State v. Doliner

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
Writing for the CourtO'HERN
Citation475 A.2d 552,96 N.J. 236
Decision Date31 May 1984
PartiesSTATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent, v. Paul DOLINER, M.D., Anthony Todaro, Ph.D., Marlene Todaro and Central Jersey Mental Health Center, Inc., a New Jersey corporation, Defendants-Appellants.

Page 236

96 N.J. 236
475 A.2d 552
STATE of New Jersey, Plaintiff-Respondent,
v.
Paul DOLINER, M.D., Anthony Todaro, Ph.D., Marlene Todaro
and Central Jersey Mental Health Center, Inc., a
New Jersey corporation, Defendants-Appellants.
Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Argued Jan. 10, 1984.
Decided May 31, 1984.

[475 A.2d 555]

Page 241

Richard J. Schachter, Somerville for defendants-appellants Anthony Todaro, Ph.D., et al. (Schachter, Wohl, Cohn & Trombadore, Somerville, attorneys).

Douglas W. Hansen, Scotch Plains, for defendant-appellant Paul Doliner, M.D.

Michael Bozza, Deputy Atty. Gen., for plaintiff-respondent (Irwin I. Kimmelman, Atty. Gen., of New Jersey, attorney; Wayne J. Martorelli, Deputy Atty. Gen., of counsel and on the brief).

The opinion of the Court was delivered by

O'HERN, J.

This case concerns the standard that shall govern the disclosure of grand jury materials to government departments for use in civil prosecution. We hold that the standard is a strong showing of particularized need that outweighs the public interest in secrecy of the grand jury proceedings. We find that the record made before the trial court sustains its decision to release the records of the defendant medical providers, which were subpoenaed in connection with a Medicaid fraud investigation. However, the record requires a remand to evaluate the character of the other materials sought in order to apply the standard we adopt.

Page 242

In August 1978, the Attorney General's office instituted a criminal investigation into the business and affairs of New Jersey Center for Counseling and Psychotherapy (NJCCP), a private mental health institution, and its nonprofit subsidiary Central Jersey Mental Health Center, Inc. (CJMHC). NJCCP was owned and operated by defendant Anthony Todaro, Ph.D., a psychologist, who also served as executive director of CJMHC. Paul Doliner, M.D., a psychiatrist, was CJMHC's medical director, and Marlene Todaro served as financial director in both corporations. The investigation continued for approximately two years. Pursuant to subpoena, CJMHC, NJCCP, Doliner, and the Todaros furnished a voluminous number of original documents to the statewide grand jury investigating the matter. The documents were primarily the billing and patient records of the two corporations and their professional members. The defendants state that they cooperated fully with the Attorney General's office despite the great inconvenience to their business and personal affairs.

On June 3, 1980, in connection with the investigations, the grand jury indicted defendants CJMHC, Doliner, and the Todaros. NJCCP was not indicted. The case [475 A.2d 556] was assigned to Union County for trial pursuant to Rule 3:14-1(k).

Defendant CJMHC pleaded guilty to six counts of Medicaid fraud. The remaining counts against CJMHC as well as all counts against defendants Doliner, and the Todaros were dismissed.

On April 2, 1982, CJMHC was sentenced in Union County. At that time, defendants orally requested that the State return all defendants' documents since criminal proceedings were now terminated. This request was denied.

On April 26, 1982, defendants moved before the sentencing judge for return of all original records of NJCCP, CJMHC, Doliner, and the Todaros in the possession of the Attorney General.

Page 243

The State moved before the Mercer County judge assigned to the statewide grand jury under Rule 3:6-11(b) to retain the subpoenaed records and disclose them and the grand jury transcripts and exhibits to two divisions of the Attorney General's office (the Division of Law and the Division of Consumer Affairs), and to the Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services in the Department of Human Services. 1

On May 21, 1982, the sentencing judge declined to hear the merits of defendants' motion and ordered that both motions be heard by the judge in charge of statewide grand jury matters.

On June 11, 1982, that court granted the State's motion for disclosure of the records and the grand jury testimony and the defendants' motion for return of its records. It gave the State ninety-five days to examine and copy defendants' records and directed that at the end of that time they be returned. The order was stayed to permit appeal. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court on the basis of its oral opinion. We granted defendants' petition for certification. 94 N.J. 566, 468 A.2d 210 (1983).

