Substantial Government Interference with Prosecution Witnesses: The Ninth Circuit’s Decision in United States v. Juan

On January 7, 2013, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued its decision in United States v. Juan.  As a matter of first impression, the Ninth Circuit held that the constitutional proscription on substantial governmental interference with defense witnesses also applies to prosecution witnesses.  By extending the “substantial interference” rule to prosecution witnesses, Juan fundamentally, albeit implicitly, recognized a Sixth Amendment Confrontation Clause aspect of the “substantial interference” rule. Moreover, future application of Juan may require that courts consider the propriety of a factfinder receiving evidence about any governmental actions that potentially caused a prosecution witness to “alter” his or her testimony. Ultimately, given the strong potential of Juan-type situations to occur in future prosecutions, courts will have ample opportunity to further analyze and refine the Juan rule’s prohibition on substantial govern-mental interference with prosecution witnesses.

Ruth A. Moyer, Substantial Government Interference with Prosecution Witnesses: The Ninth Circuit’s Decision in United States v. Juan, 98 Minn. L. Rev. Headnotes 22 (2013).

:: View PDF

De Novo

  • Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte

    EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit.[1] Although the case presented many serious [...]

  • Revisiting Water Bankruptcy

    REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself[1]—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water [...]

  • Defying Auer Deference

    DEFYING AUER DEFERENCE: SKIDMORE AS A SOLUTION TO CONSERVATIVE CONCERNS IN PEREZ v. MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION Nicholas R. Bednar, Volume 100, Lead Articles Editor* On March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association.[1] The Court overturned the D.C. [...]