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United States v. Alcazar-Barajas

United States District Court, N.D. California, San Jose Division

February 10, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
RAMIRO ALCAZAR-BARAJAS, Defendant.

          ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY RE: DKT. NO. 136

          HOWARD R. LLOYD United States Magistrate Judge

         Defendant moves this court for an order compelling the government to produce 9 categories of discovery.[1] The government opposes the motion. Upon consideration of the moving and responding papers, as well as the oral arguments presented, this court rules as follows:

         Category 1: Training Materials

         As narrowed by defendant, [2] this category seeks training manuals, policies, and guidelines re the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF) (and all of the agencies making up that task force), the United States Marshals Service (USMS), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). This court is unconvinced that the law enforcement canine cases cited by defendant are applicable here. Nor has defendant persuasively argued why an agent's general description of his training and experience opens up a broad foray into training policies, guidelines, and other such records, or why that information is material to his defense. This request for discovery is denied.

         Category 2: Lawsuit Information

         Defendant seeks case information for prior lawsuits against the California Department of Justice arising out of search warrants that agency obtained and executed and which were referenced by (now retired) agent Michael Ortiz during his testimony in a May 19, 2016 evidentiary hearing. This request seeks far-reaching and expansive discovery that is considerably broader than any materials that could be relevant to the charge against defendant in this particular case. Defendant's request for this discovery is denied.

         Category 3: Location Tracking

         Defendant seeks all information about the use, monitoring, or results of location tracking technology used during the FMTF investigation of 69481 Jolon Road, including court records. This request seeks far-reaching and expansive discovery that is considerably broader than any materials that could be relevant to the charge against defendant in this particular case. Defendant's request for this discovery is denied.

         Category 4: Entry Team Officer Information

         Defendant seeks the names of the officers and agents on Entry Team 1. The government does not object, provided that disclosure will not jeopardize any ongoing investigations. At the motion hearing, the government stated that it was still investigating whether there was any such risk. By February 17, 2017, the government shall complete its inquiries and either provide defendant with the requested names, or confirm that it cannot do so because disclosure will jeopardize ongoing investigations.

         Category 5: Brady/Giglio[3] Material re Government Witnesses

         The issue here is timing of production. Defendant asks for early Brady/Giglio information re any government witnesses, to be produced at least 3 weeks in advance of any Franks[4]hearing (i.e., by April 5).[5] The government agrees to produce the requested material as soon as possible in advance of any future evidentiary hearing, but argues that it would be premature to order production before Judge Davila decides whether a hearing will be held. And, as a practical matter, the government says it is unlikely to be able to produce material as early as April 5, since that will be only two days after Judge Davila orders any hearing. Defendant correctly notes that courts have held that Brady/Giglio applies to testifying and non-testifying witnesses. Those cases, however, don't entirely resolve the government's expressed timing concern inasmuch as they involved witness statements that the government put into evidence somehow. See, e.g., United States v. Jackson, 345 F.3d 59, 71 (2d Cir. 2003) (“It is thus clear that Brady and its progeny may require disclosure of exculpatory and/or impeachment materials whether those materials concern a testifying witness or a hearsay declarant”); United States v. Flores, No. CR08-0730 WHA, 2011 WL 1100137 (N.D. Cal., Mar. 24, 2011) (applying Brady/Giglio to co-conspirators whose out-of-court statements the prosecution intended to put into evidence).[6]

         Nevertheless, this court is told that the parties will begin briefing defendant's anticipated Franks motion within a few days and that the decision whether a hearing will be held will be made by April 3. If an evidentiary hearing is ordered, then at least by April 17 the government surely will have some idea as to whose testimony it will present. So, if a Franks hearing is ordered, the government shall produce Brady/Giglio material re its witnesses by April 17, 2017.

         Category 6: FMTF Records re ...


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