489 F.2d 682 (5th Cir. 1974), 72-3153, United States v. Malnik

Docket Nº:72-3153.
Citation:489 F.2d 682
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America and Carl Rosen, Revenue Agent of the Internal Revenue Service, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Alvin I. MALNIK, Defendant-Appellee.
Case Date:February 08, 1974
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 682

489 F.2d 682 (5th Cir. 1974)

UNITED STATES of America and Carl Rosen, Revenue Agent of the Internal Revenue Service, Plaintiffs-Appellants,

v.

Alvin I. MALNIK, Defendant-Appellee.

No. 72-3153.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

February 8, 1974

Page 683

Robert W. Rust, U.S. Atty., Mervyn L. Ames, Asst. U.S. Atty., Miami, Fla., Scott P. Crampton, Asst. Atty. Gen., Meyer Rothwacks, John A. Townsend, Attys., Tax Div., Dept. of Justice, Washington, D.C., for plaintiffs-appellants.

E.S. Corlett, III, Miami, Fla., Harvey M. Silets, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellee.

Before WISDOM, DYER and INGRAHAM, Circuit Judges.

INGRAHAM, Circuit Judge:

This is an appeal from an order of the district court dismissing a petition to

Page 684

enforce an Internal Revenue Service summons issued under 26 U.S.C. § 7602. 1

The summons was issued on March 16, 1971, by Carl K. Rosen, an Internal Revenue Agent, to taxpayer Alvin I. Malnik, requiring him to give testimony and produce books and records 2 for the investigation of his tax liability for the years 1959, 1960, 1962 and 1963. Mr. Malnik was scheduled to appear before Agent Rosen on March 29, 1971, but the appearance date was postponed twice. Finally, Mr. Malnik's attorney, Harvey M. Silets, conferred with the Assistant Regional Counsel for the Internal Revenue Service, and it was mutually agreed that taxpayer Malnik would not appear personally at all. Instead, the Internal Revenue Service agreed to accept a written statement signed by taxpayer Malnik and his attorney to the effect that, had taxpayer personally appeared, 'he would have asserted his appropriate constitutional privileges to all relevant and material questions propounded to him and to the production of such of the records therein enumerated in his possession.' On the basis of this letter, the Internal Revenue Service did not require taxpayer to appear or to produce books and records under the summons. More than seven months after this mutual agreement, however, on December 7, 1971, the Internal Revenue Service filed a petition to enforce the summons. Although the district court first ordered compliance with the summons, on rehearing the court denied enforcement and dismissed the petition.

The following issues are presented on appeal: (1) whether the mutual agreement between the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayer Malnik constitutes a 'blanket' refusal to answer questions based on the Fifth Amendment, and (2) whether the district court properly sustained taxpayer's Fifth Amendment objection to produce the requested books and records.

Page 685

Although we disagree with the reasons underlying the district court's disposition of this case, we affirm.

I.

In Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 71 S.Ct. 814, 95 L.Ed. 1118 (1951), the Supreme Court enunciated the standard for measuring when a witness may properly claim his right against self-incrimination, and thus refuse to respond to questioning.

'. . . To sustain the privilege, it need only be evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result. The trial judge in appraising the claim 'must be governed as much by his personal perception of the peculiarities of the case as by the facts actually in evidence.''

Id., at 486-487; see United States v. Coffey, 198 F.2d 438, 440 (3rd Cir., 1952). A proper application of this standard implicitly requires that specific questions be propounded by the investigating body, and the claim of the right against self-incrimination must be claimed in response to each. A 'blanket' refusal to answer all questions is unacceptable. United States v. Ponder, 475 F.2d 37, 39 (5th Cir., 1973); United States v. Ellsworth, 460 F.2d 1246, 1248 (9th Cir. 1972); Capitol Products Corp. v. Hernon, 457 F.2d 541, 542-543 (8th Cir., 1972); United States v. Roundtree, 420 F.2d 845, 852 (5th Cir., 1969). See also United States v. Johnson, 465 F.2d 793, 796 (5th Cir., 1972); Wright & Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 2018, at 142 (1970). Thus a subject of a subpoena should appear before the interrogating officer and under oath specifically claim his constitutional rights as to particular questions while answering others not presenting a threat of self-incrimination. See United States v. Ellsworth, supra, 460 F.2d at 1248; United States v. Bell, 448 F.2d 40, 42 (9th Cir., 1971); Daly v. United States, 393 F.2d 873, 877-878 (8th Cir., 1968); United States v. Terry, 362 F.2d 914, 917 (6th Cir., 1966); United states v. Harmon, 339 F.2d 354, 359 (6th Cir., 1964), cert. den. 380 U.S. 944, 85 S.Ct. 1025, 13 L.Ed.2d 963; In re Turner, 309 F.2d 69, 71 (2nd Cir., 1962); Landy v. United states, 283 F.2d 303, 304 (5th Cir., 1960); United states v. Solon, 294 F.Supp. 880, 882 (E.D.N.Y., 1968), aff'd 405 F.2d 1211, 1212 (2nd Cir., 1968). On the basis of a record thus established, a reviewing court could scrutinize this record and determine whether the witness is mistaken in his claim "and that the answers cannot possibly have such tendency' to incriminate.' Hoffman v. United States, supra, 341 U.S. at 488, quoting Temple v. Commonwealth, 75 Va. 892, 898 (1881).

