United States v. Calandra

PETITIONER:United States
RESPONDENT:John P. Calandra
LOCATION:Royal Machine and Tool Co.

DOCKET NO.: 72-734
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

CITATION: 414 US 338 (1974)
ARGUED: Oct 11, 1973
DECIDED: Jan 08, 1974
GRANTED: Feb 20, 1973

Louis F. Claiborne – for petitioner
Robert J. Rotatori – for respondent

Facts of the case

A federal grand jury questioned John P. Calandra in connection with loan sharking activities. The questions were based on evidence obtained during a search of Calandra’s business, Royal Machine and Tool Company. Calandra refused to answer any questions, arguing that the search of Royal Machine unlawfully violated the Fourth Amendment. The government attempted to grant Calandra immunity in district court, but he asked the court to suppress evidence obtained during the search. The district court granted the suppression order and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Amendment affirmed, holding that the Fourth Amendment exclusionary rule applied. Under the exclusionary rule, any evidence obtained during an unlawful search and seizure cannot be used against the victim of that search in a criminal proceeding.


Can a witness refuse to answer questions before a grand jury when the questions are based on evidence obtained during a search that the witness feels is unlawful?

Media for United States v. Calandra

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement – January 08, 1974 in United States v. Calandra

Warren E. Burger:

Thank you, Mr. Justice Rehnquist.

The judgments and opinions of the Court in 72-734, United States against Calandra and 72-782, Gateway Coal Co. against United Mine Workers, will each be announced by Mr. Justice Powell.

Lewis F. Powell, Jr.:

The respondent in number 72-734 was called to testify before a Grand Jury investigating the loansharking activities.

His place of business had previously been searched under a warrant, directed solely to an evidence in bookmaking activities.

In that search, evidence as to loansharking was seized.

The warrant was not broad enough to encompass such evidence and accordingly its seizure was unlawful.

On respondent’s motion the District Court ordered suppression of this evidence.

It further held that respondent need not answer any of the Grand Jury’s questions based on the suppressed evidence.

The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed.

The case is here on the Government’s petition for certiorari.

The exclusionary rule, a judicially created remedy designed to safeguard Fourth Amendment rights is applicable in criminal trials to suppress illegally seized evidence and the fruits thereof.

The question in this case is whether the exclusionary rule applies also to a Grand Jury investigation.

We hold that it does not.

The rule does not proscribe the use of illegally seized evidence, in all proceedings or against persons.

Its application has been restricted to those areas where its remedial objectives are thought most efficaciously served.

Extending the rule to Grand Jury investigations would at most achieve only a speculative advance in the deterrence of police misconduct.

More importantly such an extension would unduly interfere with the effective and expeditious discharge of the Grand Jury’s duties.

The public has a substantial interest in preserving the historic role and functions of the Grand Jury, without burdening it with what this Court has described in a recent case as mini trials.

It is to be remembered of course that a witness called by the Grand Jury may protect his own position by invoking the Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination.

Indeed in this case, respondent had been offered transactional immunity.

Mr, Justice Brennan has filed a dissenting opinion in which Mr. Justice Douglas and Mr. Justice Marshall have joined.