4 Trial Judges J. 1 (1965)

handle is hein.journals/judgej4 and id is 1 raw text is: 8  8  0  0-  0-  0  0 0  8  - -  8  0 -  0  0

PRE-SENTENCE INVESTIGATION
REPORTS: PUBLIC, PRIVATE OR
CONFIDENTIAL?
By JUDGE THEODORE B. KNUDSON*
District Court, Minneapolis
Many members of the bench and bar are against
any disclosure of pre-sentence reports. One reason for
this attitude may be that expressed in People v. Riley,
33 N.E. (2) 872, where the Illinois court said of the
convicted defendants: After a plea of guilty . . . instead
of being clothed with a presumption of innocence, they
are naked criminals, hoping for mercy but entitled only
to justice.
Also, there is the almost universal argument by pro-
bation officers that they would be unable to insure in-
formants that their identities
or information disclosed
would be withheld from the
defendant. Unless confiden-
tiality can be insured, sources
of information may dry up,
because in some cases the
source of information is ob-
vious, as where only close
relatives could have given
the information, and some-
times sources are afraid of
Judge Theodore B. Knudson  retaliation from the defen-
dant or his friends. For these and other reasons the ban
on disclosure has been accepted in most jurisdictions.
Some jurisdictions have been unwilling to accept the
ban. The judges vary in their practices regarding dis-
closure. Some allow only counsel to see the reports; some
do not allow the reports to be seen in all cases; and some
make the reports available, while concealing the identity
of some of the informants. Rule 32(c) of the Federal
Rules of Criminal Procedure gives the court discretion to
disclose information in the pre-sentence report, and the
following states give access to the report or give the
defendant or his counsel the right to see it: Arizona,
California, Idaho, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota,
Oklahoma, Oregon, Utah, Connecticut, and Alabama.
Only Kentucky specifically denies the right of access.
Section 4 of the Model Sentencing Act provides that the
judge may make the investigation report available to
the defendant or others, and may conceal the identity of
those who provided confidential information. Where the
defendant is to be sentenced for murder or as a dangerous
offender, the judge shall make the report available to
counsel and the defendant, and the defendant shall be
* Member of faculty, NCSTJ.
(Continued on page 7)

THE BENCH LOOKS AT THE FREE
PRESS-FAIR TRIAL ISSUE
By JUDGE GERALD S. LEVIN
Superior Court, San Francisco
News coverage of recent criminal cases of national
significance, such as the trial of Jack Ruby in Dallas,
Texas, has underscored the importance of cooperative
effort of bench, bar and news media in resolving serious
conflicts between freedom of the press provided for in
Article I, and fair trial in all criminal prosecutions pro-
vided for in Article VI of the Bill of Rights. Membership
of judges on a committee of bench, bar and news media,
organized to adjust differences in viewpoints regarding
the publication of news of the arrest of the accused and
trial proceedings, would be in the interests of the ad-
ministration of justice and would reflect credit upon the
judiciary. Representatives of the press and bar recognize
that they also have an equal responsibility to preserve
inviolate the safeguards of a fair trial and at the same
time to uphold the freedom of the press.
There have been demands for voluntary action, gov-
ernment regulation, legislation, court rules and other mea-
sures to properly balance our concept of freedom of the
press and fair trial. As a result of the activity of repre-
sentatives of the bench, bar, news media and the public,
progressive action has been taken that forecasts greater
order in the future.
Perhaps foremost among the cooperative endeavors
to reach a fair solution of the problem are the Massa-
chusetts Guide for the Bar and News Media, and the
Oregon Bar Press Broadcasters Joint Statement of
Principles. The Massachusetts Guide was prepared by
a special bar-press committee established in the fall of
(Continued on page 5)
EXTRA COPIES OF JOURNAL
AVAILABLE
Additional copies of this issue of the Journal will be
available to those desiring them in quantities up to 50
copies as long as the supply lasts. Requests for addi-
tional copies will be filled in order of their receipt at the
Chicago office.
David R. Kochery, Executive for the Section of Judi-
cial Administration reports that the possibility of fur-
nishing reprints of articles that appear in the Journal
is now being explored.
Requests for extra copies should be addressed to:
National Conference of State Trial Judges
American Bar Association
1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637

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