Wednesday, January 18, 2017


Stopping a federal grand jury subpoena may be made based on a showing of either a technical or a substantive error made by the federal prosecutor. This is done by enumerating the failure in a Motion to Quash the Grand Jury Subpoena made by the federal defense lawyer.

The Motion to Quash may be include one or more of the following seven defects:

1. A showing that the grand jury term has expired. This would mean that the grand jury was not actually legally authorized to conduct the hearing at the time the hearing took place.

2. A showing that the grand jury has an inappropriate mixture of citizens. For example, if it can be proven that the creation of the grand jury resulted from a systematic exclusion of minority citizens.

3.  A showing that the grand jury was created within a framework of bias or taint from inappropriate reaction to news media accounts of the incident in question. 

4.  A showing that the grand jury relied on information it should not have had access to during its deliberations. For example, establishing that a grand juror used google searches during the course of deliberations to learn information that went beyond the scope of the prosecutor's grand jury presentation.

5. A showing that the grand jury used inappropriate or illegally obtained information during the course of its deliberations. Typically this would involve the federal prosecutor submitting unlawfully obtained documents, email, encrypted files based on a password or business records which the DEA or FBI gained access to without first procuring a proper search warrant that was based on trustworthy facts.

6. A showing that the grand jury was subjected to the actions of a renegade prosecutor who used the grand jury as a fishing expedition thru myriad unjustified subpoenas and request for documents, emails or business records.

7. A showing that the grand jury heard evidence from a source which was later found to be excludable. For example, the grand jury hears evidence from a witness who lacked competency to testify to the given facts.

8. A showing that the grand jury lacked jurisdiction or venue. It makes sense that the grand jury, just like the case itself must be connected to the community in which it seeks to indict one or more of the members of that community. For example, in a federal drug case you'd expect some connection of the allegations to the place where the grand jury is meeting (though one might hope not in the very room where they meet).

As you can see proving one or more of these examples is easier said than done. However, if you or a family member has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Middle District of Florida it's important to find a criminal defense attorney with federal experience to examine all of the possible defects that may have occurred well before the case is set for trial.

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