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United States v. Chapman


June 14, 1963


Author: Kaufman

Before LUMBARD, Chief Judge, and KAUFMAN and MARSHALL, Circuit Judges.

KAUFMAN, Circuit Judge.

This is an appeal from a conviction for violation of the federal narcotics laws, 21 U.S.C. §§ 173, 174. Appellant seeks a reversal of the conviction and a remand for a new trial because of the failure of the District Judge to order the production of certain documents under the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500.

The appellant was convicted of having sold narcotics on August 1, 1960 to a federal agent. The agent, shortly after consummating the purchase, prepared a report concerning the events of that day, which report was requested by and turned over to the appellant on crossexamination of the agent, pursuant to the mandate of the Jencks Act.*fn1 Counsel noted that, although appellant's name was William Chapman, the report identified the seller of the narcotics as Wallace Chapman. Contending that this discrepancy as well as others revealed in the report raised an issue as to identity, counsel for appellant asked the agent whether, during the several months between the sale and the arrest of the defendant, status or progress reports had been made by him as is usual during the investigation of a crime. Upon receiving an affirmative answer, counsel requested that such reports be produced in order that they might be examined so that light might be shed on the question of identity. The Government objected to the request, principally on the ground that the issue of identity was first raised on cross-examination of the agent and not on direct. The District Court denied the Jencks Act request.

On appeal, the Government concedes that the better procedure would have been for the District Judge to have been furnished with the agent's progress reports for his examination. It contends, however, that rather than grant a new trial, the proper procedure would be for this Court to certify to the District Judge the question whether the defense was entitled to have such reports.

We agree that a remand to the District Court in order that it may inspect the agent's progress reports to determine whether their production is warranted, is an appropriate remedy. The District Judge is thoroughly familiar with the facts and the trial of the case, and the propriety of ordering the reports surrendered to the defendant can be determined with dispatch. Should the reports be found to fall without the terms of the Jencks Act, a new trial would be obviated. This remedy has been employed by the Supreme Court in cases arising under 18 U.S.C. § 3500, see Killian v. United States, 368 U.S. 231, 242-244, 82 S. Ct. 302, 7 L. Ed. 2d 256 (1961); Campbell v. United States, 365 U.S. 85, 98-99, 81 S. Ct. 421, 5 L. Ed. 2d 428 (1961), and has also proved satisfactory where requests for production of grand jury transcripts were denied, see United States v. Santore, 290 F.2d 51, 67-68 (2 Cir., 1960), cert. denied, 365 U.S. 834, 81 S. Ct. 745, 5 L. Ed. 2d 743 (1961); United States v. Giampa, 290 F.2d 83, 85-86 (2 Cir., 1961).

If, on remand, the District Court determines that the status reports contain no such information as to warrant their production to the defendant, it should enter a new final judgment based upon the record as supplemented by these findings, thus preserving to appellant the right of appeal therefrom. If, on the other hand, the District Court concludes that the appellant's request to examine relevant portions of the reports was wrongfully denied, it would then become its duty to accord the appellant a new trial. See Hilliard v. United States, 317 F.2d 150 (D.C.Cir., 1963); Saunders v. United States, 316 F.2d 346 (D.C.Cir., 1963).

Remanded from the bench for further proceedings.

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