Until recently, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Philadelphia usually provided criminal defendants with free copies of documents exchanged in discovery, demanding payment only in complex cases that involved thousands of documents. Those days are over, says The Legal Intelligencer.
A federal judge has upheld the new policy of charging for copies, finding it complies with the rules of criminal procedure and U.S. Supreme Court doctrine. U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell found that Rule 16 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure imposes “no affirmative duty on the government to pay for copying.” Tyree’s attorney, federal defender Benjamin Cooper, argued “there is no provision in the law for a party to demand an arbitrary fee for provision of discovery.” The budget of the Philadelphia U.S. Attorney’s office has been cut by 20 percent over three years. At first, the office planned to charge 25 cents per page. Because the federal Criminal Justice Act list copying charges as 10 cents a page, the U.S. Attorneys’s office agreed at a court hearing to cut the charges to that amount.