United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Seattle
ORDER TO DISCLOSE
RICARDO S. MARTINEZ CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on the Government's Motion
Regarding the Discoverability of a Particular Document. Dkt.
#43. In the course of pre-trial discovery, the government has
withheld a single memorandum it sent to T-Mobile-the alleged
victim in this case. The government believes that the
document is not discoverable and asks the Court to affirm
that position. The Court finds that the document is
discoverable, and the government is directed to produce it.
are alleged of stealing trade secrets from T-Mobile. As the
victim, T-Mobile may be entitled to “full and timely
restitution as provided in law.” 18 U.S.C. §
3771(a)(6); see also, 18 U.S.C. §
3663A (requiring restitution for specified
offenses). The amount of restitution is limited to a
victim's actual losses. See United States v.
Beecroft, 825 F.3d 991, 996 (9th Cir. 2016). Therefore,
the government and T-Mobile have discussed the issue of
restitution in this case. “T-Mobile provided the
government with a memorandum outlining its position”
and the government “wrote a responsive memorandum to
T-Mobile.” Dkt. #43 at 2-3. The government has produced
T-Mobile's memorandum to Defendants. The government has
not produced its own memorandum, asserting that it contains
only confidential legal analysis that need not be disclosed
to Defendants in this action. Id. at 4.
Ex-Parte, In Camera Review
complain of the process through which this matter is before
the Court, asserting that they should be entitled to review
the document at issue before the Court decides
discoverability so that Defendants may better tailor their
arguments. Dkt. #47 at 2-3. But, as the government notes,
within the Ninth Circuit, “[i]f the prosecution is
uncertain about the materiality of information within its
possession, it may submit the information to the trial court
for an in camera inspection and evaluation.” Dkt. #43
at 3 (quoting United States v. Cadet, 727 F.2d 1453,
1467-68 (9th Cir. 1984) and citing additional cases).
Defendants point to no applicable contrary authority.
Regardless, the issue is ultimately moot as the Court finds
that the government must produce the memorandum.
much of the parties' briefing concerns whether the
memorandum is Brady material which must be disclosed,
the Court begins its analysis by considering the issue under
the relevant Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure:
Upon a defendant's request, the government must permit
the defendant to inspect and to copy or photograph books,
papers, documents, data, photographs, tangible objects,
buildings or places, or copies or portions of any of these
items, if the item is within the government's possession,
custody, or control and:
(i) the item is material to preparing the
Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(E)(i). Rule 16 provides for broad
discovery because “[m]ateriality is a low
threshold.” United States v. Hernandez-Meza,
720 F.3d 760, 768 (9th Cir. 2013). The threshold is satisfied
if the document “would have helped . . . prepare a
defense” or could cause “a defendant to
completely abandon a planned defense and take an entirely
different path.” Id. (quoting United
States v. Doe, 705 F.3d 1134, 1151 (9th Cir. 2013))
(quotation marks omitted).
there is little question that having the prosecution's
legal analysis related to a portion of the case would aid the
defense in determining its strategy and is therefore
material. The government expresses concern with such an
approach, albeit in a slightly different
context:“a prosecutor would need to turn over
every prosecution memorandum that discussed a weakness in the
case. [Defendants'] position is clearly not the law-and
for good reason-because it would unduly chill ...