+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    FlaBrian is offline Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    11

    Help! Can I take the 5th in civil case ?

    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    Hello,

    I'm in the beginning of a criminal trial in 2 weeks and there is also a
    civil case running alongside of this in a seperate case.

    Seems the questions (Civil interrogatories) i'm answering are being given
    as they are public record to the prosecutor in the criminal case.

    In the criminal case I don't have to say anything, but they are using the
    system to get me to answer questions in a civil matter and try and
    use theose answers in the criminal case.

    Do I have to answer questions in a civil case if they case be used against
    me in a criminal case or make a criminal case against me? Just me telling
    them who has the info can hurt my criminal case and help them even if
    they don't use it directly against me.

    I'm all set for criminal attorney, but lack civil attorney..

    Need some advice as I just got notice tonight via electronic filing
    that I'm being compelled to answer questions in the morning 9am exparte
    hearing.

    If I answer the questions I may as well hang up my criminal case
    as they can not convict without this info.


    I'm a DAD and will never, never snitch out my kids.....
  2. #2
    JKBee is offline Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    204
    This is totally from tv court, Judge Milian, to be exact. Whenever she has anyone in with a criminal case pending, she always advises them not to answer anything that will incriminate them. She has said on numerous cases that the person's testimony can be used in their criminal cases. As such she has been totally sure that anyone understands this before she allows them to incriminate themselves.

    As this is court tv, you can take it for what it is. But she tries to be very careful to abide by the law of whichever state the action is from. You might ask for a lawyer before you incriminate yourself.

    Personally, I would rather be in contempt of court rather than convicted in court. However, this is definitely NOT legal advice!
  3. #3
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    18,287
    You need a protective order or continuance. You have the right to remain silent and should use it. You need a civil attorney to help you get the time you need to complete the criminal case as your words will be used against you.
  4. #4
    sandyclaus is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ho Ho Ho, Wouldn't YOU like to know ;)?
    Posts
    7,817

    Stating the obvious (since no one else will do it)...

    Quote Originally Posted by FlaBrian View Post
    What is the name of your state (only U.S. law)? Florida

    Hello,

    I'm in the beginning of a criminal trial in 2 weeks and there is also a
    civil case running alongside of this in a seperate case.

    Seems the questions (Civil interrogatories) i'm answering are being given
    as they are public record to the prosecutor in the criminal case.

    In the criminal case I don't have to say anything, but they are using the
    system to get me to answer questions in a civil matter and try and
    use theose answers in the criminal case.

    Do I have to answer questions in a civil case if they case be used against
    me in a criminal case or make a criminal case against me? Just me telling
    them who has the info can hurt my criminal case and help them even if
    they don't use it directly against me.

    I'm all set for criminal attorney, but lack civil attorney..

    Need some advice as I just got notice tonight via electronic filing
    that I'm being compelled to answer questions in the morning 9am exparte
    hearing.

    If I answer the questions I may as well hang up my criminal case
    as they can not convict without this info.


    I'm a DAD and will never, never snitch out my kids.....
    The 5th Amendment protects YOU from self-incrimination. You do not have to answer any questions in the civil case that may tend to incriminate you.

    The same, however, does not apply to questions regarding your kids. Or questions about the identity of persons who may know the truth about your alleged criminal acts. The other side is entitled to find potential witnesses against you, even if these witnesses are your kids.

    How touching that you want to protect the kids, but the truth is that you're really trying to protect yourself, isn't it? After all, apparently the other side knows that your kids must have incriminating testimony that would cinch their case. They need to verify that, and you may not have any choice but to give up the names.

    The 5th Amendment only applies to specific admissions by you that will incriminate you, it does NOT apply to prevent you from revealing identities of other persons who can testify to those same facts.

    Nice try, but you're on your way to jail, and facing a loss in the civil suit as well. Hope the kids have someone to take care of them while you're "away"...
  5. #5
    tranquility is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    18,287
    I think it wasn't stated as it's not quite correct. Giving the names of people who have information on you which can be used against you in a criminal case is testimony against yourself. It would be protected by the 5th. Questions on the kids may or may not, depending on the criminal charges. The OP does not need to give up names until the criminal case is done or he is given immunity.

    Fifth amendment protections are fairly broad. You have the right to remain silent. In fact, testimony on associated issues may waive the privilege.

    None of this means the civil court is *required* to stay proceedings or the OP has a right. He may, if he takes the 5th, lose the right to assert any affirmative defenses which could have been given by the testimony and there certainly can be negative inferences in civil court from asserting the privilege.

    Case cite edit:
    To forstall argument on the point see:
    Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 486-87 (1951).

    Privilege against self-incrimination applies not only to responses that in themselves would sustain a conviction, but
    also to responses that would furnish a link in the chain of evidence necessary to prosecute
    the person claiming the privilege. The privilege should be sustained unless it clearly appears
    that the claim is mistaken, i.e., unless it is perfectly clear from careful consideration of all
    circumstances that the witness is mistaken and the answer cannot possibly have incriminating
    effect.
    Last edited by tranquility; 09-29-2009 at 05:34 PM.

Similar Threads

  1. Texas case law on sealing civil case records?
    By smutlydog in forum Civil Litigation
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 02-01-2012, 03:12 PM
  2. petty theft criminal case + civil case
    By tomdallas68 in forum Arrests, Searches, Warrants & Procedure
    Replies: 19
    Last Post: 07-08-2009, 04:32 PM
  3. Civil Case Guardianship Case
    By KevinLear in forum Marriage, Domestic Partnerships and Other Family Law Matters
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 05-22-2007, 08:23 AM
  4. Motion to sever c.40A case & Civil case
    By J Hilltop in forum Civil Litigation
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-08-2005, 08:35 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

© 1995-2012 Advice Company, All Rights Reserved

FreeAdvice® has been providing millions of consumers with outstanding advice, free, since 1995. While not a substitute for personal advice from a licensed professional, it is available AS IS, subject to our Disclaimer and Terms & Conditions Of Use.