Monday, December 23, 2013

United States v. Dionisio case brief

United States v. Dionisio case brief summary
410 U.S. 1 (1973)

CASE SYNOPSIS
Certiorari was issued to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, to determine whether the compelled disclosure of voice exemplars before a grand jury was properly held to be a violation of U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV.

CASE FACTS
A grand jury was convened to investigate possible federal gambling crimes. Respondent was one of 20 witnesses subpoenaed by the grand jury.

DISCUSSION
  • The Court reversed the lower court's judgment and held that respondent's compulsory appearance before the grand jury was not an unreasonable seizure. 
  • Moreover, the grand jury's directive to make a voice recording did not infringe his rights under U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV
  • The Court stated that the obtaining of physical evidence from a person involved a potential violation of U.S. Constitutional Amendment IV at two different levels: first, the seizure of the person necessary to bring him into contact with government agents; second, the subsequent search for and seizure of the evidence. 
  • The Court found no constitutional violation with respect to the seizure of respondent, and distinguished the use of a grand jury subpoena from the unconstitutional dragnet methods of seizing suspects. 
  • Nor did the Court find any constitutional violation in taking a voice exemplar. 
  • The disclosure of a voice was immeasurably further removed from the Fourth Amendment protection than were other permissible bodily intrusions, such as the extraction of blood and fingerprints.

CONCLUSION
The Court reversed the judgment upon a finding that the subpoena to appear before a grand jury and directive to give a voice exemplar posed no unreasonable search and seizure in violation of respondent's rights.


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