United States v. Salerno

PETITIONER: United States
RESPONDENT: Salerno et al.
LOCATION: Residence of Jacobson

DOCKET NO.: 91-872
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

CITATION: 505 US 317 (1992)
ARGUED: Apr 20, 1992
DECIDED: Jun 19, 1992

ADVOCATES:
James A. Feldman - on behalf of the Petitioner
Michael E. Tigar - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case

Question

Media for United States v. Salerno

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - April 20, 1992 in United States v. Salerno

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 19, 1992 in United States v. Salerno

Clarence Thomas:

I have the opinion of the Court to announce in United States versus Salerno, 91-872.

This case comes to us on writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

A federal grand jury indicted Anthony Salerno and six other respondents on various charges including racketeering and fraud.

The indictment alleged that they have attempted to rig bids on construction projects in New York City by controlling the supply of cement.

Two witnesses provided exculpatory testimony to the grand jury, but they pleaded the Fifth Amendment and refused to testify at trial.

The respondents asked the Trial Court to admit transcripts of the grand jury testimony into evidence, but the court refused.

The jury later convicted the respondents of various federal crimes.

The Court of Appeals reversed the respondent's conviction on ground that the Trial Court should have admitted the transcripts.

In an opinion filed with the Clerk's office, we now reverse the Court of Appeals and remand for further proceedings.

Federal Rule of Evidence 804(b) authorizes admission of the formal testimony of unavailable witnesses but only when the opposing party had a similar motive to develop the testimony at the prior hearing.

In this case, the Court of Appeals did not decide whether the United States had a similar motive to develop the statements made by the two witnesses at the grand jury.

We remand the case so that the Court of Appeals may consider this issue.

Justice Blackmun has filed a concurring opinion; Justice Stevens has filed a dissenting opinion.