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United States v. Ruff

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division

July 27, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
v.
MARREO MONTEOUS RUFF

ORDER

BRIAN K. EPPS, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court are the various pre-trial discovery motions filed by Defendant. Many (if not all) discovery issues should be addressed in full by the Court's rulings below and the liberal discovery policy that the government has confirmed it is applying in this case. To the extent, if any, either party believes there are specific inadequacies in the discovery exchanged to date that are not addressed below, the Court directs such party to confer in good faith with the opposing party and file, if necessary, a discovery motion and supporting brief within seven days from the date of this Order.

GENERAL DISCOVERY MOTION

As to Defendant's general discovery requests, Defendant does not allege any specific inadequacies in the discovery provided by the government to date, presumably because of the government's statement that it has followed in this case its customary practice of providing liberal discovery by furnishing Defendant with the investigative reports, scientific reports (if any), and other documents material to the case (attorney and agent work product excepted).[1] (Doc. no. 35, p. 1.) All known statements by Defendant, as well as his criminal record, have also been provided. (Id. at 2.) Accordingly, the Court finds that the position of the United States Attorney in permitting liberal disclosure of the government's file pertaining to this case renders the general discovery requests MOOT. (Doc. no. 18.)

MOTION FOR DISCLOSURE OF EXCULPATORY AND IMPEACHING MATERIAL

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). (Doc. no. 17.) To some extent, Defendant's request exceeds the scope of the requirement in Brady for government disclosure of 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). The Court GRANTS the motion to the extent that the government must provide all Brady material to Defendant within five days of the date it is received or its existence becomes known. The government must disclose impeaching information not less than fourteen days prior to trial.

MOTION TO ALLOW PARTICIPATION IN VOIR DIRE

The Court GRANTS this motion. (Doc. no. 19.) Unless otherwise directed by the presiding District Judge, counsel must submit to the Court, not later than seven days prior to trial, a list of questions which they desire to ask prospective jurors.

MOTION TO DISCLOSE BAD ACTS OR PRIOR CRIMES OF WITNESSES

Defendant seeks disclosure of prior criminal conduct and uncharged bad acts of witnesses. The Confrontation Clause guarantees defendants an opportunity to impeach the testimony of prosecution witnesses through cross examination. United States v. Maxwell, 579 F.3d 1282, 1295-96 (11th Cir. 2009); United States v. Yates, 438 F.3d 1307, 1318 (11th Cir. 2006) ( en banc ); United States v. Lyons, 403 F.3d 1248, 1255-56 (11th Cir. 2005); United States v. Baptista-Rodriguez, 17 F.3d 1354, 1370 (11th Cir. 1994). However, this right is not unlimited. Although Federal Rule of Evidence 608(b) allows cross examination of a witness as to specific instances of misconduct, the government does not have a duty to investigate each witness. This Rule must also be construed to limit cross examination to those acts of conduct "which are probative of the witness's truthfulness or untruthfulness, " such as forgery, bribery, misrepresentation, fraud, perjury, receipt of stolen property, robbery, and theft. 4-608 Weinstein's Federal Evidence ยง 608.22. Moreover, the government has stated its intent to provide, one week prior to trial, rap sheets or criminal convictions of witnesses which the government learns about and which could properly be used for impeachment under Federal Rule of Evidence 609. (Doc. no. 35, p. 1.) Beyond the government's continuing duty to disclose under Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and the parameters discussed herein, Defendant's request for disclosure of prior crimes of witnesses is DENIED. (Doc. no. 20.)

SO ORDERED.


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