United States v. Ruiz, 536 U.S. 622, 11 (2002)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  Next

632

UNITED STATES v. RUIZ

Opinion of the Court

investigations" and expose prospective witnesses to serious harm. Brief for United States 25. Cf. Amendments to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure: Hearings before the Subcommittee on Criminal Justice of the House Committee on the Judiciary, 94th Cong., 1st Sess., 92 (1975) (statement of John C. Keeney, Acting Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Div., Dept. of Justice) (opposing mandated witness disclosure three days before trial because of documented instances of witness intimidation). And the careful tailoring that characterizes most legal Government witness disclosure requirements suggests recognition by both Congress and the Federal Rules Committees that such concerns are valid. See, e. g., 18 U. S. C. 3432 (witness list disclosure required in capital cases three days before trial with exceptions); 3500 (Government witness statements ordinarily subject to discovery only after testimony given); Fed. Rule Crim. Proc. 16(a)(2) (embodies limitations of 18 U. S. C. 3500). Compare 156 F. R. D. 460, 461-462 (1994) (congressional proposal to significantly broaden 3500) with 167 F. R. D. 221, 223, n. ( judicial conference opposing congressional proposal). Consequently, the Ninth Circuit's requirement could force the Government to abandon its "general practice" of not "disclos[ing] to a defendant pleading guilty information that would reveal the identities of cooperating informants, under-cover investigators, or other prospective witnesses." Brief for United States 25. It could require the Government to devote substantially more resources to trial preparation prior to plea bargaining, thereby depriving the plea-bargaining process of its main resource-saving advantages. Or it could lead the Government instead to abandon its heavy reliance upon plea bargaining in a vast number—90% or more—of federal criminal cases. We cannot say that the Constitution's due process requirement demands so radical a change in the criminal justice process in order to achieve so comparatively small a constitutional benefit.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007