Grand Jury Secrecy: Plugging the Leaks in an Empty Bucket

Daniel C. Richman, Columbia Law School


Although there are compelling reasons for generally preventing federal law enforcement personnel from disseminating all investigative data publically or through selective leaks, only grand jury material has been given a separate statutory secrecy regime. The regime may not be particularly effective, but (if nothing else) it does give aggrieved parties a significant tactical weapon against the government. After noting that, because of the nature of grand jury investigations, the primary benficiaries of Fed.R.Crim.P. 6(e)'s protections are likely to be white-collar defendants, this essay explores and questions the justifications that have been, or might be, offered for the statutory distinction.