UNITED STATES V. BAGGOT, 463 U. S. 476 (1983)

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U.S. Supreme Court

United States v. Baggot, 463 U.S. 476 (1983)

United States v. Baggot

No. 81-1938

Argued March 2, 1983

Decided June 30, 1983

463 U.S. 476


Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(3)(C)(i) permits disclosure otherwise prohibited by Rule 6 of matters occurring before a grand jury "when so directed by a court preliminarily to or in connection with a judicial proceeding." Respondent was the target of a grand jury investigation of certain commodity futures transactions. He was never indicted, but, after plea negotiations, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor violations of the Commodity Exchange Act. Thereafter, the Government filed a motion under Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i) for disclosure of grand jury transcripts and documents to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for use in an audit to determine respondent's civil income tax liability. While holding that disclosure was not authorized by Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i), the District Court nevertheless allowed disclosure under its "general supervisory powers over the grand jury." The Court of Appeals reversed, agreeing that no disclosure is available under Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i), but holding that the District Court erred in granting disclosure under "general supervisory powers."

Held: The IRS's civil tax audit is not "preliminar[y] to or in connection with a judicial proceeding" within the meaning of Rule 6(e)(3)(C)(i), and hence no disclosure is available under that Rule. The Rule contemplates only uses related fairly directly to some identifiable litigation, pending or anticipated. It is not enough to show that some litigation may emerge from the matter in which the material is to be used. The focus is on the actual use to be made of the material. It follows that disclosure is not appropriate for use here in the IRS's audit, the purpose of which is not to prepare for or conduct litigation, but to assess the amount of tax liability through administrative channels. The fact that, if the audit discloses a deficiency, respondent may seek judicial redress in a redetermination proceeding in the Tax Court or in a refund action in the Court of Claims or a district court, without more, does not mean that the Government's action is "preliminar[y] to . . . a judicial proceeding." Pp. 463 U. S. 478-483.

662 F.2d 1232, affirmed.

BRENNAN, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which WHITE, MARSHALL, BLACKMUN, POWELL, REHNQUIST STEVENS, and O'CONNOR, JJ., joined. BURGER, C.J.,filed a dissenting opinion, post, p. 463 U. S. 483.

Page 463 U. S. 477

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