Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Defendant's 6th Amendment Rights Not Violated by Denial of Access to Classified Material

United States v. Lustyik, 2016 WL 4275592 (10th Cir. 2016) (published) – The Court rejects Mr. Lystyk’s claim that his Sixth Amendment rights were violated when his counsel was denied access to classified materials for use at sentencing. Mr. Lustyk, a former FBI agent, failed to explain what material he needed or show how it would have helped. Counsel, who had requested and been denied time to obtain a security clearance, was given more than a million pages of unclassified documents before sentencing and Mr. Lustyik was able to review almost 7000 pages of classified material. The government said it would not base sentencing arguments on classified material. The district court reviewed the confidential material and did not abuse its discretion in determining the material was not relevant for sentencing. Furthermore, the Classified Information Procedures Act does not provide a freestanding right to classified information. The court remanded for clarification of the sentence clarification because two of the eleven counts carried a 5-year maximum sentence and it was unclear from the judgment whether the district court intended the imposed 120-month sentence to apply to each of the eleven counts.