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But that would keep me from asking an interesting question and deprive someone of 10pts., Steve....

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Can they make me testify against someone in Court?
I have a friend of mine that did something wrong (Texas Level 3 felony = unlawful possession of a firearm) and most likely I will subpoenaed to court because I was there, I was a witness. I got a phone call from the DA and she kept asking me questions about the "incident" where my friend who was also a prison guard employee had a loaded handgun in his car and his car was parked in the parking lot of the prison. A K9 unit searched the employee's vehicles in the parking lot and lo and behold, they found his loaded handgun. He claimed that he forgot to leave it home and he was not taken into custody, but he had to make a statement to the police though, his gun was taken away, and the prison warden pressured him to resign his job. The DA called me to ask me questions about my friend, because he, me, and many other employees were having our vehicles searched by this search team.
I continued to plead my 5th Amendment every time she asked me a question about my buddy. If she decides to subpoena me to the county court as a witness to this "incident", can I continue pleading my 5th Amendment? Can I decide NOT to provide "information" against my friend? Can the DA, the prosecutor, judge, and the jury make me talk against my will?

I know my friend since we were kids from elementary school, he is not a bad guy, he made a mistake and he had no intention of harming anyone. I don't want to testify against him or provide information to the prosecutor that can be used against him.

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Yes, you will have to testify and no, you cannot use the 5th Amendment.

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Michael W
The fifth amendment does not apply in this situation and you will be forced to comply at penalty of perjury. The fifth amendment is protection from "Self" incrimation.

It does not apply to others.

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The 5th Amendment is invoked to protect you from self incrimination. However, it does NOT protect another party from what you have witnessed. Yes, under threat of Contempt Of Court, you can be compelled to testify. If you don't, the judge can throw you in jail and hold you there until you do testify.

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Rod Law
Relax unless your friend has done something else wrong here is how it will play out. your friend messed up they want his resignation for public relation reasons. I gather he refused thus the felony charge. if he gets an attorney he can deal it out, his resignation in addition to a guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge. Once he does this he will get a yr or so of probation and its done. If he fights for his job they have no choice but to slam him.

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You have no right to the 'fifth amendment' when you are you not being charged with a crime. You are a witness and have no right to the 5th.

You CAN be compelled to testify by the judge and if you refuse, you'll go to jail for Contempt of Court.

And you can be held indefinitely.

If you lie on the stand, then it becomes a felony.

Do the right thing and testify.

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The Fifth only applies regarding yourself. You can only refuse on fifth amendment grounds when what you would say could leave you open to some criminal charge (you cannot be made to testify against yourself, basically).

Failure (refusal) to testify leaves you open to contempt of court. Failure to testify truthfully leaves you open to a charge of perjury.

You have the option to refuse to testify, but that choice carries with it some very definite consequences. That is the choice you face.

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The 5th Amendment does not protect you from giving testimony against your friend. It only gives you protection from testifying against yourself. If you are potentially criminally involved, then the 5th amendment can be invoked to protect you from giving that portion of your testimony which would incriminate you. If you are subpoenaed, you must give testimony of your knowledge of the facts in the case even if it does harm to your friend. The only dodge that you may have is that when you are asked a question that you do not want to answer, you can simply say "I do not recall." However, if the judge knows you are lying, he can hold you in contempt of court for refusing to give truthful and complete testimony. In the case of contempt of court, he can have you locked up and fined if he wants. If you decide to refuse to give testimony in this case, proceed with caution.

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Yes, and they can also subpoena this question posted to Yahoo to impeach you later if you claim you don't know on the stand, so, yeah good luck with that.

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Steve D
The ":Fifth" only protects you against incriminating yourself. If you try to plead the fifth on the witness stand the judge will most likely order you to answer truthfully or face a contempt of court charge, which will probably mean jail time. If you answer, but fail to answer truthfully and the DA finds out, you will be arrested for perjury and possibly face fines and/or jail time.

Unluckily, your only hope is to not get called to the stand.

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Well George you have been put in the proverbial place known as "between a rock and a hard place". As everyone has told you the 5th only applies to your own incrimination. You can be brought to court, sworn in and compelled to testify or jailed for refusing to answer. If you lie, and they can prove it you can be jailed for perjury, either way you loose your job.

I am confused as to how you can be a key witness unless you know for a fact that he always kept his firearm in the vehicle, and they can prove you knew. Otherwise I can't see how your testimony is going to hurt him. Send me an e-mail if you want to discuss this further.


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Yes, you can be compelled to testify.

The Fifth Amendment protects you from self incrimination. It does not protect against the incrimination of a friend.

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No, they cannot make you say anything, but; they can hold you in contempt for not saying anything, if it is know, that you do have actual first hand knowledge of the event.
First hand knowledge would be you were in the vehicle with him at the time the incident took place all else is assumptions.
As a correctional officer for many years, at a (Level 6) prison, I find this hard too believe, since your duties would or could be to transporting of inmates as a function of the job, therefore you could carry your own weapon and cannot store it in a locker at the prison, would have to comply with texas laws as to the securing of a weapon in a vehicle.
I am not a lawyer, but; in checking my knowledge, my beliefs system, concerning officers being allowed to carry concealed, on person, or locked in a vehicle, as POST certified, I did check out Texas codes:
1) Penal codes 46:02 (2) secured inside a persons motor vehicle (Not illegal under state codes)
2) 46.03 (d) (2) Defense as a guard employed at a penal institution
3) 46:035 (3) Correctional--when fails to conceal on person a weapon// Subsection H, Chapter 411, (Fails to carry concealed)
I my be off base but; what I see, is that you can carry as an officer, or you can conceal the weapon in glove box.
Now check with an attorney and ask why this law and what is the institutional law, why we cannot carry secured in a vehicle at all?

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