425 U.S. 564 (1976), 74-754, United States v. Mandujano

Docket Nº:No. 74-754
Citation:425 U.S. 564, 96 S.Ct. 1768, 48 L.Ed.2d 212
Party Name:United States v. Mandujano
Case Date:May 19, 1976
Court:United States Supreme Court

Page 564

425 U.S. 564 (1976)

96 S.Ct. 1768, 48 L.Ed.2d 212

United States



No. 74-754

United States Supreme Court

May 19, 1976

Argued No;ember 5, 1975




As a result of certain information concerning respondent's participation in an attempted sale of heroin, he was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury investigating narcotics traffic in the area. The prosecutor warned him that he was not required to answer any questions that might incriminate him, that all other questions had to be answered truthfully or else he would be subject to a charge of perjury, and that, if he desired a lawyer he could have one, but that the lawyer could not be inside the grand jury room. Subsequently, respondent was charged with perjury for admittedly false statements made to the grand jury about his involvement in the attempted heroin sale. The District Court granted respondent's motion to suppress his grand jury testimony because he was not [96 S.Ct. 1771] given the warnings called for by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436, holding that respondent was a "putative" or "virtual" defendant when called before the grand jury, and therefore entitled to full Miranda warnings. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: The judgment is reversed and the case is remanded. Pp. 571-584; 584-609; 609.

496 F.2d 1050, reversed and remanded.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE, joined by MR. JUSTICE WHITE, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST, concluded that Miranda warnings need not be given to a grand jury witness who is called to testify about criminal activities in which he may have been personally involved, and that therefore the failure to give such warnings is no basis for having false statements made to the grand jury suppressed in a subsequent prosecution of the witness for perjury based on those statements. Pp. 571-584.

MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, joined by MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL, concluded that, even when the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination is implicated, when false answers are given, the witness may consistently with the Fifth Amendment privilege be prosecuted for perjury; that, in the circumstances of this case, respondent's false answers were not induced by governmental tactics so unfair as to constitute prosecution for perjury a violation of the

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Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment; that, in the absence of a knowing waiver of the privilege against compulsory self-incrimination, the Fifth Amendment requires that testimony obtained by calling a putative defendant before a grand jury and compelling him to testify regarding the suspected crime be unavailable as evidence in a later prosecution for that crime; and that, given the potential prejudice to a putative defendant's privilege against compulsory self-incrimination when called and compelled to testify before a grand jury and the ability of counsel to help avoid that prejudice, some guidance by counsel is required. Pp. 584-609.

MR. JUSTICE STEWART, joined by MR. JUSTICE BLACKMUN, concluded that the Fifth Amendment privilege against compulsory self-incrimination did not require the suppression of the respondent's grand jury testimony, since that testimony was relevant only to his prosecution for perjury, and was not introduced in the prosecution for attempting to distribute heroin, and that this was not a case where it could plausibly be argued that the perjury prosecution must be barred because of prosecutorial conduct amounting to a denial of due process. P. 609.

BURGER, C.J., announced the Court's judgment and delivered an opinion, in which WHITE, POWELL, and REHNQUIST, JJ., joined. BRENNAN, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which MARSHALL, J., joined, post, p. 584. STEWART, J., filed an opinion concurring in the judgment, in which BLACKMUN, J., joined, post, p. 609. STEVENS, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of the case.

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BURGER, J., lead opinion

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE BURGER announced the judgment of the Court in an opinion in which MR. JUSTICE WHITE, MR. JUSTICE POWELL, and MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST join.

This case presents the question whether the warnings called for by Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), must be given to a grand jury witness who is called to testify about criminal activities in which he may have been personally involved; and whether, absent such warnings, false statements made to the grand jury must be suppressed in a prosecution for perjury based on those statements.


