Immunity in Exchange of Testimony

What is Immunity?

Immunity arrangements are contracts among state and eyewitness. The eyewitness provides details as well as statement and the court guarantees not to indict. However, it’s not that easy. These contracts generally choose one of two modes, and though they give some security, still never make the observer “immune” as the term is commonly known. In a “use or secondary use immunity” agreement, the court may not avail the statement of a witness, or proof obtained from it, upon that eyewitness. Whereas “Transactional immunity” is more potent, preventing the state from indicting the eyewitness for any offences associated with the statement. Ray suddenly accepted to use as well as secondary use immunity and got into a problem as William didn’t use his declaration against him. Due to past supervision and the slips, Ray was liable because of legal proof sources not correlated to his statement. If he had a lawyer and haggled for transactional immunity, Ray may have been defended.

When can Attestation be used against an “Immune” Eyewitness?

Eyewitnesses who attest after getting protection should note that they are not inevitably free. Immunity contracts expect the eyewitness to testify that they are being honest, and any perjury from Measure would breach the immunity agreement. This usually happens when testifier witnesses against a prisoner in repay for immunity and later changes his statement in court. Lie infringes the contract of protection, also reveals a dishonest eyewitness to culpability. An eyewitness needs to be aware that Florida and the U.S. are irrelative sovereigns and immunity contracts with the federal government do not limit prosecutions induced by a state or on the contrary. In the end, a testifier imparted protection may not “plead the fifth” at hearing or ere the grand jury, despite if guarded by use and secondary(derivative) use immunity (Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972)). That means the law implementation might get insight from a protected witness self-incriminating statement and then find proof irrelevant to the declaration itself to later sue that probably protected witness.

Immunity for Testimony

A person who is accused of an offence holds a right in Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination. This indicates that they cannot be compelled to disclose any accusatory facts about themselves, despite if others ask by law obligation or in front of the Judge. The right against self-incrimination includes not just replies that are straightaway incriminating but also responses that could lead to the discovery of convicting proof. An eyewitness who is ordered to produce data that could be charging in any manner can invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege and deny to respond. Accusatory inquiries need an eyewitness to answer that could be utilised to condemn the eyewitness of a violation. A question is accusatory if it asks for an explanation that gives either:

  • face to face proof of a violation (for instance, “I murdered bill ”) or
  • knowledge that could take to confirmation of a violation (for instance, the name of a person who could declare the truth that the eyewitness murdered bill).

 Even if a deponent requests the Fifth Amendment right, a prosecutor can cancel the right by providing the eyewitness protection from a trial in return for a statement.

At times an accusor may negotiate with a person who is doubted of a wrong if they are assumed to know about other illegal activities. In exchange of testifying against some other person, the witness may get protection from the trial. Immunity appears in numerous kinds and may hold limitations, so it is necessary to know the particular arrangement that a prosecutor is giving ere conforming it. “The right to remain silent” is possibly the most known phrase in our criminal justice system. This law arises from the Fifth Amendment (United States Constitution) that ensures that “no individual shall be forced in a criminal matter to be a testifier against himself.” Yet the Fifth Amendment does not grant an unconditional privilege to stay silent and not respond to any queries. Instead, it defends individuals from answering accusatory inquiries about themselves.

 Kinds of Immunity

Also known as complete immunity, transactional protection grants protection on any later allegations based on any case associated with the statement. (The accuser can still make allegations upon the eyewitness for things that are irrelevant to the statement.) The central criminal system of justice doesn’t give blanket immunity, though numerous states provide.

 The second primary immunity is “use and derivative use immunity”. This appears with more limitations and hence is granted oftentimes by the prosecution. 

Use and derivative use protection secure the beholder from having the accuser use their testimony or any proof found from their deposition upon them. Typically, this gives a similar conclusion as if the deponent abandoned their Fifth Amendment right and didn’t attest. It enables the accuser to show allegations formed on identical offence upon the testifier as far as the complaints are situated solely on an unrestrained declaration from a separate origin. Whether such proof is ample to punish the deponent without applying their statements can be left to the court or panel to determine.

Transactional Immunity

Transactional immunity is the extensive kind of protection; it proposes total security from an imminent trial for any concern specified in the immunized statement. Since it’s much broader, transactional immunity is furthermore usually referred to as “complete” or “blanket” immunity.

Though transactional protection gives the utmost safety for a beholder, it does not limit accuser for illegal actions that are not related to something considered in the protected testimony. Moreover, transactional protection is not continuously there—for example, the central system does not do it.

To explain, assume Eyewitness and Respondent committed a murder. The accuser gives beholder transactional immunity in return for confirming his aid in the death as well as witnessing against Respondent at prisoner’s hearing. While his assertion, eyewitness confesses that he assisted the offender in the murder by poison.

Now a question arises that can a Beholder be convicted for murder?

 The privilege of transactional protection defends him so he cannot be prosecuted.

Another query that arises is that can a deponent be punished for purchasing poison? 

 Blanket immunity assures the deponent that he cannot be convicted for any illegal action he explained throughout his immunized declaration.

