CAMPBELL V. UNITED STATES, 373 U. S. 487 (1963)

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U.S. Supreme Court

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

Campbell v. United States

No. 631

Argued April 25, 1963

Decided May 27, 1963

373 U.S. 487


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. 373 U. S. 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. 373 U. S. 492-493.

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

Page 373 U. S. 488

and the District Judge's findings thereon were not clearly erroneous. Pp. 373 U. S. 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. 373 U. S. 495-497.

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


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