Mancusi v. DeForte

LOCATION: United States District Court of Maryland

DECIDED BY: Warren Court (1967-1969)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 392 US 364 (1968)
ARGUED: Apr 25, 1968
DECIDED: Jun 17, 1968

Facts of the case


Media for Mancusi v. DeForte

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 25, 1968 in Mancusi v. DeForte

Earl Warren:

Number 844, Vincent R.Mancusi, Warden, Petitioner, versus Frank DeForte.

Mr. Rauch.

Michael H. Rauch:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court.

May I reserve three minutes in the event that I wish to rebut Your Honor.

Earl Warren:

You may stop whenever you wish.

Michael H. Rauch:

This case raises the question whether the taking of union records from union premises without a warrant and not incident to an arrest violates the Fourth Amendment right of a union official to be secure in his person, houses, papers, and effects.

The facts in this case are not complicated and they are not in dispute.

Briefly, --

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

But no Fifth Amendment issue here.

Michael H. Rauch:

The respondent has never raised a Fifth Amendment issue as such Your Honor.

William J. Brennan, Jr.:

Thank you.

Michael H. Rauch:

It's our position as I -- and I will get to that shortly.

It's very difficult to separate the nature of Fourth Amendment rights from the nature of Fifth Amendment rights in this particular case.

Briefly, the facts are and I repeat, they are not in dispute.

The respondent was the vice-president of a Local Teamsters Union in New York City.

He was indicted by Nassau County grand jury in 1959, along with two other union officials and 12 other individuals.

They were charged with extortion, coercion, and conspiracy all in violation of the New York penal law.

The substance of the charge of the indictment was that the defendants were using the Local Union as a tool to establish an illegal monopoly of the jukebox and gaming machine industry in the metropolitan New York City area.

Additionally, that they were -- through the mechanism of the Union, extorting from owners of such machines -- money from owners of such machines by compelling payment of tribute disguised as Union dues, initiation fees, and assessments.

Shortly, prior to the return of this indictment, the Nassau County District Attorney issued a subpoena for the books and records of the Union, calling for these books to be produced at the District Attorney's office.

This subpoena was served upon -- served at the Union offices in Manhattan.

Their union offices I believe were on 42nd Street in Manhattan.

It's been stipulated or conceded in this case that the union office consisted of one large room in which several of the union officials and employees had desk including the respondent in this case.

And the subpoena was served at a time when the respondent was present in these offices, other people were also present.

The respondent refused to comply with the subpoena and upon his refusal the police took the union records over the objection of the respondent.

There is no claim that any of these records were taken from the respondent's person or from his desk or from any other place which was set aside for his personal use, nor is there any claim that any of his personal property was taken.

Solely, union records were taken and these included such things as minutes of union meetings, applications of prospective members, union charter, deposit slips.

And I should say also that many of these are items and this is also conceded here, many of these items were at least in part prepared by the respondent here in his role as an officer of the Union.

And again, most of these items, a large portion of these items were introduced into evidence over objection at the trial -- at the joint trial of the respondent and the 14 other defendants.

The respondent was -- I should add that that trial took several months.