. In your opinion, how much religious discrimination is in the business world today — a lot, some, little, or none?
21. What are your feelings about a fired employee who comes into court and asks for money damages as a result of being wrongfully disciplined or terminated. [Observe, dear reader, that’s not “claiming” he was wrongfully treated, but “as a result of being” so treated.]
43. Tell us if you think it is acceptable or unacceptable to talk about the following topics at work: Politics, personal problems, sex, religion.
47. What is your understanding of intelligent design? Creationism?
52. Would you have an objection if intelligent design was discussed in a science course? Why or why not? Creationism? Why or why not?
That’s enough of those. Then there are several proposed jury instructions. That’s the stuff the judge reads to the jury at the end of the trial as they retire to the jury room to decide the case. We’ll skip them. They’re important; an improper instruction can result in the reversal of a jury trial. But this is only Coppedge’s version. The final instructions will get thrashed out later in a hearing at which both sides present their proposed instructions to the judge.
Next we have Plaintiff’s trial brief. It’s a very one-sided presentation of the facts, and it reads like a Discovery Institute press release. We don’t know what function a trial brief serves, other then being a road map for Coppedge’s lawyer, but if it’s going to play any role, we’re certain to see JPL filing an objection to it.
There are several more pleadings at the NCSE archive which were filed by Coppedge and which we haven’t yet discussed — or even read. We may get around to them one of these days. Anyway, the trial won’t be until 07 March, so it’s too early to get worked up over this stuff. But we’re grateful to NCSE for posting all of this information.
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