Title VI – Depositions

Title VI expands Rule 15 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure to permit the Government to depose its witnesses in certain limited classes of cases. Previously only the defendant had been accorded this right. Upon the motion of either party at any time after a criminal indictment or information has been filed, the court may order that the testimony of the party’s witnesses be taken by deposition if “due to exceptional circumstances it is in the interest of justice” that such testimony be taken and preserved. Such exceptional circumstances were intended by Congress to include the existence of a substantial risk that the witness will die, become seriously ill, be killed or injured, hide or leave the jurisdiction, be kidnapped, bribed or improperly influenced. A motion by the Government must contain a certification by the Attorney General or his designee that the proceeding for which the deposition is taken is directed against a person believed to have participated in an organized criminal activity.