ATF agents were investigating the defendant. Agents served grand jury subpoenas on the presidents of banks where the defendant kept accounts. The banks made the documents available to the agents, which were used in their investigation of the defendant.
Whether the defendant had a reasonable expectation of privacy in records held by the banks?
No. The defendant had no reasonable expectation of privacy in his bank records, since the bank was a third party to which he disclosed his affairs when he opened his accounts at the bank.
There is no reasonable “expectation of privacy” in the contents of the original checks and deposit slips, since the checks are not confidential communications. They are negotiable instruments to be used in commercial transactions, and all the documents obtained contain only information voluntarily conveyed to the banks and exposed to their employees in the ordinary course of business. The Fourth Amendment does not prohibit the obtaining of information revealed to a third party and conveyed by him to government authorities. The issuance of a subpoena to a third party does not violate a defendant’s rights, even if a criminal prosecution is contemplated at the time the subpoena is issued.
NOTE: The requisition of bank records must be in compliance with federal and state statutes.
425 U.S. 435, 96 S. Ct. 1619 (1976)