United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S RENEWED MOTION TO COMPEL
COMPLIANCE WITH CERTAIN BOP DATA DISCOVERY REQUESTS (DOC. NO.
Sorokin, United States District Judge
capital proceeding, the government advances as a
non-statutory aggravating factor in support of the death
penalty “Future Dangerousness of the Defendant While
Incarcerated, ” which asserts that the defendant Gary
Lee Sampson is likely to commit future criminal acts of
violence in prison. Doc. No. 2197 at 4, 6. In April 2016,
counsel for Sampson filed a motion seeking discovery from the
Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to aid a defense expert's
analysis regarding factors that bear on an individual's
future dangerousness in prison or lack thereof. Doc. Nos.
2173, 2173-1 at 3-5. The motion sought six categories of
information from BOP. Doc. No. 2173-5 at 2-5. The Court
allowed the motion in some respects, but denied it with
regard to the information requested in Categories A and B.
Doc. No. 2303 at 3. Category A sought a series of documents
regarding inmates sentenced to death or life without parole
for a capital offense. Doc. No. 2173-5 at 2-3. Category B
requested information concerning inmates who have committed
homicide in BOP custody. Id. at 3-4. The Court
denied Sampson's motion as to these categories because
the Court could not discern from the pleadings whether the
particular information sought was material or exculpatory,
and because the Court had concerns regarding the potential
burden on the government in gathering the requested
information. Doc. No. 2303 at 2-3. The Court's denial of
the motion as to these categories was without prejudice to
Sampson renewing his motion in a manner that
“inform[ed] the Court of the nature and substance of
each type of information listed in categories A and B, as
well as the reasons for its materiality or exculpatory
value.” Id. at 3.
Sampson filed the renewed motion now before the Court,
narrowing the scope of information sought. Doc. No. 2324 at
2. Generally speaking, Sampson seeks records and historical
information pertaining to inmates in Categories A and B -
such as disciplinary records, housing assignments, security
level placements, prior prison terms, education, gang
affiliation, and mental health codes - for the time period of
2006 to 2015. Id. He needs this information, he
says, to support his expert's testimony “analyzing
risk factors for violence in a prison setting and [providing]
an individualized assessment of Mr. Sampson according to
those factors.” Id. at 3-4. He argues that the
information sought is pertinent to this testimony because,
for example, “studies have shown that prior prison
terms correlate with disciplinary behavior and violence risk,
” as does gang affiliation. Id. at 4, 6.
on Sampson's renewed submission, which more clearly
explains the need for, and purpose of, the information
requested, the Court is satisfied that this information is
discoverable under Brady because it “fairly
tends to . . . mitigate punishment.” United States
v. Mehanna, 735 F.3d 32, 65 (1st Cir. 2013); see
United States v. Prochilo, 629 F.3d 264, 266 (1st Cir.
2011) (“Under Brady, the government has a duty
to disclose evidence in its possession that is favorable to
the accused and material to guilt or punishment.”). The
information sought will support Sampson's expert's
testimony regarding factors that do or do not correlate with
future violence in prison, and the presence vel non
of these factors in Sampson, all of which may undermine the
government's future dangerousness aggravating factor by
suggesting that Sampson is unlikely to engage in future
violence in prison. In short, Sampson has “provide[d]
the court with some indication that the materials to which he
. . . needs access contain material and potentially
exculpatory evidence.” United States v.
Caro-Muniz, 406 F.3d 22, 29 (1st Cir. 2005) (quoting
United States v. Brandon, 17 F.3d 409, 456 (1st Cir.
1994)). Furthermore, because BOP currently is gathering
virtually all of the information sought by Sampson (and more)
in another federal death penalty case, the Court need not
decide the legal significance of any burden on the government
in producing this information. See Order, United
States v. Con-Ui, No. 3:13-cr-00123-ARC (M.D. Pa. Aug.
4, 2016), ECF No. 909.
Sampson's renewed motion (Doc. No. 2324) is ALLOWED. The
parties shall file a joint status report within seven days
proposing, jointly or separately, a date for the
government's production of the documents. Counsel may
wish to coordinate on this matter with counsel in the
Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S.