Thursday, December 5, 2013

United States v. Ganier case brief

United States v. Ganier case brief summary
468 F.3d 920 (6th Cir. 2006)

The Government sought review of a decision of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee at Nashville, which excluded certain evidence from defendant's criminal trial because it did not provide a written summary of the proposed testimony of a government computer specialist as was allegedly required by Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(G).

Defendant was charged with endeavoring to obstruct justice, a violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1503(a), (2), and altering, destroying, or concealing documents, a violation of 18 U.S.C.S. §§ 1519, 2, for, inter alia, allegedly deleting computer files with intent to impede a federal investigation.


  • Preliminarily, the federal court of appeals found that the plain error standard of review did not apply as Fed. R. Evid. 103(a) did not require the Government to make a formal offer of proof; it adequately made the grounds for admissibility known by arguing that the testimony should not be excluded for failure to comply with Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(G). 
  • Further, although the district court did not err by concluding that the proposed testimony could be offered only pursuant to Fed. R. Evid. 702 and, accordingly, that the Government violated Fed. R. Crim. P. 16(a)(1)(G) by not providing a written summary of the testimony to defendant, the federal court of appeals vacated the district court's decision as the record did not reflect whether the district court considered the reasons for the Government's delay, the degree of prejudice to defendant, or whether a less severe sanction was appropriate.

The court of appeals vacated the district court's decision and remanded for further consideration consistent with its opinion.

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