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UNITED STATES v. PADILLA

September 25, 1990

UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff,
v.
Jesus PADILLA, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: BUA

 NICHOLAS J. BUA, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

 Defendants Felipe Martin, Candelario Gutierrez, and Jose Medina are charged with participating in a drug conspiracy. These defendants have filed a number of pretrial motions. The court will now consider each motion separately.

 I. Motions to Adopt

 Gutierrez and Medina move to adopt the pretrial motions filed by Martin. *fn1" To the extent Martin's pretrial motions are applicable to Gutierrez and Medina, the court grants their motions to adopt.

 II. Motion to Compel Disclosure of the Existence and Identity of Informants

 Defendants move for disclosure of the names of any government informants involved in this case. In determining whether to compel disclosure, the court must balance the public interest in protecting the informant's identity against the defendant's need to prepare an effective defense. Roviaro v. United States, 353 U.S. 53, 59-62, 1 L. Ed. 2d 639, 77 S. Ct. 623 (1957). Informant confidentiality ensures the free flow of information necessary for effective law enforcement, and the court should not intrude upon such confidentiality unless the undisclosed information is essential to a fair determination of the case. See id. at 60-61. Consequently, the defendant must demonstrate a genuine need for the informant's identity before the court requires disclosure. United States v. Andrus, 775 F.2d 825, 842 (7th Cir. 1985); United States v. Tucker, 552 F.2d 202, 209 (7th Cir. 1977).

 In this case, the government utilized the services of two informants; one informant was located in New York and the other in Chicago. The New York informant allegedly called defendant Jesus Padilla and asked to purchase three kilograms of cocaine. Shortly thereafter, Padilla was contacted by the Chicago informant to set up the proposed drug transaction. The Chicago informant not only participated in the planning stages, he was also present when the drug deal was set in motion. Thus, neither informant can be characterized as a mere "tipster." Both informants were instrumental in planning the drug deal, and the Chicago informant was present when the plans were carried out. Having directly participated in the drug transaction, the informants could provide valuable testimony. The Chicago informant's testimony would appear to be especially relevant: he actually witnessed the events leading up to the indictment. His version of the offense bears directly on defendants' guilt or innocence.

 After weighing the competing interests of the government and defendants, the court concludes that the government's interest in confidentiality is outweighed by defendants' need for disclosure. There is no readily apparent threat to the safety of the informants if their identities are revealed. Moreover, the government does not contend that the confidentiality of these informants is critical to the success of ongoing investigations in other cases. While the government always has a significant interest in maintaining the confidentiality of its informants, defendants' ability to prepare an adequate defense could be severely impaired if the identity of the informants is not disclosed.

 The court, therefore, hereby orders the government to divulge the identities of its New York and Chicago informants. With respect to any other informant who provided information to the government, but did not actually participate in the drug transaction, defendants' motion for disclosure is denied.

 III. Motion for Production of Favorable Evidence

 Pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83, 10 L. Ed. 2d 215, 83 S. Ct. 1194 (1963), defendants also move for disclosure of any exculpatory or favorable evidence in the government's possession, including evidence which tends to impeach prospective government witnesses. See Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150, 31 L. Ed. 2d 104, 92 S. Ct. 763 (1972). The government acknowledges its obligation under Brady, and promises to furnish defendants with any favorable evidence that it obtains. Based on the government's representation that it will honor its Brady obligation, the court denies defendants' motion for production of favorable evidence.

 The government has agreed to produce all evidence that is discoverable under the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500, as well as all impeachment material, one week prior to trial. Defendants are not entitled to such information prior to that time. One week is a sufficient amount of time for ...


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