United States v. Short

In United States v. Short, 777 F. Supp. 40 (D.D.C.1991) the police seized drugs under the floor mat of the driver's side of a car driven by defendant, Short, and in which co-defendant Green was a front-seat passenger. Id. at 41. In the station house, Short gave a signed statement to the police telling them where he had purchased the drugs and indicating that they did not belong to Green. Id. At the grand jury, the police officer testified that Short had admitted to knowing the drugs were in the car and that they were his drugs. Id. The officer was not asked any further questions about the other portion of Short's statement in which he exonerated Green. Finding the omitted testimony to be "substantial exculpatory evidence", the court dismissed the indictment as against Green. Id. at 42-43. In discussing the split among the federal circuits, the court concluded that the appropriate standard to be applied was that adopted by some circuits which required disclosure to the grand jury of evidence that clearly negates guilt, and noted that the government's presentation to the grand jury must be based upon the essential elements of the offense. Id. at 42.