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United States v. Barnard

United States District Court, D. Maine

April 1, 2016




Based on the government’s representation that it understands and will comply with its Brady[1] and Giglio[2] disclosure obligations, the Court dismisses without prejudice a defendant’s pretrial motion for discovery.


A. Procedural Background

After a criminal complaint was issued against Jeffrey Paul Barnard on June 19, 2014, a federal grand jury indicted him on July 17, 2014 for being a felon in possession of a firearm in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Compl. (ECF No. 1); Indictment (ECF No. 12). On February 29, 2016, Mr. Barnard filed a number of motions, including a Motion for Discovery [Brady and Giglio Materials] (ECF No. 158) (Def.’s Mot.). The Government responded on March 8, 2016. Gov’t’s Resp. to Def.’s Mot. for Disc. [Brady and Giglio Materials] (ECF No. 173) (Gov’t’s Opp’n). Mr. Barnard has not replied to the Government’s response.

B. The Parties’ Positions

1. The Defendant’s Motion

After reviewing the caselaw applicable to the Government’s discovery obligations, Mr. Barnard states:

With respect to each government witness, this Defendant is entitled to receive copies of any inconsistent statements; transcripts from prior trials where the credibility of the particular witness was questioned or impeached; results of lie detector tests; materials showing bias, motive or prejudice; results of psychiatric examinations; confessions; records of participation in the Federal Witness Protection Program; criminal histories in the United States and abroad; records of sentences received and of any reduction(s) of sentences; plea agreements; immigration records; plea transcripts; sentencing transcripts; cooperating agreements; the names and docket numbers of other cases in which the witness testified; immunity agreements and orders; records of government payments to a particular witness; and evidence of crimes where no formal proceedings were instituted as a result of the cooperation of a particular witness.

Def.’s Mot. at 2-3. Mr. Barnard says that he is not only entitled to this discovery, but he is entitled to it “in a usable form.” Id. at 4. Furthermore, Mr. Barnard argues that the Government has an obligation to search out the requested information not only in its files, but also in the files of related agencies. Id. Finally, Mr. Barnard stresses that he requests production of the Brady and Giglio materials immediately. Id. at 1, 3-5.

2. The Government’s Response

The Government urges the Court to deny Mr. Barnard’s motion. Gov’t’s Opp’n at 1. The Government states that the caselaw “dictates that Brady establishes no general right of pretrial discovery and gives rise to no pretrial remedies.” Id. (collecting cases). Furthermore, the Government argues that “[n]either Brady nor any other case . . . requires that disclosure under Brady must be made before trial.” Id. (citation omitted). The Government says that “Brady ‘impeachment’ type material as to the government’s witnesses, or ‘Giglio’ material, is properly disclosed when the witness is called to testify at trial . . . and may be disclosed at the same time as Jencks Act material.” Id. at 2 (citation omitted). At the same time, the Government represented that it “recognizes and accepts its obligations under Brady, and its progeny, and any such disclosures as may be required thereunder will be made in a timely fashion.” Id. The Government also affirms that it will make such disclosures “timed to avoid any delay at trial” and if there is a question as to whether material is exculpatory, it will seek a ruling from the Court. Id. at 2-3.


To begin, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 requires that upon request from a defendant, the Government must provide the defendant with certain information. Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a). There is no suggestion that the Government failed to comply with its Rule 16(a) discovery obligations in this case. Instead, Mr. Barnard is seeking so-called Brady and Giglio information. In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that “the suppression by the prosecution of evidence favorable to an accused upon request violates due process where the evidence is material either to guilt or punishment, irrespective of the good faith or bad faith of the prosecution.” Id. at 87. In Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), the United States Supreme Court concluded that the jury was entitled to know information about a government witness that would be ...

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