ROSENBERG V. UNITED STATES, 360 U. S. 367 (1959)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Rosenberg v. United States, 360 U.S. 367 (1959)

Rosenberg v. United States

No. 451

Argued April 28, 1959

Decided June 22, 1959

360 U.S. 367


Petitioner was convicted in a Federal District Court of transporting in interstate commerce, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2314, a check obtained by the perpetration of a fraud to which he had been a party. Upon his demand at the trial for production for inspection of Federal Bureau of Investigation files, the United States Attorney delivered numerous documents from the Government's files to the trial judge, who gave them to petitioner's counsel. However, the trial judge withheld a few documents, and petitioner claimed that failure to permit him to inspect them required reversal of his conviction under Jencks v. United States, 353 U. S. 657.

Held: the conviction is sustained. Pp. 360 U. S. 368-371.

1. Since its enactment, 18 U.S.C. § 3500 -- not the Jencks decision -- governs the production of statements of government witnesses for a defendant's inspection at trial. Palermo v. United States, ante, p. 360 U. S. 343. P. 360 U. S. 369.

2. Two reports of FBI investigators were properly withheld as not being "statements" of the kind required to be produced by 18 U.S.C. § 3500, since they were neither signed nor otherwise adopted by any witness at the trial, nor were they reproductions of any statement made by any witness at the trial. P. 360 U. S. 369.

3. A third document did comply with the requirement of the statute, since it was a typewritten copy of a statement given to the FBI by petitioner's confessed associate in the crime, who testified against him, it was signed by the associate, and it was pertinent to the trial of the case; but its production would have served no useful purpose, since petitioner's counsel had been given the original statement of which this was merely a copy. Pp. 360 U. S. 369-370.

4. Among the documents withheld were five letters written by the victim to the FBI and signed by her; but they failed to meet the requirement of 18 U.S.C. § 3500(b) that only statements which relate to the subject matter as to which the witness has testified need be produced. P. 360 U. S. 370.

Page 360 U. S. 368

5. A letter written by the victim to the United States Attorney, signed by her, and stating that she feared that her memory was poor as to the matters she testified about should have been produced; but failure to produce it was harmless error, since the same information was revealed by the victim to petitioner's counsel under cross-examination and upon questioning by the trial judge. Pp. 360 U. S. 370-371.

257 F.2d 760, affirmed.

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