A mentally disabled man named Karl Taylor died in prison, and his estate has sued, accusing prison guards of beating and choking him to death. In defending the case, New York State proposed to offer expert testimony “that in the time leading up to and at the time of his death, Mr. Taylor was experiencing acute symptoms of his psychotic illness.”
In an order today, Chief Judge McMahon granted a motion in limine to exclude the testimony, and, in doing so, warned the defendants about trying to devalue the life of Mr. Taylor:
[The expert] has absolutely no basis to testify about what Plaintiff’s decedent — whom he has never met — would have perceived on the morning he died. Treating physician testimony and information from his prison medical records, not the suppositions of a purported expert who has never seen Karl Taylor, will be sufficient to establish that he suffered from mental illness; defendants are free to ask the jury to devalue the life of a person with mental disabilities, and we will see how kindly the jury takes to that argument.