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End Of The Road For a Challenge To Rule 17(c)

Publisher: Law360
January 3, 2017
Day Pitney Author(s) Daniel E. Wenner

Dan Wenner wrote an article, "End Of The Road For a Challenge To Rule 17(c), " for Law360. In the article, Wenner discusses the federal court challenges that remain for criminal defendants to obtain third-party discovery in the wake of United States v. Rand. A criminal defendant, Michael Rand, sought to issue a subpoena under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c) to show he did not engage in securities fraud. The U.S. Attorney's Office relied on United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) and succeeded in quashing Rand's subpoena in the case. Wenner provides analysis of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which ruled in an issue of first impression, that the district court for the Western District of North Carolina properly used the Nixon test (established in Nixon) when it determined that the appellant's request for the subpoena should be quashed. Rand petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, which did not take up the case. "The challenges for criminal defendants in federal court to obtain third-party discovery continue in the wake of the Supreme Court's denial of Rand's petition," Wenner writes. "While criminal defendants' efforts are often frustrated by Nixon, the petition highlights some of the district courts that have been more receptive to allowing defendants to use Rule 17(c) to obtain documents."

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