Thank You For Submiting Feedback!
As the law does not discriminate in the issuance of a subpoena between the United States president and a private citizen in being summoned to give his personal attendance to testify, then there is no foundation for the opinion that the president can refuse the issue of a subpoena duces tecum as it depends on a paper in his possession, not on facts which have come to his knowledge otherwise than by writing.
Burr, facing federal charges, motioned for a subpoena duces tecum for original presidential letters. The prosecution argued that the motion was improper until after the grand jury returned defendant's indictment, that the president was not required to comply with a subpoena duces tecum, that the documents sought were immaterial and protected as they concerned national safety, and that if required, copies rather than originals would suffice.
Was the president required to comply with a subpoena duces tecum?
The court held that Burr’s rights to subpoenas began upon accusation and that Burr did not have to wait until indictment. Further, the court held that the U.S. Const. amend. VIII protection provided that Burr could both subpoena and subpoena duces tecum the president, that original copies of the letters were required, and that Burr could subpoena material relating to opposing witnesses. Finally, the court held that the issue of protecting national security was to be determined after, not prior to, the issuance of the subpoena.