Hamilton County Judge Megan Shanahan has ruled Sam DuBose's medical records, previous criminal history, and the fact that marijuana was found in his system may not be submitted into evidence.
The ruling comes as preliminary jury selection is under way in the murder trial of former UC police officer Ray Tensing in the shooting death of Sam DuBose during a 2015 traffic stop.
Marijuana found on his body and in the car he was driving will be admissible.
Tensing's attorney Stew Mathews argued DuBose may have had a medical condition that caused him to act as he did when asked to show his driver's license. He also argued DuBose's record, including felony drug offenses, may have caused him to flee.
Prosecutors countered that such information is irrelevant, speculative, and meant only to attack DuBose's character.
Chief Toxicologist Robert Topmiller with the Hamilton County Coroner's Office testified that there's no clear scientific way to know when DuBose ingested the marijuana THC found in his system. He explained the drug is known to reappear in a person's bloodstream after death, making the time the drugs were ingested unclear.
Judge Shanahan concluded, "The probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of prejudice or misleading the jury. There is no scientific ability to determine when Samuel DuBose last ingested marijuana and it would be inappropriate to allow that evidence."
As to DuBose's criminal and medical records, the judge stated the rules are clear on prior records. "Even with an extensive record like (DuBose's), it's clear that the probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice and it, frankly, has no place in this trial."
She continued, "It's a leap to say that his medical situation influenced his decision of how he behaved that day when stopped by the defendant."
Afterward Prosecutor Joe Deters was pleased with the judge's rulings while Mathews said he was disappointed but not surprised, and has plenty else to talk about once the trial fully begins.
Both sides of this case have differing views on what the police body camera video shows.
Deters says the video shows DuBose's car slowly rolling away just before Tensing shoots him. He'll argue in court that the car moved 15 inches.
Mathews says the video shows the car moving at a high rate of speed. He adds there are at least two or more ways to interpret the video.
As for Tensing himself, Mathews says he is scared to death and seems depressed but also glad that the trial is finally underway.
Additional Public Viewing Space
An extra room is being added to allow for more overflow seating. Once jury selection is complete, the public will be able to watch the trial in room 580 at the courthouse. Members of the Cincinnati Black Lawyers Association met with Hamilton County Presiding Judge Robert Ruehlman and Assistant Presiding Judge Melba Marsh and the Court.
Overflow viewing is also available in Courtroom B at the Justice Center.