United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
Bissoon United States District Judge
reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion for Discovery in
Aid of Sentencing and for the Appointment of a Special Master
(Doc. 104) is GRANTED PN PART and DENIED PN PART.
26, 2017, after a five-day trial, a Jury found Mr. Matakovich
guilty of violating 18 U.S.C. § 242, for use of
excessive force against Gabriel Despres on November 28, 2015.
The Jury found Mr. Matakovich not guilty of 18 U.S.C. §
1519, falsifying a record in contemplation of a federal
investigation. On June 2, 2017, Defendant Stephen Matakovich
filed a Motion For Discovery in Aid of Sentencing and for the
Appointment of a Special Master. (Doc. 104). Sentencing in
this matter is scheduled for October 24, 2017. (Doc. 112).
argues that throughout the proceedings, "the government
has repeatedly failed to comply with basic discovery
requirements by withholding Brady and Rule 16
material, in part because of its repeated - and incorrect -
assertion that it was only required to provide the defense
with evidence it intended to use in its case in chief."
(Doc. 104) at ¶ 4. As the Government nicely summarizes,
Defendant's Motion makes a multitude of requests from the
Specifically, the Defendant requests (1) an Order directing
the Government to produce any and all materials not
previously provided that were subject to disclosure under
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1962) and
Rule 16 (Motion, ¶ 22); (2) an Order directing the
Government to provide all material the Government intends to
rely upon at sentencing (Motion, ¶ 22); (3) an Order
directing the Government to turn over all notes and/or
reports of interviews with Gabriel Despres (Motion, ¶
24); and (4) the appointment of a Special Master to review
the discovery and provide the defense with any other
materials "the government has withheld." (Motion,
(Doc. 106) at 1-2.
points to a variety of alleged evidentiary violations by the
Government prior to and during trial to justify his position
that the Government has failed to meet its discovery
obligations and that the requested remedies are justified.
See generally (Doc. 104). Defendant alleges that the
Government withheld multiple pieces of evidence in violation
of its pretrial discovery obligations. Specifically, (1) a
photograph of the Defendant with the Aliquippa football
players after his encounter with Mr. Despres; (2) an FBI Form
999 indicating that the FBI first obtained video of the
incident from Heinz Field on December 7, 2015; (3) notes
taken by Pittsburgh Police Lieutenant Victor Joseph that
Defendant alleges were relevant to ADA Rebecca Spangler's
testimony; and (4) criminal histories of Government witnesses
Chelsey Jackson and the victim Gabriel Despres. (Doc. 104) at
¶¶ 7-8, 9-15, 16-18, 19.
Government responds first by arguing that Defendant is not
entitled to any of the relief he seeks. (Doc. 106) at 3. The
Government also contends that the allegation that there was a
pattern of discovery violations is unfounded. (Id.)
at 7-8. Additionally, the Government represents that it
provided Defendant with all information and evidence to which
he was legally entitled. (Doc. 106) at 3-4. Moreover, the
Government states that:
Even if any of these allegations rose to the level of a
discovery violation, none involved bad faith on the part of
the Government, nor does the Defendant allege as much at any
point in his Motion. Further, none of the alleged violations
prejudiced the Defendant, and, consequently, none violated
his right to a fair trial.
(Doc. 106)at8, FN3.
"After conviction, a defendant's due process right
to liberty, while diminished, is still present. He retains an
interest in a sentencing proceeding that is fundamentally
fair." Betterman v. Montana, 136 S.Ct. 1609,
1617 (2016). A defendant's due process rights at
sentencing hearings include the rights afforded under
Brady, Giglio and their progeny, and
require the prosecution to produce exculpatory evidence known
to the prosecution to the defendant, in accordance with any
deadlines established by the Court. See e.g.,
Brady v. Maryland, 393 U.S. 83, 87 (1963).
Similarly, the Jencks Act, which is codified in Rule
32(i)(2), applies to sentencing proceedings and requires the
prosecution to produce witness statements at the conclusion
of direct testimony of the witness. See e.g., United
States v. Rosa, 891 F.2d 1074, 1079 (3d Cir. 1989). In
addition, a criminal defendant enjoys due process rights to
not have his sentence enhanced based on "inaccurate
information, " United States v. Reynoso, 254
F.3d 467, 473 (3d Cir. 2001) (citing United States v.
Nappi, 243 F.3d 758, 763 (3d Cir. 2001)), "clearly
erroneous facts, " United States v. Wise, 515
F.3d 207, 218 (3d Cir. 2008); Gall v. United States,
552 U.S. 38, 51, 128 S.Ct. 586, 169 L.Ed.2d 445 (2007),
"materially false information, " United States
v. McDowell, 888 F.2d 285, 290 (3d Cir. 1988), and/or
"unsupported speculation, " United States v.
Berry, 553 F.3d 273, 281 (3d Cir. 2009). Finally, a
District Court's computation of a higher sentencing range
resulting from a due process violation "too seriously
affects the fairness, integrity, or public reputation of
judicial proceedings to be left uncorrected." United
States v. Saferstein, 673 F.3d 237, 244 (3d Cir. 2012);
United States v. Tai, 750 F.3d 309, 320 (3d Cir.
2014) (citing same).
United States v. Kubini, No. CR 11-14, 2017 WL
2573872, at *19 (W.D. Pa. June 14, 2017).
[t]he Jencks Act requires the prosecution to disclose witness
statements in its possession that relate to the subject
matter of the witness's testimony after the direct
examination of the witness. See e.g., United States v.
Merlino,349 F.3d 144, 155 (3d Cir. 2003); 18 U.S.C.
§ 3500(b); Fed. Crim. P. 32(i)(2) ("If a witness
testifies at sentencing, Rule 26.2(a)-(d) and (f)
applies."). The Court of Appeals has rightly recognized
that: "the sentence imposed on a defendant is the most
critical stage of criminal proceedings, and is, in effect,
the 'bottom-line' for the defendant, particularly
where the defendant has pled guilty. This being so, we can
perceive no purpose in denying the defendant the ability to