I

Most discussions of grand jury issues begin with an attempt to penetrate the "long shadows of history [that] enshroud the

Page 244

precise moment when the first grand jury was established." In re Grand Jury Investigation of Cuisinarts, Inc., 665 F.2d 24, 27 (2d Cir.1981), cert. den. sub nom. Connecticut v. Cuisinarts, Inc., --- U.S. ----, 103 S.Ct. 1520, 75 L.Ed.2d 945 (1983); see Note, The Grand Jury: Powers, Procedures, and Problems, 9 Colum. J.L. & Soc. Probs. 681, 681-85 (1973); Helmholz, The Early History of the Grand Jury and the Canon Law, 50 U.Chi.L.Rev. 613 (1983). Commentators differ about the purpose and functions of a grand jury in a modern system of criminal justice: whether it is more appropriately viewed as a sword or shield. See Orfield, The Federal Grand Jury, 22 F.R.D. 343 (1959); Kaufman, The Grand Jury--Its Role and Its Powers, 17 F.R.D. 331 (1955); Note, 9 Colum.J.L. & Soc.Probs., supra.

We deal here with a state grand jury. For purposes of this appeal, then, we view the grand jury as it actually functioned--as a criminal investigative agency. The State Grand Jury Act, N.J.S.A. 2A:73A-1 to -9, contemplates a grand jury quite unlike traditional county grand juries: "It is a new weapon, or agency, created by the Legislature[475 A.2d 557] to enforce the criminal law * * *." State v. Zicarelli, 122 N.J.Super. 225, 235, 300 A.2d 154, (App.Div.), certif.den., 63 N.J. 252, 313 A.2d 793, cert. den., 414 U.S. 875, 94 S.Ct. 71, 38 L.Ed.2d 120 (1973).

The act authorizes the Supreme Court to promulgate rules and regulations necessary to govern the procedures of state grand juries. N.J.S.A. 2A:73A-3. We made our rules governing grand juries generally applicable to the state grand jury. R. 3:6-11(a). Those rules provide that except for disclosure to defendants under Rule 3:13-3 and Rule 3:17, "the requirement as to secrecy of proceedings of the grand jury shall remain as heretofore." R. 3:6-7.

Recently, in United States v. Sells Eng'g, Inc., 463 U.S. 418, 103 S.Ct. 3133, 77 L.Ed.2d 743 (1983), the Supreme Court reviewed the conditions under which attorneys and staff of the Civil Division of the Justice Department could obtain access to

Page 245

grand jury materials compiled with the assistance of other Justice Department attorneys. The Court held such action permissible only when the government moves for court-ordered disclosure under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 6(e)(3)(C)(i) and makes a strong showing of particularized need.

We note at the outset that the central controversy in Sells was whether the attorneys in the Civil Division were entitled to disclosure as a matter of right under Rule 6(e)(3)(A)(i), permitting disclosure of grand jury materials to "an attorney for the government for use in the performance of such attorney's duty." The Court held that rule was never intended to grant free access to grand jury materials to attorneys or staff not working on the criminal matters to which the materials pertain. --- U.S. at ---- - ----, 103 S.Ct. at 3140-42, 77 L.Ed.2d at 755-57. The Court expressed concern that "[i]f prosecutors in a given case knew that their colleagues would be free to use the materials generated by the grand jury for a civil case, they might be tempted to manipulate the grand jury's powerful investigative tools to root out additional evidence useful in the civil suit * * *." 463 U.S. at ----, 103 S.Ct. at 3142, 77 L.Ed.2d at 757. The Court saw such use as threatening the limits put on the Government's power of discovery and investigation outside the grand jury context. 463 U.S. at ----, 103 S.Ct. at 3142, 77 L.Ed.2d at 758. Accordingly, the Court interpreted Rule 6 as requiring that any disclosure to attorneys other than prosecutors be judicially supervised rather than automatic. 463 U.S. at ----, 103 S.Ct. at 3143, 77 L.Ed.2d at 759; see also Illinois v. Abbott & Assoc., Inc., 460 U.S. 557, 103 S.Ct. 1356, 75 L.Ed.2d 281 (1983) (Clayton Act provisions do not grant state attorney general special access to federal grand jury materials; disclosure must be judicially approved); In re Petition to Inspect and Copy Grand Jury Materials, 576 F.Supp. 1275 (S.D.Fla.1983) (court has inherent power to disclose to federally authorized judicial Special Investigating Committee investigating indicted but exonerated federal judge).

