Wednesday, December 18, 2013

In re Grand Jury case brief

In re Grand Jury case brief summary
103 F.3d 1140 (3d Cir. 1997)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant, the target of a grand jury investigation, sought review of judgment of the District Court of the Virgin Islands that denied his motion to quash a grand jury subpoena issued to his father. Another appellant, also the target of a grand jury investigation, sought review of a judgment of the United States District Court for the District of the Delaware that denied his motion to quash a subpoena issued to his daughter.

CASE FACTS
Appellant, the target of a grand jury investigation, filed a motion to quash a subpoena issued to his daughter. In a separate case, another appellant, also the target of a grand jury investigation, attempted to quash a subpoena issued to his father. In both cases, the court declined to recognize a parent-child privilege and denied the motions.

DISCUSSION

  • On appeal, the court affirmed. 
  • The overwhelming majority of all courts, federal or state, rejected such a privilege.
  • Reason and experience dictated that federal courts should refuse to recognize a privilege rejected by the vast majority of jurisdictions. 
  • In addition, such a privilege failed to meet two of the conditions under the four-factor formula to establish a privilege. 
  • Confidentiality was not essential to a successful parent-child relationship, and any injury to the parent-child relationship resulting from non-recognition of such a privilege would be relatively insignificant. 
  • The legislature, not the judiciary, was institutionally better equipped to perform the balancing of the competing policy issues required in deciding whether the recognition of a parent-child privilege was in the best interests of society.

CONCLUSION
The court affirmed the judgments that denied appellants' motions to quash subpoenas issued to family members and declined to recognize a parent-child privilege. The majority of courts rejected such a privilege, and a parent-child privilege failed to meet two prongs of the four-part test. Confidentiality was not essential to the relationship and any injury to the relationship based on non-recognition of the privilege would be insignificant.

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