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Under Seal v. United States

United States Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

June 16, 2014

UNDER SEAL, Petitioner - Appellee,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Respondent - Appellant

Argued, May 15, 2014.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, at Baltimore. (1:13-cv-03058-JFM-1). J. Frederick Motz, Senior District Judge.

ARGUED:

Sujit Raman, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Greenbelt, Maryland, for Appellant.

Peter Dennis Ward, LAW OFFICE OF PETER D. WARD, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellee.

ON BRIEF:

Rod J. Rosenstein, United States Attorney, OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY, Baltimore, Maryland, for Appellant.

Before WILKINSON and THACKER, Circuit Judges, and HAMILTON, Senior Circuit Judge. Judge Thacker wrote the opinion, in which Judge Wilkinson and Senior Judge Hamilton joined.

OPINION

Page 214

THACKER, Circuit Judge:

During the course of a grand jury investigation, the Government subpoenaed a 19-year-old man (" Doe Jr." or " Appellee" ) to testify with regard to potential federal charges against his father (" Mr. Doe" ).[1] Doe Jr. moved to quash the subpoena

Page 215

pursuant to Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 17(c)(2), claiming that his testimony was shielded by a purported parent-child privilege. The district court granted the motion.

No federal appellate court has recognized a parent-child privilege, and we decline to do so here. As explained more fully below, Doe Jr. has not made a strong showing of need for the parent-child privilege, and " reason and experience" do not warrant creation of the privilege in the face of substantial authority to the contrary. Fed.R.Evid. 501. Therefore, we reverse and remand for further proceedings.

I.

A.


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