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Name: United States v. Vargas
Case #: 02-50663
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/04/2004
Subsequent History: Vacate & Rehrg. Granted 8/25/04

A district court’s instruction to a grand jury regarding jury ification did not deny defendant his Fifth Amendment right to the unfettered judgment of the grand jury. Here, the district court instructed the grand jury that it was not permitted to judge the wisdom of laws enacted by Congress, and should not consider punishment in considering whether to return an indictment. The Ninth Circuit held that the district court’s statement, which followed the “model charge” recommended by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, did not misstate the constitutional role and function of the grand jury. One judge dissented, expressing the view that grand juries sit as the conscience of the community and should be permitted to exercise political judgments about which laws deserve vigorous enforcement and which ones do not.