United States v. Jacobs

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Estelle Jacobs (aka Mrs. Kramer)
LOCATION: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

DOCKET NO.: 76-1193
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1975-1981)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 436 US 31 (1978)
REARGUED: Mar 20, 1978
DECIDED: May 01, 1978
ARGUED: Dec 07, 1977
GRANTED: May 31, 1977

ADVOCATES:
Irving P. Seidman - for the defendant-appellee
Edward C. Weiner - for the appellant

Facts of the case

Estelle Jacobs was accused of threatening to harm a man who owed a substantial gambling debt to her employer, a collections agency. Unbeknownst to her, the phone call in which she made the threat was recorded. The Federal Bureau of Investigations contacted Jacobs and informed of her Miranda rights during questioning about the incident. About nine months later, Jacobs was called before a grand jury via a subpoena regarding the threatening statements she had previously made. She did not have an attorney present, but she was read her Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights. During her trial, Jacobs denied having made the phone call, the tape of the recorded phone call was played, and she was subsequently indicted. The district court dismissed the indictment and held that a witness in a trial who is a potential defendant should be informed of that potential upon taking the witness stand and is entitled to full Miranda warnings under those circumstances.

Question

If a witness in a trial is a potential defendant, should the individual be warned of their constitutionally-protected rights against self-incrimination?

Media for United States v. Jacobs

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - December 07, 1977 in United States v. Jacobs
Audio Transcription for Oral Reargument - March 20, 1978 in United States v. Jacobs

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 01, 1978 in United States v. Jacobs

Warren E. Burger:

In United States against Estelle Jacobs, also known as Mrs. Kramer, the writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is dismissed as having been improvidently granted.