Lapse in the FBI Computer Files
Law Prof Eric Muller of Is that Legal? picks up on an important glitch in the FBI's computer files, one we mentioned too briefly last March. Eric provides some crucial follow-up and this issue needs to get more attention.
First, the problem as Eric describes it:
...the FBI's computer system has a drive onto which agents dump their raw reports, and from which supervisors upload and review them, and quite possibly edit them, before saving them as the official reports on a different drive. The "official" reports are made available, as required by law, to defendants, but the raw reports on the so-called "I" drive have never been. Indeed, the very existence of the "I" drive has been hidden until very recently.
Now the effect:
...this computer infrastructure is a flagrant violation of the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. sec. 3500, which requires that the government turn over to defendants all "recorded statements" of witnesses who testify at trial. Specifically, it requires disclosure of any "stenographic, mechanical, electrical, or other recording, or a transcription thereof, which is a substantially verbatim recital of an oral statement made by" a government trial witness and "recorded contemporaneously with the making of such oral statement."
Why have we not heard more about this large-scale statutory (and, as to material exculpatory evidence, possibly also constitutional) violation by the FBI?
Maybe now we will.
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