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United States v. Talley

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 21, 2015

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
ANTRON TALLEY

OPINION ON PRETRIAL MOTIONS

MAURICE B. COHILL, Jr., District Judge.

Defendant Antron Talley ("Talley" or "Defendant"), is charged in a one-count indictment for possession of firearms and/or ammunition by a convicted felon under 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(g)(1) and 924(e) and 2. On March 11, 2015 the Court conducted a hearing in which it allowed Talley to proceed in this case on a pro se basis with Attorney Jay Finkelstein as standby counsel. Following the hearing Talley submitted three pretrial motions: A Motion to Proceed Pro Se [ECF No. 34], which the Court promptly granted [ECF No. 36], a Motion for Discovery [ECF No. 32], and a Motion to Suppress Statements/Motion for Franks Hearing [ECF No. 33]. On March 31 the Government Responded to Talley's pending Motions [ECF Nos. 42 and 43]. On that same day Talley filed a Motion to Dismiss Count 1 of the Indictment on Jurisdictional Grounds [ECF No. 41]. The Government Responded to the Motion to Dismiss on April 14, 2015 [ECF No. 45].

I. Motion for Production of Discovery Materials [ECF No. 32]

Talley seeks production of a variety of materials pursuant to either Rule 16 or as exculpatory material under Brady v. Maryland , 373 U.S. 83 (1963), and potential impeachment material under Giglio v. United States , 405 U.S. 150, 154 (1972). More specifically, in his Motion for Discovery, Talley requests: Photographs of the back door located at 1414 E. Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA; photographs of steps leading to the back door at the same location; full names of all the United States witnesses; Grand Jury Testimony by Donald King, III and Zachary Hnesh; any promises of immunity, leniency or preferential treatment made by any agent of the Government to Donald King, III; copies of the telephone call history between Sergeant Stephen Matakovich and Zachary Hnesh on August 28, 2013; copies of the telephone call history between Sergeant Stephen Matakovich and Anastasios Makripodis on August 28, 2013; a thorough inspection and certified copies of all reports manufactured by Sergeant Stephen Matakovich; and inspection and copies of the scientific test, deoxyribonucleic acid ("DNA") extraction of black syncron gloves and silver tattoo gun that were recovered from the apartment at 1414 E. Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA. The Government's general response to Talley's Motion is that it has produced all the information it is required to produce at this time under Rule 16 [ECF No. 42 at 13].

As succinctly stated by the appellate court in United States v. Ramos , 27 F.3d 65 (3d Cir. 1994):

[c]riminal pretrial discovery is, of course, vastly different from discovery in civil cases. In contrast to the wide-ranging discovery permitted in civil cases, Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure delineates the categories of information to which defendants are entitled in pretrial discovery in criminal cases, with some additional material being discoverable in accordance with statutory pronouncements and the due process clause of the Constitution. The Jencks Act requires that after each government witness has testified on direct examination, the government must produce to the defense "any statement" made by the witness which relates to his or her testimony. In Brady, the Supreme Court held that due process required that the government produce all "exculpatory" evidence, which includes both "[m]aterials... that go to the heart of the defendant's guilt or innocence and materials that might affect the jury's judgment of the credibility of a crucial prosecution witness." United States v. Hill , 976 F.2d 132, 134-35 (3d Cir.1992).

Ramos, F.3d. at 67-68; see also United States v. Bagley , 473 U.S. 667, 675 (1985) ("the prosecutor is not required to deliver his entire file to defense counsel, but only to disclose evidence favorable to the accused that, if suppressed, would deprive the defendant of a fair trial").

Unless Rule 16(a)(1) provides otherwise, "this rule does not authorize the discovery or inspection of 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." Fed.R.Crim.P. 16(a)(2). "Nor does this rule authorize the discovery or inspection of statements made by prospective government witnesses except as provided in 18 U.S.C. § 3500 [(the Jencks Act)]." Fed.R.Crim.P. 16(a)(2). The Jencks Act provides in relevant part as follows:

(a) In any criminal prosecution brought by the United States, no statement or report in the possession of the United States which was made by a Government witness or prospective Government witness (other than the defendant) shall be the subject of subpoena, discovery, or inspection until said witness has testified on direct examination in the trial of the case.
(b) After a witness called by the United States has testified on direct examination, the court shall, on motion of the defendant, order the United States to produce any statement (as hereinafter defined) of the witness in the possession of the United States which relates to the subject matter as to which the witness has testified. If the entire contents of any such statement relate to the subject matter of the testimony of the witness, the court shall order it to be delivered directly to the defendant for his examination and use.
....
18 U.S.C. § 3500(a) & (b).

The Government has the additional obligation, under Brady, to produce exculpatory evidence which includes evidence that goes to the defendant's guilt or innocence or evidence which might alter the jury's impression of a witness. The evidence is "material" when it is reasonably probable that, "had the evidence been disclosed to the defense, the result of the proceeding would have been different." United States v. Bagley , 473 U.S. 667, 682 (1985). Brady evidence must be disclosed "in time for its effective use at trial." United States v. Higgs , 713 F.2d 39, 44 (3d Cir. 1983).

The Government states in its Response that it is currently unaware of any exculpatory Brady material. However, should the Government obtain evidence that would fall under this category it would produce the material to the Defendant as soon as practicable to enable a fair and just trial [ECF No. 42 at 5]. The Government agrees to turn over any ...


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