United States District Court, D. Maryland
THEODORE D. CHUANG UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Olden Minnickss Motion for Post
Trial Discovery, ECF No. 304. In the Motion, Minnick seeks
disclosure of (1) unredacted interview reports relating to
the testifying cooperating witness ("CW"); and (2)
the investigative file relating to Kittrell Parks, an alleged
co-conspirator of Minnick.
defendant is entitled to disclosure of evidence in the
possession of the government that is "both favorable to
the accused and material to guilt or punishment."
Pennsylvania v. Ritchie, 480 U.S. 39, 57 (1987).
When a defendant cannot know specifically whether certain
information meets this standard, the defendant needs only
make "some plausible showing" that the information
would be "material and favorable" to the defense.
Love v. Johnson, 57 F.3d 1305, 1313 (4th Cir. 1995).
Upon such a showing, the material must be submitted to the
trial court for in camera review to determine
whether it meets this standard and thus must be disclosed to
Ritchie, the defendant sought access to the child
protective services agency file of his daughter, who was the
victim of his alleged sexual assault and the primary witness
at trial, because he believed it might contain the names of
favorable witnesses or other exculpatory evidence.
Ritchie, 480 U.S. at 43-44. Based on this showing,
the court held that in camera review of the file was
required. Id. at 58. Likewise, in Love, the
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit held
that a defendant charged with rape of a minor was entitled to
in camera review of medical and mental health
records relating to the victim, including records from
facilities where the victim had been treated by testifying
medical personnel. Love, 57 F.3d at 1315. In
United States v. King, 628 F.3d 693 (4th Cir. 2011),
the court held that where the "entire defense" was
that drugs and firearms seized from the defendant's
apartment belonged to his roommate, the district court was
required to conduct in camera review of the grand
jury testimony of the roommate. Id. at 703-04.
contrast, the Fourth Circuit has held that in camera
review of a presentence report for exculpatory material is
not required unless the defendant "has first clearly
specified the information contained in the report that he
expects will reveal exculpatory or impeachment evidence"
because "[t]he adversary system does not permit either
party to 'engage in groundless fishing expeditions, with
the district courts as their unwitting (and perhaps
unwilling) agents.'" United States v.
Trevino, 89 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 1996) (quoting
United States v. Zolin, 491 U.S. 554, 571 (1989)).
testified at trial that he arranged to have heroin from
Mexico shipped through Texas to Sean Wilson in Maryland. In
recorded conversations with Wilson, the CW learned that
Wilson's main distributor of this heroin, known as
"Big O, " had surgery and had his home burglarized.
The CW never learned the actual name of Wilson's
distributor, never met him, and never heard of Olden Minnick.
In recorded conversations between Wilson and Minnick,
however, Minnick told Wilson that he had had surgery and that
his home had been burglarized. On cross examination, the CW
acknowledged that when interviewed by investigators, he was
shown multiple photographs of alleged co-conspirators of
Wilson, but he was never shown a photograph of Minnick.
to trial, the Government produced to the defense redacted
versions of DEA-6 interview reports of the CW. Minnick now
seeks disclosure or in camera review of the
unredacted reports, based on the claim that they may contain
exculpatory information. Minnick argues that the unredacted
reports "would show the breadth" of the CW's
knowledge about Wilsonss organization, such that if they
revealed that he had significant knowledge of the drug
organization while not knowing Minnick, it would
"undercut" the claims at trial that Minnick was
involved with Wilson. Mot. at 3. Minnick also claims that the
unredacted reports would show the extent of the
Government's investigation of Wilson and its failure to
connect Minnick to Wilsonss organization.
argument is flawed because at trial the CW did not claim to
know Minnick. He freely acknowledged that he had never heard
of Minnick and did not know the name of Wilsonss heroin
distributor. On cross examination, the CW acknowledged that
during his interviews with law enforcement, he was never
shown a photograph of Minnick. Thus, to the extent that the
unredacted reports would reveal that the Government had not
directly linked Minnick to Wilson, that it did not question
the CW about Minnick, and that the CW had no knowledge of
Minnick, those points had already been firmly established by
the defense during the trial.
because Minnickss request is limited to the unredacted
versions of the CW interview reports already produced by the
Government, and the request relates to prior statements of a
testifying witness, the Court will, out of an abundance of
caution, require the reports to be produced for in
camera review. See Ritchie, 480 U.S. at 43-44
(requiring in camera review of records relating to a
testifying victim); Love, 57 F.3d at 1315 (same). As
the court in King concluded, the request for
"one particular document" pertaining to one grand
jury witness can be granted "without embarking on a
'groundless fishing expedition.'"
King, 628 F.3d at 703 (quoting United States v.
Trevino, 89 F.3d 187, 192 (4th Cir. 1996)). Accordingly,
the Motion is granted in part in that the Government is
ordered to produce the unredacted CW interview reports for
in camera review.
The Parks Investigative File
trial, the evidence established that Kitcrell Parks sold
heroin to an undercover agent on June 4, 2014 and arranged
for another sale to an undercover agent on June 25, 2014. He
also was recorded in several phone conversations with
Minnick, was observed meeting with Minnick in public places,
and visited 815 Glacier Avenue, a residence owned by Minnick
that was used as a drug stash house.
seeking disclosure or in camera review of the Parks
investigative file, Minnick asserts that it must contain
favorable information revealing a "major flaw" in
the prosecution of Parks, because Parks had engaged in
hand-to-hand drug sales with cooperating witnesses on nine
occasions prior to June 2014, yet he has not been arrested or
charged to date. Mot. at 5. The Government, however,
represented that the Parks investigation, ...