Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

United States v. Walker

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

December 20, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
WILLIAM WALKER, et al.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

KEITH STARRETT, District Judge.

For the reasons stated below, the Court grants the Petition to Authorize Release of Records [62].

I. BACKGROUND

In late 2012, Gulf Publishing Company, Inc. on behalf of the Sun Herald newspaper, made public records requests of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources ("DMR") under the Mississippi Public Records Act of 1983.[1] In early January 2013, the DMR records were subpoenaed by the Harrison County Grand Jury and placed into the custody of the Mississippi Department of Audit ("MDA"). Petitioners - MDA and the State Auditor - represented in briefing that they were participating in a joint public corruption investigation coordinated by the United States Department of Justice.

On January 16, 2013, the Sun Herald filed suit in the Chancery Court of Harrison County, Mississippi, to compel disclosure of the documents. A trial was held on October 30-31, 2013. The Chancery Court provided a bench ruling that the documents in question were not exempt from the Public Records Act. It ordered the State Auditor to return the records to DMR and ordered DMR to then comply with the Sun Herald's public records request.

On November 4, 2013, this Court's Clerk issued a subpoena at the request of the United States Attorney's office, ordering the State Auditor to deliver the DMR records to the federal grand jury in Jackson, Mississippi, by 9:00 a.m. on November 5, 2013. A representative of the Attorney General for the State of Mississippi notified the Chancery Court of the subpoena after 5:00 p.m. on November 4, 2013. Later that night, the Chancery Court entered an order directing the State Auditor to deliver the DMR records to the Chancery Court by 9:00 a.m. on November 5, 2013. The next morning, the Attorney General's office notified the Chancery Court that the documents had already been taken to the federal grand jury. Proceedings to hold the State Auditor in contempt are ongoing in the Chancery Court.

On December 5, 2013, the State Auditor filed a Motion to Authorize the Release of Records [62], seeking this Court's permission to disclose the DMR records subject to the federal grand jury subpoena. The Court held a teleconference on December 6, 2013, and counsel for the United States, the Defendants, the State Auditor, and the Sun Herald participated. The Court provided the interested parties with broad direction as to the issues that could be relevant to the motion, and it set a deadline for briefing.

Only the State Auditor and the United States filed briefs. Predictably, the United States opposed disclosure of the records. Counsel for Defendants William Walker, Scott Walker, and Sheila Shumate all notified the Court via e-mail that their clients adopted the Government's position. Defendant Zeigler's counsel stated during the Court's teleconference that Zeigler had no position on the issue.

II. DISCUSSION

The relevant sections of Rule 6(e) provide:

(2) Secrecy.
(A) No obligation of secrecy may be imposed on any person except in accordance with Rule 6(e)(2)(B).
(B) Unless these rules provide otherwise, the following persons must not disclose a matter occurring before the grand jury:
* * *
(vii) a person to whom disclosure is made under Rule ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.