Federal court criminal charges white collar case

Asked 11 months ago - Chicago, IL

wondering if the following comment I heard someone make is somewhat factually accurate. if a defendant is charged in federal court by an information are the discovery rights more limited to the defense's counsel than if the defendant was charged by an indictment?

Attorney answers (11)

  1. Brian Thomas Dailey

    Contributor Level 11

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No that is not true.

  2. Melissa I. Smejkal

    Contributor Level 18

    8

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    Answered . That is false.

  3. Steven Andrew Kozicki

    Contributor Level 11

    8

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    Answered . Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure apply the same way.

  4. Drey Alan Cooley

    Contributor Level 7

    7

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    Answered . No. Same discovery rules.

    The information presented in this answer is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.... more
  5. Joseph Alexander Little IV

    Contributor Level 8

    7

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    Answered . No, as the other attorneys have said, that isn't true. Rule 16 will still apply to all discovery issues, as will common law rules like access to Brady information.

    But I think you may have misheard the comment. In general, defendants have a right to indictment by a grand jury. This means that, unless there are very unique circumstances, a defendant cannot be charged in federal court simply by the filing of an information -- without his or her consent. In other words, if someone has been, or is about to be, charged by way of information, that charging process was likely done as part of a plea agreement between the government and the defendant. It is certainly true, in that case, that the defendant may have agreed to not require the government to produce the same amount of discovery as might otherwise be necessary. So, in the end, the "discovery rights" are the same, but the practical impact is much different.

    Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. I provide this... more
  6. Aaron B. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 12

    4

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    Answered . The rules are the same but sometimes the US Attorneys provide "early discovery" in exchange for waiver of the preliminary hearing.

  7. Stephen F Wallace

    Contributor Level 19

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You are not correct. This forum is not created to take the place of the attorney representing the case for a defendant.

  8. Thomas G. Briody

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . While the discovery rules are the same, some AUSAs use the information process when the parties have already negotiated and there is a plea agreement already in place. In that circumstance, filing a discovery request is somewhat academic.

    The response I have provided is general in nature, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. My... more
  9. Alexander M. Ivakhnenko

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No, that is not legally accurate.

    DISCLAIMER The answer given above by the lawyer serves for educational purposes only and provides general... more
  10. Joshua Sabert Lowther

    Pro

    Contributor Level 17

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . Not legally, but practically. Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 16 prescribes the obligations of the parties in a criminal case regarding the discovery and inspection of evidence, regardless of whether the prosecution is initiated by an indictment or information. However, a felony prosecution may be initiated by an information only when the defendant consents: the defendant must waive his or her right to have a grand jury determine whether probable cause exists to indict. Therefore, a criminal prosecution proceeds by information usually after a plea agreement is reached between the defendant and the Government, but before the Government presents the case to a grand jury for indictment. In most of these cases, the parties reach an informal discovery agreement during the plea negotiation process, which may be broader or narrower that the requirements of Fed. R. Crim. P. 16.

    Joshua Sabert Lowther, Esq.
    NATIONAL FEDERAL DEFENSE GROUP
    jlowther@nationalfederaldefense.com
    http://www.NationalFederalDefense.com
    866.380.1782

  11. Daniel Aaron Horowitz

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Maybe the person was indicating that at trial, after a witness testifies, his/her grand jury testimony (leading to the Indictment) (but not before). With a preliminary hearing, the testimony is in your hands right away. Of course, that is the opposite of what you wrote but I'm trying to give credence to the person giving you the information - Kind of a long shot answer but it was fun to try and figure out the puzzle.

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