Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Refusal to Quash Grand Jury Subpoenas Directed at Third Parties Is Not Immediately Appealable

United States v. Punn, No. 13-2780-cr (2d Cir. Dec. 6, 2013) (Pooler, Lynch, and Droney), available here

Today’s summary comes courtesy of Francisco Celedonio, a noted criminal defense attorney and member of the Federal Defenders’ Board of Directors:

Punn holds that an order denying a motion to quash grand jury subpoenas directed at third parties (on the ground that the subpoenas were issued solely to prepare for trial) is not immediately appealable.
A federal grand jury investigating Punn issued subpoenas seeking the testimony of Punn’s two adult children. The subpoenas were issued while Punn’s criminal case was at the motions stage. Punn moved to quash the subpoenas, arguing that they were issued for an improper purpose (assisting the government in its trial preparation). The district court denied the motion to quash, as well as a motion to reconsider, on the grounds that Punn lacked standing to raise constitutional issues of privilege on behalf of his adult children, and that he had failed to overcome the presumption that grand jury subpoenas are issued for proper purposes.
Punn immediately appealed, but the Circuit held that the order denying the motion to quash was not a final order and did not fall within the “collateral order” doctrine. Judge Lynch’s opinion for the Court noted that Punn could challenge at trial the use of any evidence improperly obtained via the grand jury process and could appeal any adverse ruling following a final judgment. Accordingly, the Court dismissed Punn’s interlocutory appeal.       

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