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wundayatta's avatar

Do you know we can be imprisoned for refusing to talk in the United States?

Asked by wundayatta (58354 points ) October 13th, 2012

Leah Lynn Plante was sent to prison a couple of days ago for refusing to talk to a Grand Jury about vandalism in Seattle. You can find out more about her story, if interested. I recommend that you watch her video statement that she made the day before going to prison. She is very compelling.

Do you know anything else about this story? Is this for real? Can America be this much of a police state?

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12 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Refusing to testify when granted immunity is considered contempt of court. Happens all the time. Barry Bonds’ personal trainer spent a lot of time in jail for not testifying about his steroid use.

Coloma's avatar

Hmmm…I have a jury duty summons for next week, I wonder if I refuse to talk if they will either expel me or imprison me. Let the adventure begin, I fear not. lol

jerv's avatar

Yes, its local news for me, yes, it’s for real, and maybe, as the enforcement of other laws (speed limits, marihuana possession…) is beyond lax.

bkcunningham's avatar

What is she fighting for and who is she protecting?

wonderingwhy's avatar

Contempt of court can land you in prison indefinitely. In my opinion, in many cases, the court is more than deserving of genuine contempt but then, like Cartman, most judges demand “you will respect my authority!” Needless to say, I feel, it is a process in woeful need of a major gutting and overhaul. Here’s a WSJ article that covers it a bit.

H. Beatty Chadwick spent 14 years in prison in civil contempt without being charged. As he said “If I had been convicted of murder in the third degree in Pennsylvania, I would have been out in half the time I was in jail”.

Oh, and don’t’ forget there’s also contempt for congress! Which over the last several years should probably be a mandatory requirement for being a US citizen.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you ever want to get out of jury duty (at least in a criminal trial), @Coloma, just mention or let slip the phrase jury nullification, and you may be summarily excused by the prosecution. (Just don’t mention the phrase on the courthouse steps, or you may be arrested for contempt of court.)

And if you really want to be effective, don’t say a word about the topic (unless specifically questioned about it during voir dire, of course, in which case you need to tell as much of the truth as allowed), but go into the jury room… and nullify the law.

Jaxk's avatar

We are continuously shredding the constitutional rights we are supposed to have. The right not incriminate yourself is thwarted by immunity. The law against ‘double jeopardy is thwarted by simply trying you for the same event but different charges. My wife was on jury duty for some guy that robbed a couple at knife point. A heinous crime to be sure. But the guy was also charged with ‘Unlawful imprisonment’. Now I understand the prosecutor wants to pile on as many charges as they can because it makes thier conviction rate look better. But really, unlawful imprisonment? I have to believe that when they created the law and penalty for armed robbery, they assumed, you couldn’t just walk away. Hell, the unlawful imprisonment carries a longer sentence than the robbery.

I definitely understand contempt of court. I have quite a bit of contempt myself and it’s always difficult to restrain it..

poisonedantidote's avatar

You have the right to remain silent, until some corrupt fuck decides it is not convenient anymore.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I am familiar with her decision to not talk to the grand jury, she choose to not reveal the names of the people who trusted her. I am not familiar with the circumstances of the vandalism done in Seattle. I think it is violation of her 5th Amendment Right for her to have to serve time in jail/prison for refusing to testify before the grand jury. However, in the United States we have gone a long way down the road towards a Police State, especially in our so-called ‘Justice System’. Both the Law Enforcement agencies & the Courts give every evidence of giving special dispensation to the wealthier Americans, while they exploit every angle to convict the average American…. even for something that used to be a RIGHT, like speaking out about crimes being committed by the government, or not speaking out when you feel that your 5th Amendment Right is being violated. All 3 of the main secret service agencies (the FBI, the CIA, & the DHS) have been shown to trample on the rights of political activists & protestors to the extent that it is now a CRIME to actually be involved in these activities. Any time a country clamps down on Freedom of Speech, it gives free reign to the darker elements in our societies.

bkcunningham's avatar

What is it all about, @Linda_Owl. I’ve only found one story from a reputable news source and it said it involves squatters in houses and the information that was obtained from inside the houses the alleged squatters had broken into.

jerv's avatar

@Linda_Owl The Fifth amendment doesn’t apply if you have been granted immunity from prosecution.

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