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Balancing Government Efficienty and the Protection of Individual Liberties: An Analysis of the Conflit between Executive Branch \u22Housekeeping\u22 Regulations and Criminal Defendants\u27 Rights to a Constitutionally Fair Trial

By James F. Ponsoldt

Abstract

This Article addresses the issue of whether an accused person should be entitled to obtain and use at trial relevant government information or the testimony of government employees to prove his innocence, regardless of whether he has revealed in advance to his adversary his intended use of that information or the specific content of that testimony. Part I describes the federal \u22housekeeping\u22 statute and the Justice Department\u27s housekeeping regulations, which require that subpoenaed government employees not disclose evidence unless the person seeking that evidence has first summarized the requested evidence in advance, explained its intended use, and obtained permission from a designated official for its release. Part II of the Article will identify inconsistent recent appellate court decisions which have assessed the validity of the regulations and, more particularly, the validity of the exclusion of a government witness when the defendant has not complied with the regulations. Part III will analyze the regulations and their background in greater depth, relating them to the underlying \u22official information\u22 privilege, which, when included in proposed Rule 509 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, was rejected by Congress in the wake of Watergate. Finally, Part IV critiques the regulations as applied in federal criminal cases and concludes that such application is inconsistent with the due process and compulsory process clauses of the fifth and sixth amendments, the Federal Rules of Evidence, and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Topics: Criminal Law, Evidence
Publisher: Digital Commons @ Georgia Law
Year: 1984
OAI identifier: oai:digitalcommons.law.uga.edu:fac_artchop-1501
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