Wednesday, January 13, 2021

US v. Bruce II, No. 19-10289 (1-12-21)(Christen w/Hawkins & Gritzner). This appeal arises from a prison guard’s conviction on a slew of charges related to smuggling drugs into the institution. Bruce challenged the identification of him through a Facebook photo and raised a Brady claim. The 9th affirmed the identification: the contact who identified the defendant saw him previously, and the circumstances were not too suggestive. As for Brady, the exculpatory information was that another guard was being investigated at the time and was later charged. Bruce’s defense here was that some other guard smuggled in drugs. The 9th found a Brady violation: the information was exculpatory; it went to the defense; it was admissible; and the prosecutor should have known. The prosecutor had even filed an ex parte in limine motion to shield the information. Alas, for Bruce, the 9th found that the information was not material given the circumstances of the other guard’s involvement (limited) and the evidence focused on Bruce.

The decision is here:


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