Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sufficiency/Knowledge of Conspiracy's Object and Brady/Evidence Possessed by Foreign Sovereign

[This case summarized by Felicia Sarner.]

US v. Reyeros, 537 F.3d 270 (3d Cir. July 31, 2008). Reyeros, a former customs inspector, was convicted of conspiring to transport cocaine into the United States. The government's case relied in part on a cooperating witness who was initially detained in Columbia and opposed extradition. Reyeros requested documents the witness filed with Columbian authorities opposing extradition, arguing that he was entitled to them under Brady and Jencks. The Circuit found the evidence was sufficient to prove that Reyeros was aware that the purpose of the conspiracy was to import cocaine. It also found that the requested documents were not and had never been in the possession of the United States government, and that Columbia was not acting on behalf of or under the control of the United States, nor was it part of a joint investigation. The relevant factors when considering a federal prosecutor's constructive knowledge of Brady material are whether the party with knowledge of the information is acting on the government's "behalf" or is under its "control", the extent to which the two jurisdictions are part of a team, participating in a joint investigation or sharing resources, and whether the federal prosecutor had "ready access" to the evidence. None of those factors applied here, such that the United States was not in constructive possession of the evidence and there was no violation under Brady or Jencks.

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