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United States v. Koerber

United States District Court, D. Utah, Central Division

August 21, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
CLAUD R. KOERBER, Defendant.

          Frederic Block District Judge.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          PAUL M. WARNER CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         District Judge Frederic Block has referred this case to Chief Magistrate Judge Paul M. Warner pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A).[1] Before the court is the United States of America's (“USA”) motion to allow testimony and documents of Adoption Center of Choice.[2]

         INTRODUCTION

         According to the USA, Don Hansen (“Mr. Hansen”) and Teresa Tuttle Ringger (“Ms. Ringger”) were employees of Adoption Center of Choice at the time of the adoption of two of Claud R. Koerber's (“Defendant”) children. In its motion, the USA seeks several court orders. First, the USA seeks a court order allowing the disclosure and use at trial of certain redacted documents that relate to the relevant adoption proceedings (“Documents”). The USA argues that the Documents are relevant to the tax evasion charges against Defendant.

         Second, the USA moves the court for an order allowing at trial the testimony of Mr. Hansen and Ms. Ringger, without regard to the obligations imposed upon those two individuals by the Utah Adoption Act. See Utah Code §§ 78B-6-101 to -146. The USA contends that Mr. Hansen is expected to lay the foundation for the Documents, and Ms. Ringger is anticipated to testify about Defendant's representations concerning his income and assets. As with the Documents, the USA asserts that the anticipated testimony is relevant to the tax evasion charges against Defendant.

         Finally, the USA seeks a court order stating that any past testimony in this case concerning the relevant adoption proceedings was not in violation of the Utah Adoption Act. The court will address the USA's requests in turn.

         ANALYSIS

         I. Documents

         The USA seeks a court order allowing the disclosure and use at trial of the Documents. The USA argues that the Documents are relevant to the tax evasion charges against Defendant. In relevant part, the Utah Adoption Act provides:

(1) Information maintained or filed with the office under this chapter may not be disclosed except as provided by this chapter, or pursuant to a court order.
(2) Any person who discloses information obtained from the office's voluntary adoption registry in violation of this part, or knowingly allows that information to be disclosed in violation of this chapter is guilty of a class A misdemeanor.

Utah Code § 78B-6-145(1)-(2). The Utah Adoption Act further provides that adoption documents and any other documents filed in connection with an adoption petition are sealed. See Utah Code § 78B-6-141(2). At the same time, the Utah Adoption Act states that such documents may be open to inspection and copying “upon order of the court expressly permitting inspection and copying, after good cause has been shown.” Utah Code § 78B-6-141(3)(c).

         Defendant objects to the USA's request to use the Documents at trial by arguing that the USA's claim of relevance is unsupported and that the USA has not shown good cause to ...


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