373 U.S. 487 (1963), 631, Campbell v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 631
Citation:373 U.S. 487, 83 S.Ct. 1356, 10 L.Ed.2d 501
Party Name:Campbell v. United States
Case Date:May 27, 1963
Court:United States Supreme Court
 
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Page 487

373 U.S. 487 (1963)

83 S.Ct. 1356, 10 L.Ed.2d 501

Campbell

v.

United States

No. 631

United States Supreme Court

May 27, 1963

Argued April 25, 1963

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS

FOR THE FIRST CIRCUIT

Syllabus

After this Court's remand of this case, 365 U.S. 85, for further proceedings to determine whether petitioners' motion under the Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500, for production of a pretrial statement of a government witness had been erroneously denied by the Federal District Court in their trial for bank robbery, further hearings were held in the District Court, from which it appeared that, after interviewing the witness and taking longhand notes of his account of the robbery, an FBI Agent had repeated back to the witness this account, referring to his notes; the witness had indicated that the Agent's oral presentation was accurate, but had not signed the notes; some hours later, the Agent had incorporated the substance of these notes in an interview report; and he had then destroyed the notes. The District Court found specifically that the Agent's oral presentation to the witness had "not merely adhered to the substance [of the notes] but, so far as practical, to the precise words"; that the witness had adopted this presentation; that the interview report was "almost in ipsissima verba the narrative [the Agent] had just checked with" the witness; and that, therefore, the report was producible as "a written statement made by said witness and . . . adopted . . . by him," within the meaning of § 3500(e)(1). The Court of Appeals reversed.

Held: The interview report should have been produced under § 3500(e)(1) at petitioners' trial; the judgment of the Court of Appeals and the judgments of conviction are vacated; and the case is remanded for further proceedings. Pp. 488-497.

(a) On this record, the producibility of the interview report under § 3500(e)(1) depended upon the answers to two questions: (1) whether the Agent's oral version of the notes may fairly be deemed a reading back of the notes to the witness, and (2) whether the interview report may fairly be deemed a copy of the notes. Pp. 492-493.

(b) These are questions of fact, the determination of which by the District Judge may not be disturbed unless clearly erroneous,

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and the District Judge's findings thereon were not clearly erroneous. Pp. 493-495.

(c) There were discrepancies between the testimony of the witness at the trial and his statements in the interview report, and fairness in federal criminal procedure, which the Jencks Act was enacted to secure, demands that this interview report, reasonably found to be an accurate copy of a written statement made by the witness the day after the robbery and adopted by him as his own, be producible for impeachment purposes. Pp. 495-497.

303 F.2d 747, judgment vacated and case remanded.

BRENNAN, J., lead opinion

MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case, involving questions under the so-called Jencks Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3500,1 is before the Court for the second time. When it was first here, we held inadequate

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the procedure employed by the trial court for ascertaining whether notes taken by Federal Agent John F. Toomey, Jr., at his interview with Dominic Staula -- a key government witness at petitioners' trial for bank robbery -- or the Interview Report compiled by Toomey from his notes, were producible statements within the meaning of § 3500(e)(1) or (e)(2). 365 U.S. 85.2 We declined to order petitioners' convictions vacated, but remanded "to the trial court with direction to hold a new inquiry consistent with this opinion . . . [and] supplement the record with new findings. . . ." 365 U.S. at 98-99. On remand the trial judge held a hearing at which Toomey, but not Staula, testified. Toomey gave the following testimony: on the day following the robbery, he interviewed Staula privately. Staula was a depositor of the bank, and had been an eyewitness to the crime. Toomey took longhand notes of the interview, which were "complete . . . with respect to the pertinent information" given by Staula, although not a complete, word-for-word transcription [83 S.Ct. 1359] of what he had said. Toomey then recited

