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United States v. Meza

United States District Court, S.D. California

April 7, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID ENRIQUE MEZA, Defendant.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT MEZA'S MOTION TO COMPEL DISCOVERY

          JEFFREY T. MILLER United States District Judge.

         Before the court is Defendant David Enrique Meza's motion to compel discovery of testing and reports done by the Mexican authorities. (Doc. No. 120.) For the following reasons, the court denies the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         Meza filed the motion to compel on February 23, 2017. The court heard argument on the motion on March 24, 2017. At that time, the Government stated that it had already made an informal request to Mexican authorities to turn over the information, if it exists, but had not heard back. At Meza's behest, the Government represented that it would make another request in short order. Pending those cooperative efforts, the court deferred ruling on the motion until a scheduled April 7, 2017, hearing.

         At an April 6, 2017, scheduling meeting, however, the Government advised the court that it had requested of the Mexican authorities, through informal channels, the lab work associated with the Mexican authorities' DNA findings that did not inculpate Meza. In response, the Mexican authorities forwarded to both parties additional lab work included in Meza's request. At the April 7 hearing, the parties provided further argument on the motion, and the court took it under submission to the extent it had not been mooted by the Government's latest efforts to obtain the information.

         LEGAL STANDARDS

         Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16(a)(1)(F) provides:

Upon a defendant's request, the government must permit the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph the results or reports of any physical or mental examination and of any scientific test or experiment if: (i) the item is within the government's possession, custody, or control; (ii) the attorney for the government knows-or through due diligence could know-that the item exists; and (iii) the item is material to preparing the defense or the government intends to use the item in its case-in-chief at trial.

Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), holds that, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, the prosecution must turn over evidence favorable to a criminal defendant when the evidence is material to guilt or punishment.

         DISCUSSION

         Meza argues that both Rule 16 and Brady require the Government to turn over “a complete copy of the Mexican crime lab file as well as a complete copy of the file of any private laboratory utilized by Mexican authorities, including any biological evidence collected, evaluated, and/or tested by Mexican authorities or private laboratories.”[1]

         A. Rule 16

         Meza contends that each prong of Rule 16(a)(1)(F) is satisfied: the information is within the Government's possession, custody, or control; the Government knows-or through due diligence could know-that the information exists; and the information is material to preparing his defense.

         The Government focuses its response on its lack of possession, custody, or ...


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