The opinion of the court was delivered by: BRAMWELL
BRAMWELL, District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on the application of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York for an order enforcing a Grand Jury subpoena duces tecum served upon the Brooklyn Branch of the National Bank of North America (the "Bank") directing that it turn over to the Government certain bank and cashier's checks. Pursuant to Rule 17(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, the Bank has interposed a crossmotion to quash and vacate the said subpoena.
The facts of this matter may be briefly summarized as follows: On July 2, 1975 a Brooklyn Branch of the National Bank of North America was the victim of an armed robbery. In addition to the loss of other property, the Bank suffered the loss of eleven (11) blank bank and cashier's checks. All of the stolen checks were bearer instruments, payable on demand.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation, pursuant to its investigation of the robbery, requested officers of the Bank to advise them immediately should any of the stolen checks come into the possession of the Bank during the regular course of its business. The F.B.I. also requested that such checks be immediately delivered to it for fingerprint analysis and for use by the Grand Jury in its investigation of the robbery.
At the time of the writing of this Memorandum and Order, one of the subject checks drawn in the approximate sum of $99,000.00, has already been presented for payment to the Bank by a distant bank to which it had been negotiated. The name of the bank officer appearing thereon had been forged. Consistent with the requirements of the Uniform Commercial Code ("U.C.C." or "Code"), the Bank dishonored and returned the check by its midnight deadline.
Subsequent to the Bank's dishonor and return of the forged check, the United States Attorney served the aforementioned subpoena duces tecum upon it directing the Bank to deliver to his office "forthwith upon receipt at any time and from time to time, any and all bank checks, cashier's checks and similar items stolen" in the robbery on July 2, 1975.
The Bank thereafter advised the United States Attorney's Office that it would not comply with the said subpoena. The Bank indicated that, in the view of its Legal Department, the Bank was obligated under New York Law to return a dishonored check through the banking system; that failure to do so might subject the Bank to civil liability for payment. Uniform Commercial Code, §§ 4-301, 4-302 (McKinney 1964).
The Bank, however, offered to cooperate with the Government by making a photostatic copy of any such check available to the United States Attorney's Office. Moreover, the Bank indicated that it would inform the Government of the identity of the presenting bank, so that the subject checks, after their dishonor and return, would be subject to subpoena from that institution.
It is the Bank's position that this approach would delay the date on which the Government would obtain possession of such checks by only a few days, and that such delay would not be prejudicial to the Government's investigation. Moreover, that this approach would eliminate the possibility that the Bank would be exposed to civil liability under the Code.
However, the Government does not find this alternate approach satisfactory. Thus, the stage has been set for the instant subpoena enforcement proceeding brought on by the Government and for the Bank's motion to quash such subpoena.
It is beyond dispute that the scope and subject matter of the Grand Jury's investigation in the instant case is both necessary and proper. It is well-settled that the Grand Jury has the power by means of a subpoena duces tecum "to require the production of all documents and records relevant to the subject of the investigation." Application of Certain Chinese Family Benevolent and District Associations, 19 F.R.D. 97 (N.D.Calif.1956). However, it is also well-recognized that the exercise of this power must not be unreasonable or oppressive and that the subpoena power of the Grand Jury is subject to the supervision of the Courts to insure that it is neither unreasonably nor oppressively exercised. See Hale v. Henkel, 201 U.S. 43, 26 S. Ct. 370, 50 L. Ed. 652 (1905); Essgee Company of China v. United States, 262 U.S. 151, 43 S. Ct. 514, 67 L. Ed. 917 (1922).
It has been said that the Court "has the duty to see that its judicial processes are not abused. It has the power to prevent clear injustice or an abuse of judicial process." See In re Eastman Kodak Company, 7 ...