Top 5 Ediscovery Case Summaries - December 2013: Michigan: Court Allows the Production of Police Report Metadata to Criminal Defendant


United States v. Tutt, 2013 WL 5707791 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 21, 2013).

In this criminal case, the court granted the defendant’s subpoena duces tecum for the production of the arresting officers’ personnel files, internal disciplinary records as well as the metadata related to the arresting officers’ police report. The plaintiffs claimed to have witnessed the defendant sitting in a specific seat of a stolen car under which they found a firearm. In addition, the plaintiffs assert that they overheard the defendant in his booking cell making incriminating statements to another suspect, after which one of the arresting officers simultaneously drafted a police report regarding these statements. The defendant denied making any such statements. Credibility looked to be a real issue for the plaintiffs – both arresting officers had been named in previous lawsuits – and the court granted the defendant’s motion for a subpoena of their personnel and internal disciplinary files. The court also considered the production of metadata, or ESI that describes the “history, tracking, or management of an electronic document.” The metadata in question concerned the police report wherein the arresting officer claimed to have heard the defendant making incriminating statements in his booking cell. The metadata would include information regarding “the author, date, and time of creation, and the date a document was modified.” The court determined that the metadata was not otherwise procurable in advance of trial, and thus granted the defendant’s motion for a subpoena of the metadata because it would corroborate the arresting officer’s claim that he overheard the defendant’s incriminating statements.