Six-Week Continuance to Review 1.9 Million Documents in the ESI Production?
In the criminal case of U.S. v. Pomrenke, Case No. 15-CR-00033 (W.D. Va., December 10, 2015), the U.S. government made an enormous document and ESI production to defense counsel less than 45 days before trial. As a result, Defendant requested a continuance of over six months, as defense counsel needed more time to review the voluminous production, which consisted of over 1.9 million pages of documents, plus 49 audio recordings and two videos. The government opposed the continuance.
The court granted a continuance, but only for six weeks and not six months. The court considered Defendant’s right to a speedy trial as well as the volume of documents produced. The government noted that it produced everything it had and that not all the documents produced were relevant; it further noted that most of the documents were emails produced in searchable electronic format. Defense counsel countered that they would need to review every single document, and there simply was not enough time.
The court held that a continuance of only six weeks was sufficient. The judge opined that defense counsel would be able to review the ESI production “quickly” as the defense team consisted of three attorneys, one investigator, and Defendant’s husband, who had legal training and who the magistrate judge had previously ordered could review discovery.