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United States v. Feather

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Western Division

November 2, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWARD RED FEATHER, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR DISCOVERY (DOC. 22)

          DANETA WOLLMANN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Defendant, Edward Red Feather, filed a motion to compel the government to turn over certain discovery. (Doc. 22). United States District Court Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, Chief Judge, referred Mr. Red Feather's motion to this magistrate judge for determination. (Doc 43).

         DISCUSSION

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(E) requires the Government to “permit the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph . . . papers, documents . . . or tangible objects . . . if the item is within the Government's possession, custody, or control and the item is material to preparing the defense.”

         A defendant who requests documents, believing them to be material to his defense, must “make a prima facie showing of materiality.” United States v. Tornquist, No. CR 11-50118, 2012 WL 2862864, *3 (D.S.D. July 11, 2012) (citations omitted). “Evidence is material if it enables a defendant to significantly alter the quantum of proof in his or her favor.” Id. (citing United States v. Baker, 453 F.3d 419, 425 (7th Cir. 2006); United States v. Ross, 511 F.2d 757, 763 (5th Cir. 1975) (internal quotations omitted)). “Evidence is material under Rule 16 if there is a strong indication that it will play an important role in uncovering admissible evidence, aiding witness preparation . . . or assisting impeachment or rebuttal.” Tornquist, 2012 WL 2862864 at 3 (citing United States v. Graham, 83 F.3d 1466, 1474 (D.D.C. 1996). The materiality standard is “not a heavy burden.” Graham, 83 F.3d at 1474 (other citations omitted).

         Here, Mr. Red Feather is requesting discovery as outlined as Items 1, 2, 3, and 4 in his motion to compel. (Doc. 22). A hearing on the motion was held on October 25, 2017, and the court entered oral rulings. Those ruling are memorialized herein.

         1. Any and all treatment records and/or other information the government has relevant to the alleged victim's alcohol and/or drug abuse issues.

         The United States must produce the records to court chambers regarding the victim's alcohol and drug treatment records for an in camera review on or before November 25, 2017, for the court's determination if any of the records are discoverable.

         2. An explanation or account of whether or not “lapel cam” footage exists from the night of the alleged incident, and if not, why it doesn't exist.

         The United States acknowledged that the “lapel cam” footage does not exist and explained that the officer did not have his camera activated. Given the information and explanation provided by the United States, the court denies this item as moot.

         3. “Rap sheets” or criminal histories, including tribal arrest and conviction history, for any and all government witnesses.

         The United States agreed that it will provide NCIC criminal histories for all government witnesses on the Friday preceding the pretrial conference hearing. Therefore, the court will deny this portion of the motion as moot.

         Additionally, the United States agreed that any criminal history for law enforcement agents associated with this case would be discoverable under Giglio and the government would be required to disclose the same. However, the United States advised that no such criminal ...


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