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Police policy manual will be introduced to jurors in Thomas trial

Jim Tanizaki, an assistant prosecutor in the Kelly Thomas case, in a May 2012 photo
Jim Tanizaki, an assistant prosecutor in the Kelly Thomas case, in a May 2012 photo
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Portions of Fullerton Police Department's policy manual will be introduced to jurors during their deliberations over the death of Kelly Thomas, with instruction that it is not to be considered a statement of law.

Judge William Froeberg noted during a hearing Jan. 3 that the partial manual serves as terms to impeach the testimony of Sgt. Kevin Craig and Cpl. Stephen Rubio, who testified that there were no major policy violations during Thomas's detainment and also that procedure during the detainment complied with training.

"I object to any portion of the manual being introduced. It's not relevant to the jury's determination," John Barnett, attorney for Manuel Ramos, said. "I don't believe that the manual itself is relevant."

A draft of an admonishment was also written out during deliberations to disregard the testimony of Craig and Rubio . The admonishment, which is not final, instructed the jury to decide for themselves whether their was excessive force used during the detainment of Thomas.

"Certain witnesses in this case gave opinions that the actions of the defendants in their contact with Kelly Thomas did or did not violate the policies of the City of Fullerton Police Department; such opinions are stricken," the draft of the admonishment partially says.

The prosecution also sought to obtain the personnel files of Ramos and Jay Cicinelli, after the testimony of Craig and Rubio to show Ramos and Cicinelli were in part fired for violating department policy. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld Judge William Froeberg's Dec. 27 decision ordering the City of Fullerton to produce the files.

Gregory Palmer, attorney for the City of Fullerton, appeared in court today and said the city had complied with the order. He asked Froeberg to place the files under a protective order, which was granted.

The trial is expected to continue Jan. 6 with the prosecution calling Dr. Matthew Budoff, a cardiologist with Harbor UCLA Medical Center, as a rebuttal witness.

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