Can the defendant compel the prosecutor or the court to grant use immunity to a witness whose testimony would help the defense?
This is an important question asked for a defendant who may have a witness with exculpatory testimony that could be helpful to their defense. The defendant sought to compel the prosecutor or the court to grant use immunity to a witness’s testimony that should be favorable to the defense. Though the court does not expressly adopt a rule to determine if a defendant can ever compel the granting of immunity to a defense witness, the issue in this case is analyzed according to the standard used in one federal circuit: 1) Would the testimony of the witness be clearly exculpatory? Does the government have a strong interest in withholding use immunity? Here, the proffered testimony was clearly exculpatory, but the state indicated that though there is not sufficient evidence to prosecute the witness, the possibility of a future prosecution cannot be foreclosed. The defendant’s motion was denied. It is probably very difficult to ever get the state or the court to grant use immunity for the purpose of helping a defendant. On the other hand, the State oftentimes uses immunity to assist their case. Contact a Douglas county criminal defense lawyertoday to help you with your case.