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back to Staula the substance of his account, referring to his notes, and Staula said that Toomey had got it straight. Staula did not read or sign the notes. About seven hours later, Toomey, after rearranging his notes to accord with the chronology of Staula's account, dictated the Interview Report, relying primarily on his notes but also on memory. After checking the transcribed report against the notes and finding it accurate, he destroyed the notes.3

On the basis of this testimony and the record of Staula's testimony at petitioners' trial, the trial judge held that neither the notes nor the Interview Report was producible under the Jencks Act. 206 F.Supp. 213. On appeal, the Court of Appeals expressed dissatisfaction with the judge's conduct of the hearing, but accepted his ruling that the Interview Report was not producible. 296 F.2d 527. However, the court held that the status of the notes could not be adequately determined without fresh testimony from Staula.4 Accordingly, the court, while retaining jurisdiction of the appeal generally, ordered a further hearing before a district judge other than the trial judge, with both Staula and Toomey to testify, for a determination "whether Staula signed or otherwise adopted or approved the notes." Id., 296 F.2d at 534.

At this hearing, Staula testified that he had not read or signed Toomey's notes, but had told Toomey that what the latter had repeated back to him was, to the best of

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his knowledge, what had happened. Toomey amplified his earlier testimony. On this record, the second district judge concluded, 199 F.Supp. 905, that Toomey's oral presentation to Staula had "not merely adhered to the substance [of the notes], but, so far as practical, to the precise words," id., 199 F.Supp. at 906; that Staula had adopted this presentation; that the Interview Report was "almost in ipsissima verba the narrative [Toomey] had just checked with Staula," id., 199 F.Supp. at 907; and that therefore the report was producible as "a written statement made by said witness and . . . adopted . . . by him." 18 U.S.C. § 3500(e)(1).

The Court of Appeals then filed a supplemental opinion in which it accepted the second district judge's findings but held that the report was neither a written statement approved by Staula nor a copy of such a statement, and hence did not come within § 3500(e)(1). 303 F.2d 747. We granted certiorari and leave to proceed in forma pauperis. 371 U.S. 919. We reverse. We agree with the second district judge that the Interview Report was producible under § 3500(e)(1); consequently, we do not reach the other issues tendered by petitioners.5

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In Campbell I, we posed the following questions to frame the hearing on remand:

Did Toomey write down what Staula told him at the interview? If so, did Toomey give Staula the [83 S.Ct. 1360] paper "to read over, to make sure that it was right" [as Staula had testified at the trial], and did Staula sign it?

Was the Interview Report the paper Staula described or a copy of that paper? In either case, as the trial judge ruled, the Interview Report would be a producible "statement" under subsection (e)(1).

365 U.S. at 93. We now know that the "paper Staula described" was Toomey's interview notes, and that Staula adopted Toomey's oral presentation based on the notes. Plainly, if Toomey, in making the oral presentation, was in fact reading the notes back to Staula, the latter's adoption of the oral presentation would constitute adoption of a written statement made by him, namely, the notes. See United States v. Annunziato, 293 F.2d 373, 382 (C.A.2d Cir., 1961); United States v. Aviles, 197 F.Supp. 536, 556 (D.C.S.D.N.Y.1961).6 The producibility of the Interview Report under § 3500(e)(1) would therefore seem to depend upon the answers to two questions: whether Toomey's oral version of the notes may fairly

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be deemed a reading back of the notes to Staula; and whether the Interview Report may fairly be deemed a copy of the notes.

We think these questions properly are ones of fact, the determination of which by the district judge may not be disturbed unless clearly erroneous.

Final decision as to production must rest, as it does so very often in procedural and evidentiary matters, within the good sense and experience of the district judge guided by the standards we have outlined, and subject to the appropriately limited review of appellate courts.

Palermo v. United States, 360 U.S. 343, 353. Cf. id., at 360 (concurring opinion); Hance v. United States, 299 F.2d 389, 397 (C.A.8th Cir., 1962); United States v. Thomas, 282 F.2d 191 (C.A.2d Cir., 1960).

The inquiry [is] a proceeding...

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