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MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DISCLOSURE OF DEFENSE WITNESS’ CONVICTION RECORDS

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS SAN ANTONIO DIVISION

United States of America

Vs.                                        NO.

 

MEMORANDUM OF LAW IN SUPPORT OF MOTION TO COMPEL DISCLOSURE OF DEFENSE WITNESS’ CONVICTION RECORDS

TO THE HONORABLE *, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS, SAN ANTONIO DIVISION:

STATEMENT OF FACTS

The U.S. Government through its vast and wide-reaching investigative and information gathering resources compiles data and information on prospective witnesses regarding prior arrests and/or conviction records appearing on their “rap sheets” which are retrieved through the computers and other sources available to the Government.

ARGUMENT

The nonreciprocal nature of the Government’s vast and wide-reaching resources in compiling data on prospective jurors violates the mandate of the equal protection clause that a State not permit a Defendant to be deprived of “…the basic tools of an adequate defense” by reason of his poverty.  Britt v. North Carolina, 404 US 226, 227 (1971).

This practice creates and unfair imbalance of advantage favoring the prosecution and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment “…does speak to the balance of forces between the accused and his accuser.” Wardius v. Oregon, 412 US 470 (1973).

Practices such as the gathering of information regarding prospective witness through means available only to the Government provides “nonreciprocal benefits to the State” with regard to the investigation and preparation of its case and as the Supreme Court recently noted in Wardius v. Oregon, 412 US 470 (1973). “…[W]hen the lack of reciprocity interferes with the Defendant’s ability to secure a fair trial” such constitutes a violation of the Defendant’s Constitutionally protected right to due process.  Id.

“[T]he State’s inherent information gathering advantages suggest that if there is to be imbalance in discovery rights, it should work in the defendant’s favor.” Id.

 CONCLUSION

A criminal trial “…is not a sporting event,” Giles v. Maryland, 386 US 66 (1967) (Fortas, J., concurring), and where the vast and far-reaching investigative and information gathering resources of the Government in compiling data on prospective witnesses far outstrip those of a defendant thereby depriving said defendant of equal access to information regarding prospective witnesses, then such practice violates the defendant’s right to “equal protection” of the laws and provides “nonreciprocal benefits to the State” which interferes with the defendant’s ability to secure a fair trial at this vital and critical stage of the criminal process, all in violation of the Defendant’s Constitutionally protected rights to due process and “fundamental fairness.”

Accordingly, this Honorable Court should compel the Government to disclose such information regarding prospective witness to the defense.

Respectfully submitted:

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