WHITE, J., dissenting

State, 543 So. 2d 344 (Fla. App. 1989); Russell v. Eaves, 722 F. Supp. 558 (ED Mo. 1989), appeal dism'd, 902 F. 2d 1574 (CA8 1990). I believe we should decide the question and resolve the conflict.

As an initial matter, there can be no doubt that the decision below is a “final judgment" for purposes of 28 U. S. C. § 1257. Although the Montana Supreme Court remanded the case for resentencing, this is clearly a case in which “the federal issue, finally decided by the highest court in the State, will survive and require decision regardless of the outcome of future state-court proceedings.” Cox Broadcasting Corp. v. Cohn, 420 U. S. 469, 480 (1975); see also Brady v. Maryland, 373 U. S. 83, 85, n. 1 (1963).

At oral argument, however, two further questions were raised concerning whether any live controversy persists in this case. First, counsel for respondent stated that his client had been assured by state corrections officials that he would be paroled in the very near future. If this were true, the outcome of this case could have no practical effect upon respondent's sentence. Second, counsel for petitioner stated his belief that a probationer would enjoy immunity from prosecution for incriminating statements made during courtordered therapy. This statement calls into doubt a critical assumption underpinning the Montana Supreme Court's judgment and might suggest that there really is no disagreement about the Fifth Amendment's application to this case.

In my view, however, neither party's representation is sufficient to deprive this case of its status as a case or controversy. First, as counsel for both parties readily acknowledged, there is nothing in the record to support the expectation of respondent's counsel that respondent will be paroled shortly without regard to his completion of the State's therapy program. As far as the record is concerned, a decision in this case would affect respondent's eligibility for parole and thus have real consequences for the litigants.

WHITE, J., dissenting

Nor does the State's "concession” that a defendant would have immunity from prosecution based upon incriminating statements made to a therapist moot this case or otherwise render it unsuitable for review. This “concession" appeared to rest solely on the State's assumption that this Court's decision in Minnesota v. Murphy, 465 U. S. 420 (1984), mandated such a result. That reading of Murphy, however, is at least debatable. Because the State's concession appears to reflect a possible misunderstanding of its obligations under the law rather than any unequivocal and unconditional declaration of its own future prosecutorial policy, this statement does not moot this case or obviate the controversy. If its reading of Murphy were shown to be erroneous, the State might well revert to the view that a defendant could be prosecuted on the basis of statements made during postconviction therapy. Such a qualified concession is too uncertain a basis to find that no live controversy is presented. Cf. United States v. Generix Drug Corp., 460 U. S. 453, 456, n. 6 (1983); United States v. Concentrated Phosphate Export Assn., Inc., 393 U. S. 199, 203 (1968). In any event, the Montana Supreme Court evidently was of the view that no grant of immunity protected respondent or others in his position and the State continues to suffer the consequences of its constitutional holding.

Because I believe that a genuine and important controversy is presented in this case, I respectfully dissent from the dismissal of the writ of certiorari.






No. 91–946. Argued October 6, 1992—Decided November 16, 1992 Pursuant to its jurisdiction under 26 U. S. C. $$ 7402(b) and 7604(a), the

District Court ordered a state-court Clerk to comply with a summons issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the production of, inter alia, two tapes in the Clerk's custody recording conversations between officials of petitioner Church of Scientology (Church) and their attorneys. Although the Church filed a timely notice of appeal, its request for a stay of the summons enforcement order was unsuccessful, and copies of the tapes were delivered to the IRS while the appeal was pending. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal as moot, ruling that no controversy existed because the tapes had already been turned

over to the IRS. Held: Compliance with the summons enforcement order did not moot the

