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In re Grand Jury Proceedings

decided: July 19, 1988.

IN RE GRAND JURY PROCEEDINGS; UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, APPELLEE,
v.
PAMELA BUCKLEY, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Nevas, J.) holding grand jury witness in contempt of court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a) for refusing to answer questions before the grand jury even though the witness was granted statutory immunity.

Altimari and Mahoney, Circuit Judges, and Dearie, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Altimari

ALTIMARI, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Pamela Buckley appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut (Nevas, J.) holding her in civil contempt and ordering her confined pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a). The district court held Buckley in contempt after she refused to testify before the federal grand jury even though she previously had been given immunity pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 6002 and 6003. Buckley contends, inter alia, that because the grant of immunity was not coextensive with her fifth amendment right against self-incrimination, the district court erred in holding her in contempt in light of the unique factual basis of this case. We disagree and, accordingly, affirm the district court's decision.

FACTS and BACKGROUND

On February 13, 1987, pursuant to a warrant, police officers searched the residence of Pamela Buckley. Theodore Blessing, Jr., a convicted felon, resided with Buckley and was present with her when the police executed the search warrant. The warrant authorized the police to search Buckley's residence and seize evidence relating to narcotics trafficking. During the search, the police found various items relating to cocaine and marijuana trafficking and also found a loaded.32 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver.

Thereafter, Buckley and Blessing were arrested and charged by the State of Connecticut with the Illegal Sale of a Controlled Substance, Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-277(b), Illegal Operation of a Drug Factory, Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-277(c), and Illegal Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Conn. Gen. Stat. 21a-267(a). This state action was pending before the Connecticut Superior Court in Manchester, Connecticut at all times relevant to this appeal. Because Blessing had a criminal record, a federal investigation was commenced by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regarding Blessing's alleged possession of a firearm.

On August 18, 1987, Buckley was called to testify before the federal grand jury in Hartford, Connecticut. Pursuant to a subpoena, she appeared on that date at the grand jury room in Hartford. She was represented by counsel. During a meeting with the attorney for the government, Buckley was advised that she was not the target of a federal investigation. After discussing the subject matter of her potential grand jury testimony with her attorney and the attorney for the government, Buckley stated that she would not testify before the grand jury and asserted her fifth amendment privilege against self-incrimination. Because Buckley was several months pregnant, she was excused from testifying, but she was advised that the government would contact her in the future.

On April 26, 1988, Buckley was again summoned to appear before the federal grand jury in Hartford. At that time, she continued to be represented by counsel. She was again advised of the potential subject matter of her testimony and was told that she was not the target of the grand jury investigation. When, however, Buckley was questioned regarding her knowledge concerning the firearm seized from her residence, she invoked her fifth amendment privilege and refused to testify. She was then excused from giving further testimony.

Subsequently, on May 24, 1988, the attorney for the government obtained an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 6002 and 6003 from Judge Nevas in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut granting Buckley immunity. That order provided:

It is the Order of this Court, in accordance with the provisions of Sections 6002 and 6003 of Title 18, United States Code, that you shall not be excused from testifying on the ground that the testimony or evidence required of you may tend to incriminate you or subject you to a penalty or forfeiture.

However, no testimony or other information compelled under this order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information), may be used against you in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, contempt, or otherwise failing to comply with this order.

The court also ordered Buckley to return to the grand jury room that same day to "answer all questions propounded to you there[.]" Buckley was given a copy of this order, but when she returned to the grand jury room, she persisted in her refusal to answer questions regarding the revolver and again invoked her fifth amendment privilege.

Buckley was then called to appear before the district court where the government moved that she be required to show cause why she should not be held in civil contempt for disobeying the court's order. The district court proceeded to hold a civil contempt hearing pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1826(a). During the hearing, Judge Nevas told Buckley that his previous order granted her immunity from any use or derivative use of her grand jury testimony, and he again ordered Buckley to answer the grand jury's ...


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