At Last, what will happen if the prosecution learns elsewhere about a different drug purchase?

 After the testimony of eyewitness in accused’s hearing, the state gets from Seller that deponent came to him one month prior to the murder and acquired poison, eyewitness would not be so lucky.The accuser can accuse him of that acquisition as it is not associated with the incidents deponent stated in his testimony: 

The pick-up of poison was made prior to the murder and was independent of any that wrong or the poison he bought and stated about.

“Use and Derivative Use” Immunity

“Use and derivative use immunity” is usual (practised by both state and central accuser) but smaller than transactional protection. It bars the state from using the deponent’s testimony(“use”) or any proof obtained from those declarations (“derivative use”) in opposition to the eyewitness in criminal prosecution. In concepts, use and derivative use privilege grants as much security as the testifier not witnessing.Though, use and derivative use immunity doesn’t impede accusers from collecting new, fair data to later use upon a beholder.

During testimony, if a deponent signifies of performance of a violation and the accuser gets nonpartisan proof of such offence (from a reference different from the beholder), then such eyewitness is liable for conviction of such offence.

For instance, assume the state allows Eyewitness “use and derivative use immunity” for attesting in accused’s murder case hearing. Deponent says that after he and accused murdered Billy, he stole some cash and utilised it to buy 200 kilograms marijuana from a Trader and later on sold the 200 kilograms of marijuana to a Purchaser.

Now, two questions arise:-

First one is that can the prosecutor get Eyewitness for the murder of Billy? 

Yes, though the accuser can’t apply deponent’s immunized statement against him. It needs to depend on sovereign proof that Eyewitness murdered Mr Billy—for instance, a knowledge from somebody who witnessed the offence taking place.

The second query is that can the prosecutor go after deponent for marijuana sale? 

Assume that a Drug Addict was there when deponent sold the marijuana to Client. The addict has later detained as well as tells that he saw this deal.In that situation, the accuser has evidence of the violation of the purchase from an individualistic source (Drug Addict). The accuser can use Addict’s statement to indict Eyewitness for the offence.

Limitations on Immunity

Generally, an accuser grants an exemption to somebody who has performed a small offence since people assume that it will support them arrest or sentence somebody who has done a big crime. Usually, it occurs in the connection to the intended offence, when the accuser gives secondary protection in return for witnessing against the head of the program. If that person accepts this kind of agreement, he needs to certify as agreed, or he may go to prison and pay penalties.

At times an accusor may bring allegations upon an eyewitness who has been imparted protection. The respondent can put proof of immunity by providing data to prove that they accepted protection concerning the matter of the allegation. 

Then the prosecutor needs to tell how they obtained their data. A wide-ranging declaration that they didn’t use the immunized statement or proof rising out of it will not reach adequate distance. Any record that the petitioner obtained from the immunized statement probably will be eliminated from thought at trial. If removing this proof indicates that the prosecutor has no case, the judge will terminate the allegations.

Waiving Immunity

In exceptional circumstances, a previous eyewitness can give up protection after getting it. This enables the accuser to induce allegations on them for their statement. The surrender of right can be specific, which signifies that the beholder contracts a signed refusal or the refusal can be absolute that might occur when a deponent gives a willful testimony to law implementation without asserting immunity. A person occasionally waives protection entirely beforehand by deciding to attest instead of claiming their Fifth Amendment right.


Although earlier, transactional immunity was believed to be the sole suitable guarantee to the beholder that his right to remain silent in the Fifth Amendment won’t be infringed, the model has presently become one of protection from the use or derivative use of enforced statement solely. The issue of related protection will surely get into query one more time during the arise of an actual case in which a deponent is condemned for crimes disclosed in the enforced statement. Solely because before-mentioned crimes were associated with the declaration provided under the privilege of immunity raising a firm assumption toward consecutive attempts to sentence. 

There exist numerous means that declarations given following a privilege of protection could get back to trouble a beholder. Before proffering knowledge to the state in exchange of a security, it’s necessary to take advice from a qualified defence lawyer who can clarify any possible outcomes and your rights. There is one notion to be given protection and second is to use it completely. In this article, the chances of a person intentionally abandoning the privilege given are also explained. Though, somebody can too “waive” their opportunity carelessly. For that purpose, a lawyer needs to be there to advise you through the arrangement.

Knowing the numerous statutory protection varieties can assist in the troubling circumstances that so many individuals face every year. Beholding an offence can be a considerable situation in every person’s life, so it is essential to know the judicial system and how it works. Knowing about Blanket and use immunity can aid in the method of discovering the following statutory actions to take. The complete or transactional kind of protection is more general at the state level, as well as the use or derivative security is too familiar at the central level.

Possible Questions

  1. What is transactional immunity?
  2. What is the use and derivative use immunity?
  3. Are there any limitations on immunity?
  4. What is immunity?
  5. Can a witness waive his immunity?


  1. Immunity for Testimony, available at:
  2. Immunity in exchange for testimony, available at
  3. Immunity in Exchange for Testimony, available at:
  4. Immunity in Exchange for Testimony, available at:
  5. Transactional Immunity for Witnesses, available at

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