During the course of a grand jury investigation into narcotics traffic in San Antonio, Tex., federal prosecutors assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force learned of an undercover narcotics officer's encounter with respondent in March, 1973. At that time, the agent had received information that respondent, who [96 S.Ct. 1772] was employed as a bartender at a local tavern, was dealing in narcotics. The agent, accompanied by an informant, met respondent at the tavern and talked for several hours. During the meeting, respondent agreed to obtain heroin for the agent, and, to that end, placed several phone calls from the bar. He also requested and received $650 from the agent to make the purchase. Respondent left the tavern with the money so advanced to secure the heroin. However, an hour later, respondent returned to the bar without the narcotics and returned the agent's money. Respondent instructed the agent to telephone him at the bar that evening to make arrangements for the transaction. The agent tried, but was unable to contact respondent as directed. The record provides no explanation for respondent's failure to keep his appointment. No further action was taken by the agent, and the investigatory file on the matter

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was closed. The agent did, however, report the information to federal prosecutors. At that time, the Government was seeking information on local drug traffic to present to a special grand jury investigating illicit traffic in the area.

Respondent was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury on ay 2, 1973; this was approximately six weeks after the abortive narcotics transaction at the tavern where respondent was employed. When called into the grand jury room and after preliminary statements, the following colloquy occurred between the prosecutor and respondent:

Q. . . . Now, you are required to answer all the questions that I ask you except for the ones that you feel would tend to incriminate you. Do you understand that?

A. Do I answer all the questions you ask?

Q. You have to answer all the questions except for those you think will incriminate you in the commission of a crime. Is that clear?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. You don't have to answer questions which would incriminate you. All other questions you have to answer openly and truthfully. And, of course, if you do not answer those [questions] truthfully, in other words if you lie about certain questions, you could possibly be charged with perjury. Do you understand that?

A. Yes, sir.

* * * *

Q. Have you contacted a lawyer in this matter?

A. I don't have one. I don't have the money to get one.

Q. Well, if you would like to have a lawyer, he

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cannot be inside this room. He can only be outside. You would be free to consult with him if you so chose. Now, if during the course of this investigation, the questions that we ask you, if you feel like you would like to have a lawyer outside to talk to, let me know.

App. 5-6.

During the questioning respondent admitted that he had previously been convicted of distributing drugs, that he had recently used heroin himself, and that he had purchased heroin as recently as five months previously. Despite this admitted experience with San Antonio's heroin traffic, respondent denied knowledge of the identity of any dealers, save for a street corner source named Juan. Respondent steadfastly denied either selling or attempting to sell heroin since the time of his conviction 15 years before.

Respondent specifically disclaimed having discussed the sale of heroin with anyone during the preceding year and stated that he would not even try to purchase an ounce of heroin for $650. Respondent refused to amplify on his testimony when directly confronted by the prosecutor:

Q. Mr. Mandujano, our information is that you can tell us more about the heroin business here in San Antonio than you have today. Is there anything you would like to add telling us more about who sells heroin?

[96 S.Ct. 1773]

A. Well, sir, I couldn't help you because, you know, I don't get along with the guys and I just can't tell you, you know.

Following this appearance, respondent was charged by a grand jury on June 13, 1973, in a two-count indictment with attempting to distribute heroin in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 841(a)(1), 846, and for willfully and

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knowingly making a false material declaration to the grand jury in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1623.1 The falsity of his statements was conceded; his sole claim was that the testimony before the grand jury should be suppressed because the Government failed to provide the warnings called for by Miranda. Following an evidentiary hearing, the District Court granted respondent's motion to suppress. The court held that respondent was a "putative" or "virtual" defendant when called before the grand jury; respondent had therefore been entitled to full Miranda warnings. 365 F.Supp. 155 (WD Tex.1973).2

The Court of Appeals affirmed. 496 F.2d 1050 (CA5 1974). It recognized that certain warnings had, in fact, been given to respondent at the outset of his grand jury appearance. But the court agreed with the District Court that "full Miranda warnings should have been accorded Mandujano who was in the position of a virtual or putative defendant." Id. at 1052. The essence of the Court of Appeals' holding is:

In order to deter the...

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