Middle District Of Pennsylvania Includes Additional Government Disclosure Requirements In New Rule For Pre-Sentence Procedure

By: James W. Kraus

The U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania has given notice that it has adopted a new local Rule of Criminal Procedure 32.1, effective December 1, 2012.  The new rule covers presentence procedure from the verdict or plea of guilty through the hearing on sentencing.

The Rule specifically provides in 32.1(d) that the “government shall provide to the defendant’s counsel a copy of any documentary information provided to the probation officer to be considered in preparation of the presentence report at the same time it is provided to the probation officer.”  The Rule further provides that the defendant or defendant’s counsel may submit documentary information of their own to probation and counsel for the government.  This provision is notable for its codification of affirmative documentary disclosure requirements by the government in the pre-sentencing phase.

The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania has also recently proposed amendments to rules regarding sentencing, including changes to timing for sentencing proceedings, and procedures for administrative resolution of disputes regarding facts or factors material to sentencing contained in the presentence investigation report.  The proposed changes by the Western District do not include any requirements that the government provide defendant’s counsel a copy of any documentary evidence provided to or considered by the probation officer in the preparation of presentence report.  The Western District has solicited comments upon the proposed rule changes.  Anyone interested in providing comments to the changes to the Western District must do so by November 23, 2012 by either email (rvb@pawd.uscourt.gov) or by mail to Clerk of Court.

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