Malnik first contends that the mutuality of the agreement with the Internal Revenue Service is different from one party's unilateral objection to answer all questions, and thus under these unique facts no blanket...

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64 practice notes
  • 637 F.2d 293 (5th Cir. 1981), 78-2536, United States v. Wyatt
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • 17 Febrero 1981
    ...a District Court's determination that a summons is overbroad or unclear may generally be within its province, United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682, 686 (5th Cir. 1974); Dunn v. Ross, 356 F.2d 664, 667 (5th Cir. 1966), such a finding in this case was The Supreme Court, this Circuit, and oth......
  • 492 F.Supp. 35 (N.D.Tex. 1979), CA 3-78-1002, United States v. Lipshy
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 5th Circuit Northern District of Texas
    • 25 Septiembre 1979
    ...Mr. Lipshy's testimony or production of records as requested in the summons. Page 39 Mr. Lipshy relies upon United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 826, 95 S.Ct. 44, 42 L.Ed.2d 50 (1974), as authority for dismissal of the petition due to waiver by the govern......
  • 507 F.2d 1213 (5th Cir. 1975), 74-1914, United States v. Gomez-Rojas
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • 10 Febrero 1975
    ...testify for fear of self-incrimination will not suffice to invoke the privilege, Page 1220 see United States v. Malnik, 5 Cir. 1974, 489 F.2d 682; the mechanism of the Fifth Amendment is not automatic or self-winding. Accordingly, the custom is for the trial judge to examine the protesting ......
  • 298 N.W.2d 405 (Wis.App. 1980), 79-1924, State v. Beno
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Septiembre 1980
    ...for criminal prosecution may be postponed while an investigation continues solely in aid of prosecution. [7] See United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682, 685 (5th Cir.), cert. denied 419 U.S. 826, 95 S.Ct. 44, 42 L.Ed.2d 50 (1974), for the manner in which a taxpayer may claim that an Internal......
  • Free signup to view additional results
63 cases
  • 637 F.2d 293 (5th Cir. 1981), 78-2536, United States v. Wyatt
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • 17 Febrero 1981
    ...a District Court's determination that a summons is overbroad or unclear may generally be within its province, United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682, 686 (5th Cir. 1974); Dunn v. Ross, 356 F.2d 664, 667 (5th Cir. 1966), such a finding in this case was The Supreme Court, this Circuit, and oth......
  • 492 F.Supp. 35 (N.D.Tex. 1979), CA 3-78-1002, United States v. Lipshy
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States District Courts 5th Circuit Northern District of Texas
    • 25 Septiembre 1979
    ...Mr. Lipshy's testimony or production of records as requested in the summons. Page 39 Mr. Lipshy relies upon United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 419 U.S. 826, 95 S.Ct. 44, 42 L.Ed.2d 50 (1974), as authority for dismissal of the petition due to waiver by the govern......
  • 507 F.2d 1213 (5th Cir. 1975), 74-1914, United States v. Gomez-Rojas
    • United States
    • Federal Cases United States Courts of Appeals Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
    • 10 Febrero 1975
    ...testify for fear of self-incrimination will not suffice to invoke the privilege, Page 1220 see United States v. Malnik, 5 Cir. 1974, 489 F.2d 682; the mechanism of the Fifth Amendment is not automatic or self-winding. Accordingly, the custom is for the trial judge to examine the protesting ......
  • 298 N.W.2d 405 (Wis.App. 1980), 79-1924, State v. Beno
    • United States
    • Wisconsin Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • 19 Septiembre 1980
    ...for criminal prosecution may be postponed while an investigation continues solely in aid of prosecution. [7] See United States v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682, 685 (5th Cir.), cert. denied 419 U.S. 826, 95 S.Ct. 44, 42 L.Ed.2d 50 (1974), for the manner in which a taxpayer may claim that an Internal......
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1 books & journal articles
  • The IRS and their pesky summonses: a primer on enforcement and common defenses.
    • United States
    • Florida Bar Journal Vol. 90 Nbr. 10, December 2016
    • 1 Diciembre 2016
    ...(81) Oklahoma Press Pub. Co. v. Walling, 327 U.S. 186 (1946). (82) U.S. v. Harrington, 388 F.2d 520 (2d Cir. 1968). (83) U.S. v. Malnik, 489 F.2d 682 (5th Cir. 1974). (84) U.S. v. Humble Oil and Refining Co., 488 F.2d 953 (5th Cir. 1974), aff'd on rehearing, 518 F.2d 747 (5th Cir. 1975). (8......