Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States

PETITIONER: Bank of Nova Scotia
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Pima County Jail

DOCKET NO.: 87-578
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT:

CITATION: 487 US 250 (1988)
ARGUED: Apr 27, 1988
DECIDED: Jun 22, 1988

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 27, 1988 in Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 22, 1988 in Bank of Nova Scotia v. United States

Anthony M. Kennedy:

The next case, the Bank of Nova Scotia versus United States, 87-578.

These cases come to us on writs of certiorari to the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

They present the issue whether a District Court may invoke its supervisory power to dismiss an indictment for prosecutorial misconduct in a grand jury investigation where the misconduct does not prejudice the defendants.

In the cases before us, the petitioners were charged with tax fraud and conspiracy.

The District Court, however, dismissed the indictment on all counts.

It held 10 days of hearings and identified various incidents which it found to be prosecutorial misconduct.

A divided panel of the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that, and the circumstances of this case, the District Court had no authority to dismiss the indictment.

We now affirm.

The standard of prejudice the Court should apply in determining whether to dismiss an indictment for error or irregularity in the course of grand jury proceedings at least where dismissal is sought for non-constitutional error, is the standard articulated by Justice O'Connor and her concurring opinion in United States versus Mechanik.

Under this standard dismissal of the indictment is appropriate only if it is established that the violation substantially influenced the grand jury's decision to indict or if there is grave doubt that the decision to indict was free from the substantial influence of such violations.

Applying the standard to the facts of this case, we find that the record will not support the conclusion that petitioners were prejudiced.

The District Court erred in dismissing the indictment.

Justice Scalia joins the opinion of the Court and has filed a concurring opinion.

Justice Marshall has filed a dissenting opinion.