The rights that are provided to all citizens of the United States by the United States Constitution are considered integral to the operation of our government as a whole. One of these inalienable rights is spelled out in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution. A New York Criminal Lawyer said it is the right against self- incrimination in a criminal trial. The question of how far the right against self-incrimination extends can be argued as it was in 1960 when a group of attorneys were indicted for illegally soliciting legal business for their firm. They were later found guilty of criminal contempt of court and appealed their convictions.
A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said the attorneys were charged with contempt of court for refusing to testify in a case against another attorney and invoking the Fifth Amendment protections toward that end. They contend that they could not testify against one of the attorneys that they worked with without incriminating themselves. They further contend that the Grand Jury was being used illegally by the office of the prosecutor to obtain statements from them that would be used in later cases to prosecute them. They were subpoenaed to testify before the Grand Jury in regards to a case against a co-worker involved in illegally soliciting business. The attorneys each appeared as they were subpoenaed, however, upon being called to testify, they each presented the court with a letter invoking their rights to remain silent in order to not incriminate themselves.
The prosecutor then asked to speak with them outside of the hearing of the Grand Jury. Each attorney was told that the Grand Jury was prepared to grant them immunity in the current case if they testified before the Grand Jury. Each one was called back in and the foreman of the Grand Jury was instructed by the prosecutor to direct each of them to answer the question. The question was posed and the order was given. The attorneys still refused to testify. A New York Criminal Lawyer said following the Grand Jury court, the prosecutor presented each of the attorneys with the charge of contempt of court. They were arrested, tried, and found guilty. Each of them filed appeals of the verdict stating that it was unconstitutional to charge them with contempt of court for failing to provide testimony that would tend to incriminate them.