Criminal Discovery of Jencks Witness Statements: Timing Makes a Difference

57 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2009

See all articles by Ellen S. Podgor

Ellen S. Podgor

Stetson University College of Law

Date Written: November 22, 1999


This article, written in 1999, reflects on the timing of federal criminal discovery, specifically witness statements held by prosecutors. It initially examines the Jencks case, the Jencks Act, and Rule 26.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure. It describes a survey conducted by the author that examined practice throughout the United States in providing Jencks material to defense counsel in federal criminal cases. Although it was found that most prosecutors provide materials to the defense in advance of the witness testifying, the survey also showed the lack of uniformity in the discovery process. The defense is placed at a serious disadvantage, especially in white collar cases, when they receive discovery late in the trial. This article argues that in order for the prosecution and defense to be “fairly evenly matched,” the discovery process needs to be opened.

Keywords: criminal discovery, Jencks, witness statements, federal criminal procedure

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Podgor, Ellen S., Criminal Discovery of Jencks Witness Statements: Timing Makes a Difference (November 22, 1999). Georgia State University Law Review, Vol. 15, pp. 651-707, 1999. Available at SSRN:

Ellen S. Podgor (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States
727 562 7348 (Phone)


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