The circumstances under Which one May be Granted Witness Immunity

Thecircumstances under Which one May be Granted Witness Immunity


Thecircumstances under Which one May be Granted Witness Immunity

Freedomfrom prosecution is an important tool usually used by prosecutors toget some important information that will facilitate justice. Immunityis mainly used by prosecutors to compel the people who have committedsmaller crimes to testify against the people who have committed themore significant offenses with the guarantee that what they say willnot be used against them. There are certain circumstances under whicha witness may be granted immunity (Garland, 2011).

Witnessimmunity may be offered to witnesses of a general case that involvesmore than one participant. Sometimes, the interests of justice maymake it necessary that witness immunity is offered so as to get theimportant information for justice to be served. Witness immunity insuch a case can either be transactional or testimonial. Transactionalimmunity is used to refer to the immunity from prosecution as aresult of any offenses that may be related to the testimony given(Sosnov,2000).The testimonial immunity is the immunity that prevents the use of anyinformation directly or indirectly derived from the testimony in anyother future prosecutions. The authority to give any of theimmunities mentioned above is given to the court-martial jurisdiction(Sosnov,2000).

Witnessimmunity may also be given to civilian witnesses in cases that are ofpublic interests. In a case where the civilian witness has refused oris likely to refuse to give their testimony, then the immunityagainst self-incrimination may be offered by the prosecutor with thepermission of the attorney general (Mykkeltvedt,1978).Immunity can also be rendered to the witnesses of the cases thatinvolve matters of national security or international matters. Inthis case, the general court-martial will forward the immunityrequest to the department of justice and it will either be approvedor disapproved by the judge advocate general (Mykkeltvedt,1978).


Garland,N. M. (2011). Criminal evidence (6thed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill

Mykkeltvedt,R. Y. (1978). To Supplant the Fifth Amendment`s Right AgainstCompulsory Self-Incrimination: The Supreme Court and Federal Grantsof Witness Immunity. MercerL. Rev.,30,633.

Sosnov,L. N. (2000). Separation of Powers Shell Game: The Federal WitnessImmunity Act. Temp.L. Rev.,73,171.