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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. I just wanted to point out that Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, Senator Feinstein, former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, and former attorney general John Ashcroft are responsible for this rubbish. We need to keep a eye on these corrupt, arrogant, and incompetent fools.

  2. Well I guess our politicians have decided to give these idiot federal prosecutors unlimited power. Now if I guy bounces a fifty-dollar check, the U.S. attorney can intentionally wait for twenty-five years or so and have the check swabbed for DNA and file charges. These power hungry federal prosecutors now have unlimited power to mess with people. we can thank Wisconsin's Jim Sensenbrenner and Diane Feinstein, John Achcroft and Bill Frist for this one. Way to go, idiots.

  3. I wonder if the USSR had electronic voting machines that changed the ballot after it was cast? Oh well, at least we have a free media serving as vicious watchdog and exposing all of the rot in the system! (Insert rimshot)

  4. Jose, you are assuming those in power do not wish to be totalitarian. My experience has convinced me otherwise. Constitutionalists are nearly as rare as hens teeth among the powerbrokers "managing" us for The Glorious State. Oh, and your point is dead on, el correcta mundo. Keep the Founders’ (1791 & 1851) vision alive, my friend, even if most all others, and especially the ruling junta, chase only power and money (i.e. mammon)

  5. Hypocrisy in high places, absolute immunity handed out like Halloween treats (it is the stuff of which tyranny is made) and the belief that government agents are above the constitutions and cannot be held responsible for mere citizen is killing, perhaps has killed, The Republic. And yet those same power drunk statists just reel on down the hallway toward bureaucratic fascism.

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