United States v. Jose, 519 U.S. 54, 2 (1996) (per curiam)

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Cite as: 519 U. S. 54 (1996)

Per Curiam

IRS summonses issued to Laddie F. Jose, as trustee for the Jose Business Trust and Jose Family Trust. The Service represented to the Magistrate that the documents sought "are for the purpose of a civil investigation." App. to Pet. for Cert. 16a. The Magistrate found the summonses valid and enforceable for the purpose stated. He did not address the question whether the summons enforcement requirements "would be satisfied in the event petitioners decide to pursue a criminal tax investigation." Ibid. That question was not before him in view of the sole purpose—civil investigation—specified by the IRS. Ibid.

The Magistrate recommended that the District Court (1) enforce petitioners' summonses, and (2) require the IRS to give respondent five days' notice prior to any circulation or transfer of the summoned documents to any division of the IRS other than the Examination Division. Id., at 20a-21a.

Before the District Court, neither party objected to the finding that the alleged civil investigation was a legitimate purpose and that the summonses are valid and should be enforced. Id., at 16a. The single issue in controversy was "whether [the court] may restrict enforcement of petitioners' summonses by requiring the IRS to notify respondent five days in advance before circulating, transferring, or copying the summon[ed] documents to any other division of the IRS, including its [C]riminal Investigation Division." Id., at 15a. The District Court determined that the restriction was lawful and proper and entered a final order to that effect. Id., at 19a.

The Service appealed, asserting that the District Court lacked authority to impose the restriction. The Ninth Circuit correctly recognized that it had jurisdiction "pursuant to 28 U. S. C. 1291," which authorizes appeals from "final decisions." It nonetheless dismissed the appeal "as not ripe." 71 F. 3d 1484, 1485 (1995). The majority stated:

"The record indicates that the IRS represented to the district court that the documents requested of Jose were


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