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United States v. Mara
United States Supreme Court
410 U.S. 19, 93 S. Ct. 774 (1973)
Richard J. Mara (defendant) was subpoenaed by a grand jury to produce handwriting exemplars on two separate occasions. Mara was informed that he was being investigated as a potential suspect involving interstate shipment thefts. Mara refused to provide the handwriting exemplars on both occasions. In response, the government (plaintiff) petitioned the district court to compel Mara to produce the handwriting exemplars. Mara objected on the ground that compelling him to submit the handwriting exemplars violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure. The district court rejected the claim that the grand-jury request violated Mara’s Fourth Amendment rights and ordered Mara to produce the handwriting exemplars. Mara refused. Mara was held in civil contempt and taken into custody. Mara appealed. The court of appeals reversed the district court’s judgment, holding that a grand jury’s request for physical evidence, such as handwriting exemplars, must be reasonable but that probable cause was not required. The matter was appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)
Dissent (Marshall, J.)
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