2011 (September Term)
United States v. Vela, 71 M.J. 283 (the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination provides that no person shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; immunity from the use of compelled testimony and evidence derived therefrom is coextensive with the scope of the privilege and is sufficient to compel testimony over a claim of the privilege).
(the government may prosecute an immunized witness where it can demonstrate that it has made neither direct nor indirect use of the testimony).
(in order to prosecute an immunized witness who has given compelled testimony, the government must affirmatively prove by a preponderance of the evidence that its evidence is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony; the grant of immunity must leave the witness and the government in substantially the same position as if the witness had claimed his privilege in the absence of a state grant of immunity).
(prosecution of appellant on murder charge was not based on his immunized testimony in violation of Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination; his immunized testimony did not reveal anything to the government not already known from his prior statements or suggest that appellant was considering an insanity defense, the investigation of appellant was completed prior to his immunized testimony, the decision to prosecute appellant was made long before he gave any immunized testimony, and the prosecutors in appellant’s case were not exposed to immunized testimony).
United States v. Morrissette, 70 M.J. 431 (a grant of testimonial immunity provides immunity from the use of testimony, statements, and any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or statements by that person in a later court-martial; it is the minimum grant of immunity adequate to overcome the privilege against self-incrimination provided by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution and Article 31, UCMJ; neither the testimony of the witness nor any evidence obtained from that testimony may be used against the witness at any subsequent trial).
(the government may compel a witness to testify under a grant of use or derivative-use immunity contrary to the witness’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination; immunity from the use of the compelled testimony and evidence derived therefrom is coextensive with the scope of the privilege and is sufficient to compel testimony over a claim of the privilege).
(because the purpose of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination is to afford protection against being forced to give testimony leading to the infliction of penalties affixed to criminal acts, testimonial immunity only applies to compelled testimony and not all statements made by an accused; further, for a communication to be considered testimonial, it must, explicitly or implicitly, relate a factual assertion or disclose information).
(immunity from the use of compelled testimony and evidence derived therefrom includes evidentiary and nonevidentiary uses, including the indirect use of testimony to alter the investigative strategy or to inform the decision to prosecute).
(in contrast to transactional immunity, testimonial immunity does not impose a per se bar to prosecution of the witness for the offenses about which the testimony or information is given under grant of immunity; the government may prosecute an immunized witness where it can demonstrate that it has made neither direct nor indirect use of the testimony).(because an accused who has been given testimonial immunity is compelled to relinquish his right against self-incrimination, the government bears the burden to prove that its evidence is not tainted by immunized testimony; the government must affirmatively prove by a preponderance of the evidence that its evidence is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony).
(while a wall separating pre-immunity and post-immunity investigative and prosecution teams is not required, it is considered a best practice, because a well constructed wall is demonstrative evidence that the prosecution did not make direct or indirect use of immunized testimony).
(if prosecutors are exposed to immunized testimony, the government has the burden to demonstrate that the immunized testimony was not used or derivatively used against an accused and was obtained from wholly independent and legitimate sources).
(whether the government has shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that it has based an accused’s prosecution on sources independent of his immunized statements is a preliminary question of fact).
(in this case, two voluntary statements made by appellant to CID during an investigation into the victim’s death after he received testimonial immunity were not covered by the grant of immunity, where one statement was made during an unrelated investigation and the other statement was made spontaneously to investigators while appellant was waiting for his counsel to arrive; however, two other statements made by appellant to CID after his grant of immunity addressed the death of the victim and were covered by the grant of testimonial immunity).
(factors used to determine whether the government made direct or indirect use of an accused’s immunized statements include (1) whether the statements reveal anything which was not already known to the government by virtue of the accused’s own pretrial statements, (2) whether the investigation against the accused was completed prior to the immunized statement, (3) whether the decision to prosecute the accused had been made prior to the immunized statement, and (4) whether the trial counsel who had been exposed to the immunized testimony participated in the prosecution; however, these factors are not necessarily determinative as to whether the government has or has not met its burden; that is because the ultimate question is whether the government has made any direct or derivative use of immunized evidence, not whether it adhered to a particular timeline or process).
