United States v. Mechanik
United States Supreme Court
457 U.S. 66 (1986)
Mechanik and Lill (defendants) were charged with drug-related offenses and conspiracy. The grand jury returned a superseding indictment that broadened the conspiracy charge. After the trial began, Mechanik and Lill discovered that the expanded conspiracy charge was based on the sworn testimony of two law enforcement agents who appeared together before the grand jury. Mechanik and Lill moved to dismiss the indictment on the ground that the simultaneous grand jury appearance of the two agents violated Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(d). The motion was denied, taken under advisement when a new judge took over, and then denied after the jury returned a verdict of guilty because the Rule 6(d) violation had not harmed Mechanik and Lill. Mechanik and Lill appealed. A divided panel of the court of appeals reversed the conspiracy convictions and dismissed the conspiracy part of the superseding indictment as tainted by the 6(d) violation. A divided en banc court affirmed the panel’s decision. The government (plaintiff) and Mechanik and Lill filed for petitions for a writ of certiorari. The petitions were granted.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rehnquist, J.)
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