Page 246

Our rules make no provision for disclosure except in the two instances authorizing disclosure to defendants. R. 3:13-3; R. 3:17. In the absence of a governing rule or statute, we agree that disclosure to government attorneys other than prosecutors must be subject to court approval. 2 The standard we adopt is a strong showing of particularized need that outweighs the interest in grand jury secrecy. Government attorneys and agencies must make the same showing as civil litigants. 3 [475 A.2d 558] The public interest will be evaluated in weighing the need. The standard we adopt today is the Supreme Court's test and we conclude that since the principles that underlie federal and state grand jury secrecy are identical, and since our courts have previously looked to federal precedent for guidance, our standards should be harmonized where possible.

In order that our trial courts have guidance, we must give content to the phrase "strong showing of particularized need." Almost every court that has considered the issue of civil disclosure of grand jury materials has phrased the test in much the same way--one that balances the need for discovery of the materials against the interest of...

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30 practice notes
  • Rochinsky v. State, Dept. of Transp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 23, 1988
    ...We have repeatedly emphasized that the focus must always be on "the character of the materials sought to be disclosed." State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 248, 475 A.2d 552 (1984). Armed by the parties with a qualitative description of the materials, the trial court will be in a position to bal......
  • State v. Bell, A-58 September Term 2018
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • April 14, 2020
    ...trials." In re Application for Disclosure of Grand Jury Testimony, 124 N.J. 443, 449, 591 A.2d 614 (1991) (quoting State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 249, 475 A.2d 552 (1984) ). Further, a grand jury "must be free to pursue its investigations unhindered by external influence or supervision so l......
  • Dixon v. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 25, 1988
    ...We have repeatedly emphasized that the focus must always be on "the character of the materials sought to be disclosed." State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 248, 475 A.2d 552 (1984). Armed by the parties with a qualitative description of the materials, the trial court will be in a position to bal......
  • Grand Jury Subpoenas Duces Tecum Served by Sussex County Grand Jury on Farber, Matter of
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • January 24, 1989
    ...Proctor & Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677, 682, 78 S.Ct. 983, 986, 2 L.Ed.2d 1077, 1081 (1958) clearly impel this result. Cf. State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 241, 475 A.2d 552 (1984); State v. Arace Bros., 230 N.J.Super. 22, 36 n. 4, 552 A.2d 628 (App.Div.1989); River Edge Savings & Loan Ass'n. v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
31 cases
  • Rochinsky v. State, Dept. of Transp.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 23, 1988
    ...We have repeatedly emphasized that the focus must always be on "the character of the materials sought to be disclosed." State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 248, 475 A.2d 552 (1984). Armed by the parties with a qualitative description of the materials, the trial court will be in a position to bal......
  • State v. Bell, A-58 September Term 2018
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • April 14, 2020
    ...trials." In re Application for Disclosure of Grand Jury Testimony, 124 N.J. 443, 449, 591 A.2d 614 (1991) (quoting State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 249, 475 A.2d 552 (1984) ). Further, a grand jury "must be free to pursue its investigations unhindered by external influence or supervision so l......
  • Dixon v. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (New Jersey)
    • May 25, 1988
    ...We have repeatedly emphasized that the focus must always be on "the character of the materials sought to be disclosed." State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 248, 475 A.2d 552 (1984). Armed by the parties with a qualitative description of the materials, the trial court will be in a position to bal......
  • Grand Jury Subpoenas Duces Tecum Served by Sussex County Grand Jury on Farber, Matter of
    • United States
    • New Jersey Superior Court – Appellate Division
    • January 24, 1989
    ...Proctor & Gamble Co., 356 U.S. 677, 682, 78 S.Ct. 983, 986, 2 L.Ed.2d 1077, 1081 (1958) clearly impel this result. Cf. State v. Doliner, 96 N.J. 236, 241, 475 A.2d 552 (1984); State v. Arace Bros., 230 N.J.Super. 22, 36 n. 4, 552 A.2d 628 (App.Div.1989); River Edge Savings & Loan Ass'n. v. ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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