(in this case, the government carried its burden of demonstrating that it did not directly use appellant’s immunized statements at his second trial; although a significant portion of the investigation occurred after appellant was granted immunity and the decision to prosecute him was made after the statements were made, the statements did not reveal anything not already known to the government from other witnesses or produce any leads or influence any aspect of the government’s investigation, and the prosecution team was not exposed to the statements and was only exposed to a memo stating that appellant had refused to cooperate).
(in this case, email communication between the current prosecutor and the deputy judge advocate in charge of redacting immunized materials from the record of appellant’s first trial did not show that appellant’s second trial was indirectly tainted by his immunized testimony; although the communication created a potential for taint, the deputy judge advocate only advised the prosecutor on how to charge appellant and did not discuss the evidence or the facts of the case; additionally, appellant did not reveal any new information about the case in his immunized testimony).
(in this case, the current prosecution team was not indirectly motivated in its decision to prosecute appellant as a result of its access to particular post-immunity documents that indicated that he had not cooperated with the first investigation, where the prosecution team had an independent basis for knowing that appellant had not cooperated with the investigation from his pre-immunity statement denying that he knew how the victim died and denying his membership in a gang, even though statements of other witnesses placed him at the scene and in the gang; moreover, the terms of the testimonial immunity rule and appellant’s immunity agreement itself made clear that the government may later prosecute a witness for his failure to duly cooperate with the order to testify).
United States v. McKeel, 63 M.J. 81 (testimonial
immunity protects an accused against the use of testimony, statements,
and any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony
or statements by that person in a later court-martial; testimonial
immunity -- in contrast to transactional immunity -- does not bar
prosecution of the person who has received the grant of immunity).
United States v. Allen, 59 MJ 478 (if a person provides information under a grant of immunity, the Government in a subsequent criminal prosecution must affirmatively demonstrate that the evidence it proposes to use is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony; a grant of immunity by one jurisdiction within the federal structure, such as a State, provides equivalent protections against use of the information by other jurisdictions, such as another State or the Federal Government).
(the underlying principle furthered by a grant of testimonial immunity is that the witness and the Government should be left in substantially the same position as if the witness had claimed the privilege against self-incrimination; we have recently described this principle as extracting a quid pro quo from the Government for the information it compels from the citizen; in addition to requiring that the Government abstain from using the compelled information in any way to prosecute the citizen, this quid pro quo also requires that the Government, if challenged in court, demonstrate that it has followed a process to ensure it has not exploited the compelled information).
(the Government may not rely upon or use immunized testimony in making the decision to prosecute; the burden is upon the Government in such a case to demonstrate by a preponderance of the evidence, that the prosecutorial decision was untainted by the immunized testimony).
(in this case, the accused made incriminating statements to a family therapist pursuant to a grant of immunity under state law; under Kastigar, the Government had to demonstrate that the accused’s later incriminating statement to NCIS was derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of his earlier inculpatory statement to the therapist; the record demonstrates that the accused’s statement was the product of his own desire to confess, and was not derived by the Government from his earlier statement to the therapist; the idea of confessing to NCIS originated with the accused and he steadfastly resisted the advice of others who urged him to defer making a statement to NCIS; even after receiving a cleansing warning from the NCIS agent, the accused indicated that he understood his Article 31(b) and Miranda rights and that he desired to waive them).
(in summary, where the evidence showed that the accused wanted to make a statement to NCIS, that he was determined to confess, that he did not waver from that course, and that his confession to NCIS was knowingly and voluntarily made, and where his decision to confess did not result from Government exploitation of his immunized testimony, the Government met its burden of affirmatively demonstrating that his statement was derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony).
(under RCM 907(b)(2)(D)(ii), an allegation of improper use of immunized testimony in the prosecutorial decision constitutes a waivable basis for a motion to dismiss).
(although the accused in this case moved to suppress the testimonial use of his confession to NCIS, he did not move to dismiss the charges or otherwise allege at trial that the Government improperly used immunized testimony in the course of making the decision to prosecute; as a result, we conduct a plain error review; that is, we assess (1) whether there was an error; (2) if so, whether the error was plain or obvious; and (3) if the error was plain or obvious error, whether it was prejudicial).
