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Contempt conviction for failure to testify affirmed

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A woman who refused to answer questions about another criminal defendant after she was granted immunity was not wrongly convicted of contempt of court, an appellate panel ruled Friday.

Christie Wilson was found in contempt of court and sentenced to 180 days in prison after she refused to answer questions about Nathan Schultz, who had been charged with two counts of burglary and 18 counts of theft. Related to those charges, Wilson pleaded guilty to Class D felony theft and receiving stolen property, and several other counts were dropped.

The Washington Superior Court issued Wilson a grant of immunity in exchange for her testimony regarding Schultz’s criminal case. At a deposition, she asserted her Fifth Amendment rights regarding questions about Schultz’s alleged crimes.

The Court of Appeals rejected Wilson’s claim that “it appears to be a matter of first impression whether Indiana’s Constitution Section 14 provides greater protection than the U.S. Constitution’s Fifth Amendment in matters relating to compelled testimony through orders of use immunity.”

In Christie Wilson v. State of Indiana, 88A01-1301-CR-2, Wilson argued that the Indiana Constitution entitled her to transactional immunity barring the state from prosecuting her for any transaction concerning that to which she testified.

The justices affirmed in part based on In re Caito 459 N.E.2d 1179, 1182 (Ind. 1984), which was decided about twenty years ago.

 “We cannot say that the Indiana Constitution requires transactional immunity or that the trial court’s finding of contempt was an abuse of discretion,” Judge Elaine Brown wrote for the court. “We affirm the trial court’s finding of contempt.”






 

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  1. Hail to our Constitutional Law Expert in the Executive Office! “What you’re not paying attention to is the fact that I just took an action to change the law,” Obama said.

  2. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  3. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  4. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  5. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

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