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United States v. Gold

ELR Citation: 9 ELR 20713
Nos. No. 77-CR-1073, 470 F. Supp. 1336/13 ERC 1097/(N.D. Ill., 04/20/1979)

In a suit against a pesticide manufacturer and its officers seeking criminal penalties for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act and the Mail Fraud Act for failure to submit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health and safety data relating to the pesticides heptachlor and chlordane, the court dismisses the indictment because of grand jury irregularities. At a hearing conducted specially to consider the propriety of the grand jury proceeding leading to the indictment against defendants, it was established that the principal government prosecutor was an EPA staff attorney who was then involved substantially in ongoing administrative proceedings concerning the registration of the pesticides in question. During much of the grand jury's deliberations, the attorney served as a prosecutor presenting it with evidence, but at numerous other times he testified as to factual questions under consideration. In addition, the court recites a lengthy series of other incidents, such as the transmission of secret grand jury documents to outsiders and the withholding of exculpating evidence, which violate the attorney's obligations of impartiality and fairness. In sum, the court finds that these circumstances and incidents disclose a totality of grand jury abuse which in its cumulative effect undermined the grand jury process, deprived the defendants of their constitutional right to a fair and unbiased grand jury, and requires dismissal of the indictment.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (20 pp. $2.50, ELR Order No. C-1193).

Counsel for Plaintiff
Thomas P. Sullivan, U.S. Attorney
Room 1500 S., 219 S. Dearborn St., Chicago IL 60604
(312) 353-5333

Counsel for Defendants
Edward Bennett Williams, Vincent J. Fuller
Williams & Connolly
839 17th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 331-5000

Donald J. McLachlan
Isham, Lincoln & Beale
42d Fl., One First Nat'l Plaza, Chicago IL 60603
(312) 785-7500

Donald R. Harris, Laura A. Kaster
Jenner & Block
One IBM Plaza, Chicago IL 60611
(312) 222-8350

Leighton, J.