Tuesday, November 5, 2013

In Re Sealed Case No. 99-3091 case brief

In Re Sealed Case No. 99-3091 case brief summary
192 F.3d 995 (1999)

The Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) sought summary reversal of United States District Court for District of Columbia show cause order why OIC should not be held in contempt for violating grand jury secrecy rule, Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e), and appointing federal justice department prosecutor in criminal contempt proceeding.

During President Clinton's impeachment trial, the New York Times published an article captioned "Starr is Weighing Whether to Indict Sitting President." The White House sought a show cause order why the Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) should not be held in contempt for disclosing grand jury material in violation of Fed. R. Crim. P. 6(e), pointing to several excerpts from the article as evidence of OIC's violations of the secrecy rule. OIC noted the article contained confidential internal OIC information, but maintained the information was not protected by Rule 6(e). The district court disagreed, concluding the article revealed grand jury material and constituted a prima facie violation of Rule 6(e).

The appellate court reversed and remanded for dismissal, holding the public disclosures of internal deliberations of OIC prosecutors that did not directly reveal grand jury proceedings did not violate Rule 6(e) as they did not "occur before the grand jury."


  • Reversed and remanded to dismiss contempt proceedings against Office of Independent Counsel (OIC), as excerpt from New York Times article was not prima facie rule violation.Disclosure that group of OIC prosecutors "believed" indictment should be brought at end of impeachment proceedings did not violate rule.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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