Main | Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Prop 8 Trial Conclusion May Be Delayed By Evidence Ruling

A California magistrate has ruled that the good guys in Perry vs. Schwarzenegger must submit all of their internal documents, the same condition imposed on Protect Marriage at the start of the trial. (Protect Marriage sent out a triumphant press release about this on Monday.) But the ACLU and others don't want to comply and this may delay a decision in the case.
Three groups that opposed Proposition 8 are challenging U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero's order earlier this month requiring them to hand over all documents "that contain, refer or relate to arguments for or against Proposition 8," with the exception of private communications between their core leaders. At Tuesday's hearing, lawyers for those groups contended the disputed e-mails and memos were irrelevant to the case, and it was unfair to make the groups sift through tens of thousands of documents because they were not officially part of the litigation. "We are not the people who sought passage of this initiative," Bomse said. The wrangling mirrors pretrial disagreements between lawyers. A federal appeals court eventually ruled that exchanges among top campaign officials about strategy and messaging could be withheld, but information disseminated more broadly was fair game in the trial. Jesse Panuccio, a lawyer for Proposition 8 supporters, told Walker that it was only reasonable to require opponents of the ban to abide by the same disclosure requirements as supporters.
The ACLU says it may appeal the evidence ruling. At a recent forum in New York City, lead lawyers David Boies and Ted Olson had forecast a May decision in the case.

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