Mehrens' Problem: Who's Got the Button?


(1) Wayman allegedly engaged in certain sexual conduct with a minor, his daughter Sandra, in 1979. Subsequently, she left Arizona to live in California. While she was in California, Wayman wrote and mailed certain letters to her in which, assertedly, he discussed their sexual conduct. Sandra later returned to her parents' home in Arizona, bringing the letters with her. She then left home again but did not take the letters with her. One week later, the criminal complaint in this case was filed. A search warrant was issued to obtain certain incriminating items from the Waymans' residence, including the letters. The letters, however, were not found in the search because prior to the search Wayman delivered the letters to Mehrens, his attorney. Mehrens had the letters in his possession when a subpoena duces tecum, issued by the Maricopa County Grand Jury, directed him to appear and bring the letters. Mehrens moved to quash the subpoena and delivered the letters under seal to the Judge.

How would you rule?

(2) The trial court granted the motion to quash the grand jury subpoena. The letters, however, remained under seal with the court. Then, at the state's request, the trial court decided to return the letters to Mehrens. It ordered him to pick up the letters at nine o'clock the following morning. Meanwhile, the state obtained a warrant to search Mehrens. As Mehrens left the court chambers after picking up the letters, police officers served him with the warrant. When Mehrens refused to comply with the warrant voluntarily, the police seized his briefcase containing the letters.

Mehrens moved for return of the letters. How would you rule?

div1.gif (1531 bytes)
Home | Contents | Topical Index | Syllabi | Search | Contact Us | Professors' Pages
Cases | Problems | Rules | Statutes | Articles | Commentary