Simkin v. United States

715 F.2d 34 (2nd Cir. 1983)


D pled guilty to one count of possessing with intent to distribute one-eighth of a kilogram of cocaine. Prosecutors urged him to disclose his sources of supply and his customers. In fear for his own safety and that of his mother and uncle, D resolutely refused to furnish any information. On May 4, 1982, he was sentenced to a term of three years, suspended after six months, probation for five years, and a special parole term of three years. He began serving the six-month committed portion of the sentence on July 6, 1982. A few weeks prior to his scheduled release, D was subpoenaed before a grand jury. D was granted use immunity. 18 U.S.C. § 6002 (1976). D asserted fear of reprisal upon himself and family members if he divulged his drug suppliers and customers, and refused to answer questions before the grand jury. On November 3, 1982, D was judged in civil contempt and ordered confined until he testified, but in no event longer than the eighteen-month term of the grand jury, which had been empaneled on September 22, 1982. The civil contempt sanction would interrupt the criminal sentence D was then serving. D applied for termination of the civil contempt sanction on December 19, 1982, and February 8, May 4, and June 29, 1983. D was irrevocably committed not to answer the grand jury's questions and now claims that continued incarceration was no longer coercive but instead had become punitive. All requests for release were denied. This appeal was taken from the denial of the June 29 motion.