Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
The physical custody of incriminating documents does not of itself protect the custodian against their compulsory production. The question still remains with respect to the nature of the documents and the capacity in which they are held. It may yet appear that they are of a character which subjects them to the scrutiny demanded and that the custodian has voluntarily assumed a duty which overrides his claim of privilege. The principle applies not only to public documents in public offices, but also to records required by law to be kept in order that there may be suitable information of transactions which are the appropriate subjects of governmental regulation and the enforcement of restrictions validly established. There the privilege, which exists as to private papers, cannot be maintained.
In compliance with a subpoena issued by the Price Administrator under the authority of the Emergency Price Control Act, the petitioner, who was engaged in a noncorporate business, produced records and other documents relating to the sale of commodities. Therefrom the Price Administrator allegedly obtained leads to search out evidence of violations of regulations, issued under the Act, for which the petitioner was convicted after the trial judge had overruled his claim to immunity from prosecution based on 202 (g) of the Act, providing that no person shall, because of his privilege against self-incrimination, be excused from complying with any of its requirements in regard to producing records and other documents for inspection by the Price Administrator, but that the immunity provisions of the Compulsory Testimony Act of February 11, 1893 (49 USC 46) shall apply with respect to any individual who specifically claims such privilege.
Were the records produced by petitioner within the scope of the immunity conferred by § 202(g)?
The U.S. Supreme Court rejected petitioner's contention that the trial court improperly overruled his plea in bar that he was immune from prosecution, pursuant to § 202(g) of the Act, 15 U.S.C.S. app. § 922(g). After examining the legislative intent and history of § 202(g) and the court's own precedent of construing the immunity provisions of the Compulsory Testimony Act of February 11, 1893, 49 U.S.C.S. § 46, which was incorporated into § 202(g), the court ruled that the immunity granted by § 202(g) reached only evidence that, but for the immunity, could not otherwise have been obtained. Thus, the records produced by petitioner, having been kept in accordance with regulation, were not within the scope of the immunity conferred by § 202(g).