August 20, 2009
Before the Court are the various pre-trial and discovery motions filed by Defendant Dexter Travis Nelson. The United States of America, by and through its attorney, Edmund A. Booth, Jr., United States Attorney, and Patricia Green Rhodes, Assistant United States Attorney, has filed a combined response to these motions.
GENERAL DISCOVERY MOTION
As to Defendant's general discovery requests, the government responds that it has provided Defendant "open file" discovery in this case. The government has provided Defendant with discovery materials consisting of the investigative reports, scientific reports (if any), and other documents material to this case (attorney and agent work product excepted). All known statements by Defendant have also been produced, as has his criminal record. Accordingly, the Court finds that the position of the United States Attorney in permitting full disclosure of the government's file pertaining to this case renders Defendant's discovery requests MOOT. (Doc. no. 9).
However, to ensure that Defendant's requests are in fact covered by the government's disclosures, the Court hereby requires counsel for Defendant to submit not later than five (5) days from the date of this Order a written statement describing any existing disputes or unresolved items that have not been specifically addressed elsewhere in this Order. The statement should detail the specific items sought and should include a memorandum of law.
Defense counsel is reminded that dissemination of discovery material beyond that necessary to the preparation of the defense is prohibited by Loc. Crim. R. 16.1.
Any discovery material turned over to Defendant shall be maintained by Defendant and not further disseminated. Failure to comply with the terms of this Order may result in contempt proceedings. Further addressing Defendant's specific requests for disclosure:
1. NOTICE OF EVIDENCE SUBJECT TO SUPPRESSION:
2. NOTICE OF OTHER CRIMES OR UNCHARGED MISCONDUCT:
3. "CATCHALL" HEARSAY EXCEPTIONS:
The Court trusts that counsel for the government is thoroughly familiar with the notice requirements of Rule 807 and will provide such notice to Defendant.
4. DEFENDANT'S PRIOR RECORD:
5. DOCUMENTS AND TANGIBLE OBJECTS:
MOOT. MOOT. United States v. Massell 823 F.2d 15031509United States v. Johnson 713 F.2d 654659United States v. Colson 662 F.2d 13891391Brady DENIED. United States v. Yates438 F.3d 13071318 en banc United States v. Lyons 403 F.3d 12481255-56United States v. Novaton 271 F.3d 968997United States v. Baptista-Rodriguez17 F.3d 13541370608Weinstein's Federal Evidence Id.609Brady v. Maryland373 U.S. 83DENIED.16
It appears that Defendant may have actually intended to reference Rule 16(a)(1)(E). The rule cited, Rule 16(a)(1)(C), applies to an organizational defendant. There is no such defendant in this case.
Upon a defendant's request, the government must permit the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph books, papers, documents, data, photographs, tangible objects, buildings or places, or copies or portions of any of these items, if the item is within the government's possession, custody, or control and:
(i) the item is material to preparing the defense;
(ii) the government intends to use the item in its case-in-chief at trial; or
(iii) the item was obtained from or belongs to the defendant.
Under this Rule, a defendant is entitled to discover certain materials if they are either (1) material to the preparation of the defense, or (2) intended by the government to be used as evidence, or (3) were obtained from the defendant. Fed.R.Crim.P. 16(a)(1)(E). However, this Rule is qualified and limited by Rule 16(a)(2), which provides:
Except as Rule 16(a)(1) provides otherwise, this rule does not authorize the discovery or inspection of reports, memoranda, or other internal government documents made by an attorney for the government or other government agent in connection with investigating or prosecuting the case. Nor does this rule authorize the discovery or inspection of statements made byprospective government witnesses except as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3500.
It can be seen that Rule 16(a)(2) prevents the "discovery or inspection of statements made by prospective government witnesses except as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3500." Even if the statements satisfy one of the requirements of Rule 16(a)(1)(E), discovery by a defendant is still barred by Rule 16(a)(2) unless those witnesses will testify at trial. In that case, the statements would be discoverable pursuant to the Jencks Act. See generally United States v. Schier, 438 F.3d 1104, 1112 (11th Cir. 2006) (reviewing requirements for disclosure of statements of witnesses testifying at trial and explicitly noting that "Jencks Act does not apply to the statements of non-testifying witnesses"). The statements of persons the government does not intend to call as witnesses at trial amount, therefore, to nothing more than internal memoranda, discovery of which is not permitted pursuant to the explicit mandate of Rule 16(a)(2). If the statements are not otherwise discoverable pursuant to the rule in Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and its progeny and no showing of materiality is made, they are not discoverable at all.
9. DEMAND FOR EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE:
Defendant seeks the disclosure of exculpatory and impeaching information in accordance with the principles of Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972). To some extent, Defendant's request exceeds the scope of Brady. Brady material includes information that is favorable to a defendant and material to the issues of guilt or punishment. Brady, 373 U.S. at 87; United States v. Agurs, 427 U.S. 97 (1976). This request is GRANTED to the extent that the government must provide all Brady material to Defendant within five (5) days of the date it is received or its existence becomes known. With regard to impeaching information, the government must disclose this information seven (7) days prior to trial.
MOTION FOR NOTICE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE INTENTION TO RELY UPON OTHER CRIMES EVIDENCE PURSUANT TO FEDERAL RULE OF EVIDENCE 404(b)
Defendant filed a motion seeking the government to give notice of its intention to use at trial evidence of "other crimes, wrongs or acts" under Fed.R.Evid. 404(b). The Local Rules provide:
As soon as practicable after the defendant's arraignment, and in any event no more than twenty (20) days after the arraignment (unless the Court directs otherwise), the United States Attorney shall serve upon counsel for the defendant a written notice of any direct or circumstantial evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts of the defendant, or specific instances of conduct or criminal convictions ofthe defendant, which the Government intends to offer into evidence through either Fed.R.Evid. 404(b) or under the theory that the evidence is so inextricably intertwined with defendant's charged offense that it should be admissible.
Loc. Crim. R. 16.2; see also Loc. Crim. R. 12.3.
In its Arraignment Order dated August 4, 2009 (doc. no. 8), the Court directed that if the government intends to use 404(b) evidence, it must make the required disclosures in accordance with the Local Rules. Accordingly, this motion requesting 404(b) disclosures, which the government has already been directed to make, is MOOT. (Doc. no. 7).
MOTION TO ALLOW PARTICIPATION IN VOIR DIRE
This motion is GRANTED (doc. no. 10), subject to the following terms and conditions:
(a) Unless otherwise directed by the presiding District Judge, counsel must submit to the Court, not later than seven (7) days prior to trial, a list of questions which he desires to ask prospective jurors;
(b) Counsel shall take notes and avoid asking duplicative questions, unless additional clarification from a prospective juror is needed; and
(c) Counsel must address the array in the same order which the Court will later formulate for use at trial during the cross-examination of the government's witnesses.
MOTION TO RESERVE THE RIGHT TO FILE ADDITIONAL MOTIONS
This motion filed by Defendant is DENIED. (Doc. no. 11). The Court ordered that all motions in this case were to be filed within ten (10) days of the date of arraignment and that untimely motions would not be considered absent a showing of good cause for failure to file within the time set by the Court. This Order, however, does not prohibit Defendant from making his showing of cause contemporaneously with the filing of out-of-time motions.
A motion may not be filed outside the deadlines set by this Court at arraignment except by leave of Court upon a showing of cause. United States v. Smith, 918 F.2d 1501, 1509 (11th Cir. 1990); Fed.R.Crim.P. 12(c), (e).