Monday, December 23, 2013

In re January 1976 Grand Jury (Genson) case brief

In re January 1976 Grand Jury (Genson) case brief summary
534 F.2d 719 (1976)

Appellant attorney challenged the order of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois finding him in civil contempt and confining him until he provided the testimony sought by the grand jury in a criminal case.

Appellant attorney was given the proceeds of a robbery by an employee and asserted the attorney-client privilege as a basis for refusing to answer the FBI's inquiries. The attorney was served with a subpoena requesting production of all money given to him by the employee and ordered to appear before a grand jury. The attorney failed to comply with the subpoena or to answer any questions pertaining to his receipt of the money and also asserted a U.S. Constitutional Amendment V privilege against self-incrimination on behalf of a client and the U.S. Constitutional Amendment VI right to counsel. After refusing to comply with a court order, the district court entered a finding of contempt and ordered the attorney confined.


  • On appeal, the court concluded that the money itself was non-testimonial and that its delivery was not assertive conduct, therefore the privilege against self-incrimination was not applicable. 
  • Because payment and the money itself fell outside the scope of attorney-client privilege, that assertion was not viable. 
  • A claim of deprivation of right of counsel was too premature because he had not yet been placed in the position of being a source of evidence against his client, the employee.

The court affirmed the district court's order of the attorney's confinement.

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