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United States v. Jack

February 20, 2009

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HARRISON ULRICH JACK, GENERAL VANG PAO, LO CHA THAO, LO THAO, YOUA TRUE VANG, HUE VANG, CHONG YANG THAO, SENG VUE, CHUE LO, NHIA KAO VANG, AND DANG VANG, DEFENDANTS.



ORDER RE DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR DISCLOSURE OF MINISTERIAL GRAND JURY RECORDS

On December 16, 2008, this matter came before the undersigned for hearing on defendants' motion for disclosure of ministerial grand jury records. (Doc. No. 328.) Assistant United States Attorneys Bob Twiss, Ellen Endrizzi, Jill Thomas and Robert Tice-Raskin appeared on behalf of the United States. Federal Defender Daniel Broderick and Assistant Federal Defender Ben Galloway appeared on behalf of defendant Harrison Jack; attorneys John Balazs and Galia Phillips appeared on behalf of defendant General Vang Pao; attorney Mark Reichel appeared on behalf of defendant Lo Cha Thao; attorney William Portanova appeared on behalf of defendant Lo Thao; attorneys Jim Brosnahan, Raj Chatterjee and Nate Torres appeared on behalf of defendant Youa True Vang; attorney Krista Hart appeared on behalf of defendant Hue Vang; attorney Dina Santos appeared on behalf of defendant Chong Yang Thao; attorney Michael Bigelow appeared on behalf of defendant Seng Vue; attorney Shari Rusk appeared on behalf of defendant Chue Lo; attorney Dan Brace appeared on behalf of defendant Nhia Kao Vang; and attorney Hayes Gable appeared on behalf of defendant Dang Vang.

Federal Defender Daniel Broderick argued this motion on behalf of all defendants and Assistant United States Attorney Ellen Endrizzi argued for the government. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

ANALYSIS

By this motion, defendants seek disclosure of seven categories of documents characterized as "ministerial records" of the grand jury that returned the indictment in this case.

Specifically, defendants seek an order from the court requiring production of the following:

1. Any order reflecting the beginning or extension of the term of any grand juries investigating any of the named defendants, including but not limited to the grand jury which returned the indictment herein;

2. The number of names on the master venire for the grand jury as well as the number of Hispanic and Asian surnames in that venire;

3. Records setting forth the method by which the grand jury was empaneled;

4. A transcript of the Court's instructions and charges to the grand jury;

5. Voting records related to any decision to extend the life of the grand jury;

6. All records of disclosure of names of persons receiving information about matters occurring before the grand jury, as defined in Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure § 6(e); and

7. A list of all persons to whom grand jury materials were disclosed, the dates of such disclosure, letters or warnings given to any person regarding disclosure, and any petitions for disclosure or notifications of disclosure given to the court concerning such disclosure.

(Defs.' Notice of Mot. at 1-2.)

In support of this request for disclosure, defendants have relied in large part on the authority of In re Special Grand Jury (for Anchorage, Alaska), 674 F.2d 778 (9th Cir. 1992). In opposition, the government has taken the position that the requested records are not discoverable under Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and are, in any event, protected from disclosure absent the moving party's ability to demonstrate with particularity the existence of a compelling need sufficient to outweigh the policy of grand jury secrecy. (See Gov't. ...


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