Church's appeal. Delivery of the tapes to the IRS did not mandate dismissal by making it impossible for the Court of Appeals to grant the Church "any effectual relief." See Mills v. Green, 159 U.S. 651, 653. Although it is now too late to prevent, or to provide a fully satisfactory remedy for, the invasion of privacy that occurred when the IRS obtained the information on the tapes, the Court of Appeals does have power to effectuate a partial remedy by ordering the Government to return or destroy any copies of the tapes that it may possess. Even if the Government is right that under $8 7402(b) and 7604(a) the jurisdiction of the district court is limited to those matters directly related to whether or not the summons should be enforced, the question presented here is whether there was jurisdiction in the appellate court to review the allegedly unlawful summons enforcement order. There is nothing in the Internal Revenue Code to suggest that Congress sought to preclude such review, and, indeed, this Court has expressly held that IRS summons enforcement orders are subject to appellate review. See Reisman v. Caplin, 375 U. S. 440, 449. Although several Courts of Appeals have accepted the Government's argument in IRS enforcement proceedings, the force of that line of authority is matched by a similar array of decisions reaching a contrary conclusion in proceedings enforcing Federal Trade Commission discovery requests. There is no significant difference between the governing statutes that can explain the Opinion of the Court

divergent interpretations, nor any reason to conclude that production of records relevant to a tax investigation should have mootness consequences that production of other business records does not have.

Pp. 12–18.
Vacated and remanded.

STEVENS, J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

Eric M. Lieberman argued the cause for petitioner. With him on the briefs were David B. Goldstein, Hillary Richard, and Michael Lee Hertzberg.

Deputy Solicitor General Wallace argued the cause for the respondents. With him on the brief were Solicitor General Starr, Acting Assistant Attorney General Griffin, Kent L. Jones, Charles E. Brookhart, and John A. Dudeck, Jr.

JUSTICE STEVENS delivered the opinion of the Court.

Two tapes recording conversations between officials of the Church of Scientology (Church) and their attorneys in July 1980 have been the principal bone of contention in this, and two earlier, legal proceedings.

In an action filed in the Los Angeles County Superior Court, the Church contended that the defendant had unlawfully acquired possession of the tapes. Pending resolution of that action, the state court ordered its Clerk to take custody of the tapes and certain other documents.

In 1984, in connection with an investigation of the tax returns of L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Church of Scientology, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sought access to the Church documents in the state-court Clerk's possession.2

1 Church of Scientology of California v. Armstrong, No. C420 153.

2 The Commissioner of Internal Revenue, as the delegate of the Secretary of the Treasury, has broad authority to examine the accuracy of federal tax returns. See generally Donaldson v. United States, 400 U. S. 517, 523-525 (1971). Section 7602(a) of the Internal Revenue Code authorizes the Secretary to summon any person to provide documents relevant to such an examination:

“For the purpose of ascertaining the correctness of any return, making a return where none has been made, determining the liability of any per

Opinion of the Court

After the Clerk was served with an IRS summons, he permitted IRS agents to examine and make copies of the tapes. Thereafter, in a federal action initiated by the Church in the Central District of California, the District Court entered a temporary restraining order directing the IRS to file its copies of the tapes, and all related notes, with the federal court.3 Those copies were subsequently returned to the Clerk of the state court.

On January 18, 1985, the IRS commenced this proceeding by filing a petition to enforce the summons that had previously been served on the state-court Clerk. The Church intervened and opposed production of the tapes on the ground that they were protected by the attorney-client privilege. After protracted proceedings, including review in this Court, see United States v. Zolin, 491 U. S. 554 (1989), on April 15, 1991, the District Court entered an order enforcing compliance with the summons. The Church filed a timely notice of appeal and unsuccessfully sought a stay of that order. While the appeal was pending, copies of the tapes were delivered to the IRS. Thereafter, the Court of Appeals ordered the Church to show cause why its ap

son for any internal revenue tax or the liability at law or in equity of any transferee or fiduciary of any person in respect of any internal revenue tax, or collecting any such liability, the Secretary is authorized

"(1) To examine any books, papers, records, or other data which may be relevant or material to such inquiry.” 26 U. S. C. 8 7602(a).

3 Church of Scientology v. Armstrong, No. CV 84-9003-HLH (CD Cal., Nov. 27, 1984).

4 Sections 7402(b) and 7604(a) confer jurisdiction on the federal district courts to enforce a summons issued by the IRS. Title 26 U. S. C. $ 7402(b) provides:

“If any person is summoned under the internal revenue laws to appear, to testify, or to produce books, papers, or other data, the district court of the United States for the district in which such person resides or may be found shall have jurisdiction by appropriate process to compel such attendance, testimony, or production of books, papers, or other data.”

Section 7604(a) is virtually identical to $ 7402(b) except that the word “records” appears in $ 7604(a).

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