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United States v. Hubbell

United States Supreme Court
530 U.S. 27 (2000)


Facts

An independent counsel appointed in 1994 to investigate possible violations of federal law related to the Whitewater Development Corporation subpoenaed Webster Hubbell (defendant) in October 1996 to produce documents in eleven broad categories. Hubbell invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Thereafter, the prosecutor produced an order from the district court directing Hubbell to respond to the subpoena and granting him immunity “to the extent allowed by law.” Hubbell then produced 13,120 pages of documents and responded that these documents were all the documents in his control or custody that were responsive to the subpoena. On April 30, 1998, a grand jury indicted Hubbell for various tax-related crimes and mail and wire fraud. The district court dismissed the indictment because all the evidence the prosecution would offer against Hubbell derived from the testimonial aspects of respondent’s immunized act of producing the documents.  The court of appeals vacated and remanded for the district court to hold a hearing in which the prosecution should demonstrate with reasonable particularity a prior awareness that the documents sought in the subpoena existed and were in Hubbell’s possession. On remand, the independent counsel acknowledged that he could not satisfy the “reasonable particularity” standard and entered into a plea deal with Hubbell. The independent counsel then petitioned for a writ of certiorari to determine the scope of a grant of immunity with respect to the production of documents in response to a subpoena.

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Holding and Reasoning (Stevens, J.)

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Concurrence (Thomas, J.)

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