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Name: People v. Bivert
Case #: S099414
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/11/2011

There was no error in admitting evidence that the defendant was a White supremacist and racist even though his homicide victims were White. There was an in limine ruling under Evidence Code section 352 that limited White supremacist philosophies to only the defendant’s statements about motive which might include elements of racism and White supremacist philosophies. For example, he stated the White race should not tolerate letting his victim live. The evidence tended to prove that he harbored intent and motive. It tended to prove his attitude toward the victims, which was a relevant factor in deciding whether his actions were premeditated and deliberate. A challenge to the same evidence on the basis that it violated his rights under the First Amendment was raised for the first time on appeal. They were not made inadmissible simply because his speech was protected by the First Amendment. The evidence also did not violate the right to due process and a fair trial as unduly prejudicial. The evidence was relatively tame in nature and not so inflammatory as to divert the jury’s attention or invite an irrational response.