United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DENYING REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATOR WITHOUT
PREJUDICE AND CONSTRUING PART OF LETTER AS MOTION FOR
BARBARA A. MCAULIFFE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Court received a letter from defendant Dimitrios Kastis,
proceeding pro se in this criminal action pursuant
to Faretta v. California, 422 U.S. 806 (1975). The
letter is filed as Doc. 34.
for an Investigator
parties appeared at a regularly scheduled status conference
on June 13, 2016. At the conference, the Court attempted to
set briefing schedules for a series of nondispositive and
dispositive motions Defendant seeks to file. Defendant stated
he needed an investigator to investigate various issues
before he files the first motions. After discussion with
Defendant, the Court required Defendant to file by July 1,
2016, an explanation of the scope of the investigation he
seeks to accomplish. At the hearing, the Court granted
Defendant's request to have the document filed under
about June 29, the Court received a letter from Defendant,
which was filed on June 29, 2016. (Doc. 34.) The letter
complains, among other things, about several judicial
decisions, as well as the "non-decisions" which
Defendant believes the Court should have made at the hearing
on June 13, 2016. The letter does not address what the Court
required of Defendant which was to identify the scope and
areas for an investigator.
pro se criminal defendant does not have an automatic
entitlement to the appointment of an investigator to assist
in the defense of pending criminal charges. Rather, the
defendant must demonstrate that the services are necessary to
an adequate representation and the defendant is financially
unable to obtain them. If an investigator is appointed, then
the Court may define the scope of that investigation.
Criminal Justice Act ("CJA") provides that courts
may "furnish  representation for any person
financially unable to obtain adequate representation."
18 U.S.C. § 3006A(a). "Representation"
includes …. "counsel and investigative, expert,
and other services necessary for adequate
representation." Id. Courts shall authorize
investigative, expert and other services "[u]pon
finding, after appropriate inquiry in an ex parte proceeding,
that the services are necessary and that the person is
financially unable to obtain them . . . ." 18 U.S.C.
burden is on the defendant to show the services are
necessary. United States v. Valtierra, 467 F.2d 125,
126 (9th Cir. 1972). To justify the authorization of
investigative services under section 3006A(e)(1), a defendant
must demonstrate with specificity, the reasons why such
services are required. United States v. Davis, 582
F.2d 947, 951 (5th Cir.1978) ("When requesting
investigative services, a defendant must show specifically
the reasons why the services are necessary."). A
district court must authorize the provision of investigative
services under § 3006A(e)(1) where
"‘reasonably competent counsel would have required
the assistance of the requested expert for a paying
client.' " United States v. Rodriguez-Lara,
421 F.3d 932, 940 (9th Cir. 2005) (citation omitted),
overruled on other grounds by United States v.
Hernandez-Estrada, 749 F.3d 1154 (9th Cir. 2014);
See United States v. Cole, No. 2:14-cr-00269-GEB,
2015 WL 5178425, at *3 (E.D. Cal. Aug. 28, 2015) (declining
pro se criminal defendant's request for investigator
where defendant failed to show that the requested services
were necessary for adequate representation). Thus, it is
discretionary to appoint an investigator and the Court will
not do so in a vacuum.
Defendant did not identify the scope or any areas or issues
for an investigator to investigate. The Court will not
appoint an investigator unless Defendant demonstrates, with
specificity, the reasons why such services are required.
Accordingly, the request for appointment of an investigator
is DENIED without prejudice. If Defendant still wishes to
have the Court consider appointing an investigator, he may
submit to the Courtroom deputy a request clearly marked as
"REQUEST FOR INVESTIGATOR TO BE FILED UNDER SEAL."
The request must set out reasons why the services are
necessary to the issues in this case. Defendant need not
serve the request on Plaintiffs counsel.
renews his request for "the names of the individuals who
provided the Clovis Police reports to the government and the
names of the individuals form the government who receive
them." (Doc. 34 p.2.)
June 13 hearing, the parties discussed this topic for a
lengthy time period. The Court believed an answer, while not
satisfactory to Defendant, was provided by the government,
but Defendant's letter indicates that an answer was not
the Court will construe the request as a motion for discovery
under Rule 16 and Brady. Plaintiff shall file a
written response to the ...