Lady Justice and a Gavel
Lady Justice and a Gavel

Immunity is what we used to say is a get-out-of-jail-free card, it literally means that you might never be prosecuted but technically there are two types of immunity in the federal system. There’s something called a use community and there’s something called transactional immunity, so you summon a use immunity simply means that if a defendant comes in and testifies or does whatever in exchange for immunity the government won’t use anything that defendant says to prosecute that defendant later on but if the government finds independent evidence setting apart from what the defendant says that pointed his guilt, the government can use that information so that’s why it’s more limited.

Transactional immunity completely covers a defendant, it’s basically a blanket immunity, the government is saying you will not be prosecuted for any of the following crimes no matter what even if we learn independent evidence we still will not prosecute you.

So how does one go about getting either use immunity or transactional immunity?
Well in the federal system,it is actually given out very rarely,they are another way of getting information from defendants, the defendant are given immunity if they have valuable information, it’s more like an exchange/trade, the defendant rid lay everything out on the table so he has to say say why his information is so valuable and basically make the pitch to the prosecutor why in exchange for his valuable information he should be given immunity.

One thing I should say about immunity is that the federal system and the government holds all the power and all the cards and this is one of the few areas where a federal judge is actually powerless, a judge cannot order a prosecutor to give a witness immunity…it’s actually something that the prosecutor decides also the federal system. It actually goes beyond simply the prosecutor’s office it’s a decision that goes through the government.

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