Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Federal Immunity- Queen for a Day Agreements

Welcome to the 

Law Offices
Edward J. Chandler, P.A.

708 East Atlantic Boulevard    Telephone:  (954) 788-1355
Pompano Beach, Fl 33060    Facsimile:  (954) 788-1357

Call Today! 24/7



If You Have Been Arrested for a Crime or are being Investigated for a suspected criminal action, you need legal advice and the assistance of an experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Call the Law Offices of Edward J. Chandler, P.A. to begin protecting your rights TODAY….


What is federal immunity?

There a different types of immunity obtained in different ways.

1. If a witness does not want to testify and asserts their 5th Amendment right against self incrimination and remain silent

2. The U.S. government can obtain a court order giving immunity and then force that person to testify, a/ka  statutory or formal immunity.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Criminal Resource Manual describes the  types of immunity orders that may be granted:

    Criminal Resource Manual 716
   717 Transactional Immunity Distinguished

    Title 18 U.S.C. § 6002 provides use immunity instead of transactional immunity. The difference between transactional and use immunity is that transactional immunity protects the witness from prosecution for the offense or offenses involved, whereas use immunity only protects the witness against the government's use of his or her immunized testimony in a prosecution of the witness — except in a subsequent prosecution for perjury or giving a false statement

    718 Derivative Use Immunity

    The use immunity statute (18 U.S.C. § 6002) allows the government to prosecute the witness using evidence obtained independently of the witness's immunized testimony. Section 6002 provides:

     No testimony or other information compelled under the order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against the witness in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with the order.

    The burden of proof  must be borne by the government to establish that its evidence is based on independent, legitimate sources. 

    This burden of proof, which we affirm as appropriate, is not limited to a negation of taint; rather, it imposes on the prosecution the affirmative duty to prove that the evidence it proposes to use is derived from a legitimate source wholly independent of the compelled testimony.

Witnesses themselves, knowing that they have valuable information, want to trade that information for immunity. This is known as "informal immunity" because it is not the result of a formal court order. The Criminal Resource Manual explains informal immunity;

    719  Informal Immunity Distinguished From Formal Immunity

    Statutory immunity, also known as formal immunity, should be distinguished from informal immunity. The latter term, often referred to as "pocket immunity" or "letter immunity," is immunity conferred by agreement with the witness. For example, the government and a cooperating defendant or witness might enter into a plea agreement or a non-prosecution agreement if the defendant or witness agrees to cooperate. Testimony given under informal immunity is not compelled testimony, but is testimony pursuant to an agreement and thus voluntary. The principles of contract law apply in determining the scope of informal immunity. United States v. Plummer, 941 F.2d 799, 802 (9th Cir. 1991); United States v. Britt, 917 F.2d 353 (8th Cir. 1990), cert. denied, 498 U.S. 1090; United States v. Camp, 72 F.3d 759 (9th Cir. 1996) [replacing 58 F.3d 491 (9th Cir. 1996)]. Grants of informal immunity that do not expressly prohibit the government's derivative use of the witness's testimony will be construed to prohibit such derivative use. Plummer, supra. But a grant of informal immunity that expressly provides for derivative use of the testimony by the government will be upheld. United States v. Lyons, 670 F.2d 77, 80 (7th Cir. 1982), cert. denied, 457 U.S. 1136.

    An important difference between statutory/formal immunity and informal immunity is that the latter is not binding upon the States. This follows from the fact that the local prosecutor representing the State is normally not a party to the agreement between the witness and the Federal prosecutor, and thus cannot be contractually bound by the Federal prosecutor's agreements.

    Prosecutors rarely give immunity  agreements, and usually only when they believe it is necessary to do so to get something of higher value than the conviction of the witness seeking immunity. If you want  immunity you  thinks you may have committed a crime.

    : The Queen for a Day agreement.

    This one day immunity deal allows the witness to come in for a proffer session and give a little preview of his testimony. Agents usually take detailed notes because if the witness is found not to be telling the truth, or if he later tries to tell a different story, he can be prosecuted under the false statements crimes and the notes are needed to preserve evidence for that possible subsequent prosecution.

