IN CAMERA INSPECTIONS
In Camera inspections have been recommended “as a means for resolving the conflict between a defendant’s need for evidence and the government’s claim of privilege based on needs of public security.” US v. Brown, 539 F.2d 467 (5th Cir. 1976); US v. Buckley, 586 F.2d 498 (5th Cir. 1978), reh. den., 589 F.2d 1114, cert. den., 99 S.Ct. 1972 (1979); US v. Parker, 586 F.2d 422
(5th Cir. 1978), reh. den., 590 F.2d 333, cert. den., 99 S. Ct. 2408 (1979).
Before an in camera inspection is required, the defendant must (1) specify with reasonable particularity (normally by his cross examination at trial) that a certain document exists; (2) that there is reason to believe that the document is a statutory “statement”; and (3) that the government failed to provide it in violation of a Rule or act. See US v. Robinson, 585 F.2d 247 (7th Cir. 1979); Goldberg_v. US 94 (1976); US v. Conroy, 589 F.2d 1258 (5th Cir. 1979) (holding by Fifth Circuit reversed because the trial judge refused to inspect a thick file in camera).
- Whether disclosure of tapes allegedly containing confidential Presidential communications should be made. US v. Nixon, 418 US 683 (1974).
- Whether disclosure of grand jury minutes subject to deletion of “extraneous” material should be made, Dennis v. US, 384 US 855 (1966).
- Whether Jencks Act requires disclosure of documents to the defense, Palermo
- US, 360 US 343 (1959).
- Whether the identity of an informer should be released to the defense, Rovario
- US, 353 US 53 (1957).
- US v. Linstrom, 698 F.2d 1154, 1166-68 (11th 1983), where the trial court abused its discretion in denying defense access to witness’ psychiatric records after in camera review because the defendant was prejudiced when the jury was prevented from examining valuable evidence on witness’ capacity to know, comprehend and relate the truth.
(c ) Cases Not Requiring Inspection.
- In Kett v. US, 722 F.2d 687, 689 (11th 1984), the Court’s refusal to order disclosure after an in camera examination did not require reversal where the informant’s testimony contained nothing material to the defense of entrapment.
(iii) US v. Kramer, 711 F.2d 789 (7th Cir.), cert. den. court’s refusal to order disclosure after an in camera review of two pre-sentence reports containing statements by two government witnesses to probation officers and notes made by an IRS agent after an interview with a government witness did not require reversal because the reports contained no information helpful to the defendant.
In a plurality opinion, the Supreme Court recently has determined that an accused’s right to disclosure of witnesses and evidence is more properly a matter of Fifth Amendment “due process”, than Sixth Amendment “compulsory process” and same is adequately protected by a trial court’s review of the material “in camera” to determine whether the Court would conclude same would have changed the outcome of the trial. Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, 94 L.Ed.2d 40 (1987).