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2014 California Rules of Court

Rule 5.548. Granting immunity to witnesses

(a) Privilege against self-incrimination

If a person is called as a witness and it appears to the court that the testimony or other evidence being sought may tend to incriminate the witness, the court must advise the witness of the privilege against self-incrimination and of the possible consequences of testifying. The court must also inform the witness of the right to representation by counsel and, if indigent, of the right to have counsel appointed.

(Subd (a) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(b) Authority of judge to grant immunity

If a witness refuses to answer a question or to produce evidence based on a claim of the privilege against self-incrimination, a judge may grant immunity to the witness under (c) or (d) and order the question answered or the evidence produced.

(Subd (b) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(c) Request for immunity-section 602 proceedings

In proceedings under section 602, the prosecuting attorney may make a written or oral request on the record that the court order a witness to answer a question or produce evidence. The court must then proceed under Penal Code section 1324.

(1)After complying with an order to answer a question or produce evidence and if, but for those Penal Code sections or this rule, the witness would have been privileged to withhold the answer given or the evidence produced, no testimony or other information compelled under the order or information directly or indirectly derived from the testimony or other information may be used against the witness in any criminal case, including any juvenile court proceeding under section 602.

(2)The prosecuting attorney may request an order granting the witness use or transactional immunity.

(Subd (c) amended effective January 1, 2007; previously amended effective January 1, 1998.)

(d) Request for immunity-section 300 or 601 proceedings

In proceedings under section 300 or 601, the prosecuting attorney or petitioner may make a written or oral request on the record that the judge order a witness to answer a question or produce evidence. They may also make the request jointly.

(1)If the request is not made jointly, the other party must be given the opportunity to show why immunity is not to be granted and the judge may grant or deny the request as deemed appropriate.

(2)If jointly made, the judge must grant the request unless the judge finds that to do so would be clearly contrary to the public interest. The terms of a grant of immunity must be stated in the record.

(3)After complying with the order and if, but for this rule, the witness would have been privileged to withhold the answer given or the evidence produced, any answer given, evidence produced, or information derived there from must not be used against the witness in a juvenile court or criminal proceeding.

(Subd (d) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

(e) No immunity from perjury or contempt

Notwithstanding (c) or (d), a witness may be subject to proceedings under the juvenile court law or to criminal prosecution for perjury, false swearing, or contempt committed in answering or failing to answer or in producing or failing to produce evidence in accordance with the order.

(Subd (e) amended effective January 1, 2007.)

Rule 5.548 amended and renumbered effective January 1, 2007; adopted as rule 1421 effective January 1, 1990; previously amended effective January 1, 1998.

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