Brief Fact Summary. The defendant, Webster Hubbell (the “defendant”), asserted his privilege against self incrimination when he was subpoenaed to produce documents. The government granted him immunity but then proceeded to use the documents to obtain an indictment against him from the Grand Jury.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The government may not make derivative use of the testimonial act inherent in the production of documents to obtain an indictment of the subpoenaed individual.
Deferential review of mixed questions of law and fact is warranted when it appears that the district court is better positioned than the appellate court to decide the issue in question or that probing appellate scrutiny will not contribute to the clarity of legal doctrine.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the Fifth Amendment constitutional privilege against compelled self-incrimination and 18 U.S.C Section:6002 allows a witness to withhold disclosure of incriminating documents that the Government is unable to describe with reasonable particularity?
Held. The constitutional privilege against self-incrimination protects the target of a grand jury investigation from being compelled to answer questions designed to elicit information about the existence of sources of potentially incriminating evidence without first obtaining immunity under 18 U.S.C. Section:6002.
Concurrence. In analyzing the meaning of the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution (“Constitution”) at the time of the founding, Justice Clarence Thomas (“J. Thomas”) found historical evidence for the proposition that the privilege against self incrimination applied to the production of all incriminating evidence, not just to the production of incriminating testimony, based on the old definition of a witness as someone who produced evidence, not just someone who testified in open court.
Discussion. Because the act of production carries with it a testimonial quality, in that the witness must attest to the fact that he has possession of the documents, and that they are accurate, and a complete response to the subpoena, a subsequent indictment would be using that testimony to produce additional evidence in violation of the use immunity granted under federal statute.