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Joint Statement of Stuart E Schiffer and Victoria Toensing Before the House Subcommittee on Criminal Justice Concerning Grand Jury Reform HR 3340 on June 4, 1986

NCJ Number
S E Schiffer; V Toensing
Date Published
13 pages
Because U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 'Sells' (1983) and 'Baggot' have placed unnecessary restrictions on Government attorneys' use of grand jury information and frustrated civil and administrative law enforcement, the Reagan administration has proposed an amendment (H.R. 3340) to Rule 6(e) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.
The impact of 'Sells' and 'Baggot' is to prevent the grand jury prosecutor from providing civil Justice Department attorneys or agency authorities with sufficient information to determine whether potential law violations should be investigated. Should civil attorneys or agencies suspect law violations based on nongrand jury information, the investigation, which excludes access to potentially important evidence, may be needlessly long, costly, and perhaps ineffective. The proposed administration amendments will permit disclosure of grand jury materials to Justice Department attorneys for civil purposes without a court order. They will also expand the types of proceedings for which other executive departments and agencies may gain court-authorized disclosure of grand jury proceedings. Also, the standard for court-authorized disclosure would be reduced from 'particularized need' to 'substantial need.'