United States District Court, D. Maine
ORDER ON MOTION TO QUASH
Z. Singal United States District Judge.
the Court is the Motion to Quash Subpoena submitted by Maine
Revenue Services and Judy Methot (together, âMRSâ) (ECF No.
1) and the Motion to Quash filed by Tyler Poland, Ty
Properties, LLC, and TY Construction LLC (together, âPolandâ)
(ECF No. 7). Following an expedited briefing schedule, the
Court has received the Government's Response (ECF No. 6)
and MRS' Reply (ECF No. 8). Having considered the
arguments of the parties, the Court DENIES the Motions to
defendants in United States v. Daniels, et al., D.
Me. Docket No. 2:18-cr-00063, have moved to dismiss and/or
enjoin their prosecution, contending that such prosecution is
unlawful under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment because
they acted in compliance with Maine's medical marijuana
law. (See ECF Nos. 334, 404, 410 in Docket No.
2:18-cr-00063 (hereinafter, “Rohrabacher
Motions”).) A consolidated hearing on these Rohrabacher
Motions is scheduled for October 3 & 4, 2019. In advance
of the hearing, the Government issued a trial subpoena
seeking sales tax information from MRS for several
individuals, including the moving defendants. On September
23, 2019, MRS filed the pending Motion to Quash Subpoena,
arguing that disclosure of the subpoenaed information would
be “unreasonable and oppressive” given that it is
privileged and confidential under Maine's Confidentiality
of Tax Records statute. See 36 M.R.S.A. § 191.
After MRS filed its Motion to Quash, the Government agreed to
narrow its subpoena to include the sales tax information only
from Defendants Brian Bilodeau, Brian Bilodeau LLC, Tyler
Poland, Ty Properties LLC, TY Construction LLC, and MR, LLC.
On October 2, 2019, Poland filed his separate Motion to
First Circuit law, because the subpoenaed documents and
testimony are made confidential by Maine statute, they are
subject to a qualified privilege. See In re Hampers,
651 F.2d 19, 23 (1st Cir. 1981). That is, they are subject to
disclosure based on the criteria in 26 U.S.C. §
6103(i)(1)(B)-(1) there “is reasonable cause to believe
that a federal crime has been committed, ” (2)
“the information sought will be probative of a matter
at issue in the prosecution of that crime, ” and (3)
“the same information or equally probative information
cannot be obtained elsewhere through reasonable
efforts.” Hampers, 651 F.2d at 23.
parties agree that the first criterion is met. They disagree,
however, as to the second two. Regarding whether the
information sought by the subpoena is probative, Poland
asserts that his tax information is not probative of his
compliance with Maine's marijuana laws prior to February
27, 2018. (See Poland Mot. (ECF No. 7), PageID #s
20-21.) While Poland may ultimately prove that the tax
information does not amount to evidence that he failed to
comply with Maine's medical marijuana laws at the time,
the Court concludes that the Government has made a rational
showing that the tax return information may be relevant to
the charged crime(s). See In re Application of U.S.
Return Info., 204 F.Supp.3d 933, 938 (E.D. Ky. 2016).
whether the same or equally probative information as that
sought in the subpoena can be obtained elsewhere through
reasonable efforts, the Court concludes that it cannot. The
Government notes that it requested the desired sales tax
information from each defendant on September 20, 2019, and
none of the defendants responded to this request.
(See Gov't Response (ECF No. 4), PageID # 14
& n.1.) The Government further contends that even if
Defendants had furnished the requested information,
authenticity and reliability issues would impact their
probity. MRS responds that since the Government need only
establish Defendants' noncompliance with Maine's
medical marijuana law in some way, the records may
ultimately be unnecessary to the Government's case if
there is sufficient evidence of noncompliance elsewhere.
However, based on the proffers and evidence received during
the first day of the evidentiary hearing, the Court concludes
that the Government should be allowed access to available
evidence showing whether or not each defendant has paid
applicable sales tax, as it is probative to the issues raised
by the pending Rohrabacher Motions.
short, the Court concludes that Hampers criteria are
result, the Court DENIES both Motions to Quash (ECF Nos . 1
& 7) and ORDERS MRS to produce the subpoenaed tax records
of the six individuals/entities sought by the Government.
records produced in accordance with this Order shall be kept
confidential and only filed under seal. Additionally, the
Government shall treat the produced records as subject to the
protections and restrictions contained in 26 U.S.C. §
6103 and 26 C.F.R. § 301.6103(i)-1.