UNITED STATES v. MILLER

Print this Page
Case Basics
Docket No. 
74-1179
Petitioner 
United States
Respondent 
Mitch Miller
Advocates
(Deputy Solicitor General, Department of Justice, argued the cause for the United States)
(argued the cause for the respondent)
Tags
Term:
Location: A bank
Facts of the Case 

Mitch Miller was charged of carrying alcohol distilling equipment and whiskey on which liquor tax had not been paid. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) issued subpoenas to two of Miller's banks, The Citizens & Southern National Bank of Warner Robins and the Bank of Byron requesting records of Miller's accounts. The banks complied with the subpoenas, and the evidence was used during Miller's trial in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia. Miller was convicted and appealed his conviction alleging that his Fourth Amendment rights were violated. The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in his favor.

Question 

Were Miller's bank records illegally seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment?

Conclusion 
Decision: 7 votes for United States, 2 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Amendment 4: Fourth Amendment

No. In a 6-3 opinion, the Court reversed the Fifth Circuit and held that Miller had no right to privacy in his bank records. Writing for the majority, Justice Lewis F. Powell asserted that the "documents subpoenaed are not [Miller's] 'private papers'," but instead, part of the bank's business records. Consistent with Hoffa v. United States, Miller's rights were not violated when a third party - his bank - transmitted information that he had entrusted them with to the government.

Cite this Page
UNITED STATES v. MILLER. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 16 September 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1179/>.
UNITED STATES v. MILLER, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1179/ (last visited September 16, 2014).
"UNITED STATES v. MILLER," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed September 16, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1970-1979/1975/1975_74_1179/.