REINA V. UNITED STATES, 364 U. S. 507 (1960)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Reina v. United States, 364 U.S. 507 (1960)

Reina v. United States

No. 29

Argued November 7-8, 1960

Decided December 19, 1960

364 U.S. 507


While serving a sentence for a federal narcotics offense, petitioner was summoned before a federal grand jury and asked questions concerning his crime, particularly as to the persons involved with him and their activities in smuggling narcotics into this country from Europe. He invoked his privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment and refused to answer. Acting pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 1406, which grants immunity from prosecution to a witness compelled to testify before a grand jury, the United States Attorney, with the approval of the Attorney General, obtained a court order directing petitioner to testify. He again refused to do so, and was adjudged guilty of criminal contempt.

Held: the conviction is sustained. Pp. 364 U. S. 508-515.

1. The immunity provided by § 1406 covers state, as well as federal, prosecutions. P. 364 U. S. 510.

2. As so construed, § 1406 is constitutional, since the grant of immunity from state prosecution is necessary and proper to the more effective execution of the undoubted power of Congress to enact the narcotics laws. Pp. 364 U. S. 510-512.

3. The grant of immunity from future state and federal prosecution was at least coextensive with petitioner's constitutional privilege against self-incrimination, and it was not necessary that he be pardoned or granted amnesty covering the unserved portion of his sentence and his fine for the offense of which he had previously been convicted. Pp. 364 U. S. 512-514.

4. Since the District Court provided that petitioner's sentence to two years' imprisonment for criminal contempt should be vacated if petitioner should purge himself of his contempt by appearing before the grand jury and answering the questions within 60 days from the date of the judgment, and this Court construes the 60-day period as running from the effective date of this Court's

Page 364 U. S. 508

mandate, it is not necessary to pass on the questions whether the sentence was excessive or whether the conviction was invalid because the District Court did not advise petitioner of the extent of the immunity conferred by § 1406. Pp. 364 U. S. 514-515.

273 F.2d 234, affirmed.

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