        Proffer or "queen for a day" letters are written agreements between federal prosecutors and individuals under criminal investigation which permit these individuals to tell the government about their knowledge of crimes, with the supposed assurance that their words will not be used against them in any later proceedings. (The individuals can either be witnesses, subjects or targets of a federal investigation, although it is subjects and targets who provide most proffers.)

    You should think of a proffer session as a sneak preview in which you show the federal authorities what you can bring to the table if they cut a deal with you.

        (… in the overwhelming majority of cases, the formal, written proffer agreement will
explicitly state that no promises of either immunity or a plea bargain have been made.) Accordingly, your attorney and the prosecutor should have already informally worked out, before you ever sit down for the proffer session, a basic understanding of: 1) what you are likely to proffer; and, 2) what the contemplated post-proffer immunity or plea agreement will look like. To the extent that either part of this informal understanding is not perfectly clear to you, your attorney, and the federal prosecutor, you are heading into exceedingly dangerous territory. Why? Because, proffering will almost always harm you if post-proffer immunity/plea discussions fall apart and the government decides to indict you. For the same reason, if the prosecutor is not trustworthy or if you are not prepared to tell the complete truth, the proffer session should never take place.

    Unlike immunity or plea agreements, proffer agreements do not prevent the government from making derivative use of your statements. In other words, although the government cannot use your actual proffer session statements against you in its case-in-chief, it can use the information that you provide to follow up leads and conduct further investigations. If those leads and further investigations capture new evidence, such evidence can be used to indict and convict you.

Welcome to the .......
Law Offices
Edward J. Chandler, P.A.
708 East Atlantic Boulevard    Telephone:  (954) 788-1355
Pompano Beach, Fl 33060    Facsimile:  (954) 788-1357
Call Today! 24/7

If You Have Been Arrested for a Crime or are being Investigated for A Suspected Criminal Action, you need legal advice and the assistance of an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer. Call the Law Offices of Edward J. Chandler, P.A. to begin protecting your rights TODAY….Phone (954) 788-1355

EDWARD J. CHANDLER, ESQ. represents clients in State and Federal criminal defense cases in the following areas:

  • Federal Criminal Trials
  • State Felony Trials
  • Drug Trafficking Cases
  • Conspiracy Cases
  • RICO Cases
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Bank Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Security Violations
  • IRS Violations

  • White Collar Crime
  • Asset Forfeiture
  • Grand Jury Representation
  • Business Fraud and Theft
  • Battery
  • DUI
  • Grand Theft
  • Battery on a LEO
  • Burglary
Attorney Chandler also represents individuals charged with criminal offenses including:

  1. DUI Driving under the influence
  2. BUI Boating under the influence
  3. Traffic Cases Driving with Suspended License
  4. Drug Cases prescription drugs, marijuana, cocaine
  5. Felonies and Misdemeanors
  6. Juvenile Delinquency Cases
  7. VOP’s Violations of Probation

Attorney Edward J. Chandler has successfully represented numerous clients charged with criminal offenses throughout the State of Florida.  Edward J. Chandler  prides himself on aggressive representation with a personal touch. Armed with Federal and State legal knowledge and experience, he can build a winning defense. Edward J. Chandler, Esq. is accustomed to taking on the criminal justice system and achieving the best results for his clients. In addition to personally handling your case from investigation, arrest, bond hearing, arraignment, discovery and through jury trial, Edward J. Chandler, Esq. will be available to you during every step of the criminal procedure. Edward J. Chandler guarantees that you and your case will receive his undivided attention.

When your future is on the line…Call the Law Offices of Edward J. Chandler, P.A.  at (954) 788-1355  24/7 immediately! Your phone consultation is free and completely confidential.

Professional Organizations:

   * Florida Bar since 1991
    * Broward County Bar Association
    * Association of Trial Lawyers of America -ATLA
    * Federal Bar
    * Federal Court -Southern and Middle Districts of Florida
    * Supreme Court of United States
    * 4th District Court of  Appeals
    * 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
    * United States Tax Court