(although the investigation into the injuries to the accused’s child initially focused on the accused’s wife, the accused later became a suspect when the child was injured when he was in the accused’s sole custody; the focus of the investigation had shifted sharply to the accused a day before he made his statements to the family therapist and others; moreover, his statement to NCIS, which is otherwise admissible, provided an independent basis for making the decision to prosecute; under these circumstances, the preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the prosecutorial decision was untainted by the accused’s statement to the therapist; there was no error, much less plain error, in not dismissing the charges).
United States v. Mapes, 59 MJ 60 (in Kastigar v. United States, 406 U.S. 441 (1972), the Supreme Court held that prosecutorial authorities may not use testimony compelled by a grant of immunity; we have construed "use" to include non-evidentiary use such as the decision to prosecute; other federal appellate courts have construed Kastigar to hold that the Government may not alter its investigative strategy based on immunized testimony; finally, the Government may not use the testimony of a witness which was influenced by the immunized testimony).
(under Kastigar, the Government has a heavy burden to show non-use of immunized testimony; the Government must do more than negate the taint; it must affirmatively prove that its evidence is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony; an appellant is not dependent for the preservation of his rights upon the integrity and good faith of the prosecuting authorities; prosecution may proceed only if the Government shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the decision to prosecute was untainted by immunized testimony).
(the question of whether the Government has shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that it has based the accused’s prosecution on sources independent of the immunized testimony is a preliminary question of fact; this Court will not overturn a military judge’s resolution of that question unless it is clearly erroneous or is unsupported by the evidence).
(factors to be considered in deciding whether the Government’s evidence against an accused was obtained from a source wholly independent of his immunized testimony include: (1) did the accused's immunized statement reveal anything which was not already known to the Government by virtue of the accused's own pretrial statement; (2) was the investigation against the accused completed prior to the immunized statement; (3) had the decision to prosecute accused been made prior to the immunized statement; and, (4) did the trial counsel who had been exposed to the immunized testimony participate in the prosecution).
(the Government failed to show that its prosecution of appellant was untainted by his immunized testimony where appellant’s immunized statement revealed important new information which was not already known to the Government, where the investigation against appellant was not completed prior to his immunized statement and had reached an impasse, where charges against appellant were neither preferred nor referred until months after both appellant and his accomplice were granted immunity and provided statements implicating themselves in all of the charged offenses, and where the record demonstrated that the prosecution needed the immunized testimony of appellant to obtain evidence to prove several of the charged offenses).
(the "Chinese wall" constructed by the Government to separate the two teams investigating and prosecuting appellant and his accomplice was ineffective in protecting appellant's immunized testimony from being exploited by the command in resolving his case where the convening authority, the SJA, and the principal CID investigator were tainted by knowledge of the dual investigations; both the convening authority and the SJA were privy to appellant’s immunized statement when the decision was later made to prosecute him; and the investigator supervised both investigations).
(precautions such as ‘cataloguing’ or ‘freezing’ the evidence known to the Government before taking the immunized testimony will help the Government carry its burden in a subsequent trial of the immunized witness; and before immunized testimony is given, all reasonable efforts should be made by prosecution officials to memorialize what evidence is in their possession and what prosecutorial decisions have already been made).
(the prosecution improperly used appellant’s immunized testimony where the prosecution induced an immunized appellant to testify against his accomplice, exploited this evidence to induce his accomplice to provide immunized information implicating appellant, and finally used his accomplice's statement to prosecute appellant; we condemn this exploitation of immunized testimony and we reject the tactic of inducing each witness to testify against the other).
(in the present case, the prosecution failed to carry the heavy burden to establish that appellant’s immunized testimony did not trigger his accomplice’s immunized disclosures; the military judge's finding of fact that the accomplice provided an immunized statement against appellant to get the best sentencing deal for himself is clearly erroneous as it is not supported by a preponderance of the evidence; although the accomplice claimed he made his statement out of a desire to come clean and to obtain a favorable pretrial agreement, there was little evidence that he came to his conclusion to cooperate before notice to him that appellant would be an immunized witness at his Article 32 hearing, and he implicated appellant only after appellant testified against him at the Article 32 hearing).(because the Government failed to carry its heavy burden to show that it did not exploit appellant’s immunized testimony to induce his accomplice's cooperation and incriminating disclosures and failed to affirmatively prove that its evidence was derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the immunized testimony, the decision to prosecute appellant was tainted and the remedy was to dismiss those charges affected by this evidence).