405 U.S. 150 (1972), 70-29, Giglio v. United States

Docket Nº:No. 70-29
Citation:405 U.S. 150, 92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104
Party Name:Giglio v. United States
Case Date:February 24, 1972
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 150

405 U.S. 150 (1972)

92 S.Ct. 763, 31 L.Ed.2d 104



United States

No. 70-29

United States Supreme Court

Feb. 24, 1972

Argued October 12, 1971




Petitioner filed a motion for a new trial on the basis of newly discovered evidence contending that the Government failed to disclose an alleged promise of leniency made to its key witness in return for his testimony. At a hearing on this motion, the Assistant United States Attorney who presented the case to the grand jury admitted that he promised the witness that he would not be prosecuted if he testified before the grand jury and at trial. The Assistant who tried the case was unaware of the promise.

Held: Neither the Assistant's lack of authority nor his failure to inform his superiors and associates is controlling, and the prosecution's duty to present all material evidence to the jury was not fulfilled, and constitutes a violation of due process, requiring a new trial. Pp. 153-155.

Reversed and remanded.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which all Members joined except POWELL and REHNQUIST, JJ., who took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

BURGER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioner was convicted of passing forged money orders, and sentenced to five years' imprisonment. While appeal was pending in the Court of Appeals, defense counsel discovered new evidence indicating that the Government

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had failed to disclose an alleged promise made to its key witness that he would not be prosecuted if he testified for the Government. We granted certiorari to determine whether the evidence not disclosed was such as to require a new trial under the due process criteria of Napue v. Illinois, 360 U.S. 264 (1959), and Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963).

The controversy in this case centers around the testimony of Robert Taliento, petitioner's alleged coconspirator in the offense and the only witness linking petitioner with the crime. The Government's evidence at trial showed that in June, 1966, officials at the Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co. discovered that Taliento, as teller at the bank, had cashed several forged money orders. Upon questioning by FBI agents, he confessed supplying petitioner with one of the bank's customer signature cards used by Giglio to forge $2,300 in money orders; Taliento then processed these money orders through the regular channels of the bank. Taliento related this story to the grand jury, and petitioner was indicted; thereafter, he was named as a coconspirator with petitioner, but was not indicted.

Trial commenced two years after indictment. Taliento testified, identifying petitioner as the instigator of the [92 S.Ct. 765] scheme. Defense counsel vigorously cross-examined, seeking to discredit his testimony by revealing possible agreements or arrangements for prosecutorial leniency:

[Counsel.] Did anybody tell you at any time that, if you implicated somebody else in this case, that you yourself would not be prosecuted?

[Taliento.] Nobody told me I wouldn't be prosecuted.

Q. They told you you might not be prosecuted?

A. I believe I still could be prosecuted.

* * * *

Page 152

Q. Were you ever arrested in this case or charged with anything in connection with these money orders that you testified to?

A. Not at that particular time.

Q. To this date, have you been charged with any crime?

A. Not that I know of, unless they are still going to prosecute.

In summation, the Government attorney stated, "[Taliento] received no promises that he would not be indicted."

The issue now before the Court arose on petitioner's motion for new trial based on newly discovered evidence. An affidavit filed by the Government as part of its opposition to a new trial confirms petitioner's claim that a promise was made to Taliento by one assistant, DiPaola,1 that, if he testified before the grand jury and at trial, he would not be prosecuted.2 DiPaola presented the Government's case to the grand jury, but did not try the case in the District Court, and Golden, the assistant who took over the case for trial, filed an affidavit stating that DiPaola assured him before the trial that no promises of immunity had been made to Taliento.3 The United

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States Attorney, Hoey, filed an affidavit stating that he had personally consulted with Taliento and his attorney...

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