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United States of America v. Michael Knight

September 15, 2011

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL KNIGHT, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Blanche M. Manning

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Defendant Michael Knight has filed multiple pretrial motions, to which the government has responded. The court addresses each motion in turn.

Motion for Production of Favorable Evidence [79-1]

Knight has moved for the immediate disclosure of all favorable evidence and evidence that bears upon the credibility of witnesses. He then identifies a long list of information requested, including promises made to potential witnesses in exchange for their testimony, criminal backgrounds of potential witnesses, and notes made during interviews with potential witnesses.

In response, the government has acknowledged its continuing obligations under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963) and Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972) to disclose information that may be exculpatory or impeaching, and has committed to producing that evidence in a timely manner. However, it notes that Knight's motion is overly broad by requesting agents' notes of interviews with potential witnesses. Under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(2), "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" are not subject to discovery except as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3500, under which a defendant is entitled to certain prior statements of government witnesses. The government has also acknowledged its obligations under 18 U.S.C. § 3500 and has committed to producing the statements as required. It has also directed agents to retain their notes.

Given the government's assurances that it will comply with its obligations under Brady, Giglio, and 18 U.S.C. § 3500, Knight's motion must be denied as moot. See United States v. Silesia Flavorings, Inc., No. 03 CR 851, 2004 WL 419904, at *6 (N. D. Ill. Mar. 1, 2004) (government's promise to comply with Brady rendered motion for exculpatory or impeaching evidence moot). The government has committed to provide witness statements under 18 U.S.C. § 3500 two weeks before trial, but the court believes that 30 days before trial is reasonable.

Therefore, Knight's motion for the production of exculpatory and impeachment evidence is denied as moot, and the government is ordered to produce witness statements under 18 U.S.C. § 3500, and any remaining Brady and Giglio materials not already produced no later than 30 days before trial.

Motion for Santiago Proffer [80-1]

Knight has moved for an order requiring the government to produce statements made by his alleged coconspirators at the earliest possible time. The government has agreed to produce a written Santiago proffer 30 days before trial.

Knight has not identified why he needs the Santiago proffer more than 30 days before trial, nor does this case appear to be unusually complicated such that 30 days before trial would be an unreasonable deadline. Accordingly, the court grants Knight's motion for a Santiago proffer [72-1], and orders the government to produce the proffer no less than 30 days before trial.

Motion for a List of Government's Witnesses [81-1]

Neither the Constitution nor Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 requires the government to provide a defendant in a non-capital case with a list of all prospective witnesses. United States v. Braxton, 877 F.2d 556, 560 (7th Cir. 1989). Nevertheless the court may order the government to produce such a list if the defendant identifies a particularized need. United States v. Patel, No. 01 CR 716, 2002 WL 1750948, at *2 (N.D. Ill. July 26, 2002).

Knight has not identified any particularized need for a list of government witnesses. However, the government has agreed to produce such a list two weeks before trial. Given Knight's failure to identify a particularized need for the witness list more than two weeks before trial, the government's offer appears to be reasonable.

Accordingly, Knight's motion for a list of government witnesses is granted, and the government shall produce the list no ...


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