The United States Supreme Court decision of Garrity v. New Jersey became the baseline in which government employees have the right to be free from compulsory self-incrimination. However, the concept and details of the Garrity rules are sometimes misinterpreted producing myths surrounding it.
To debunk these myths and shed light on the nitty-gritty of Garrity Rights is Rick Hodsdon. A Justice Clearinghouse regular, Rick is one of the most trusted authorities when it comes to civil and criminal matters in corrections, law enforcement operations, criminal prosecution, and employment law. He’s shared his expertise by training thousands of government staff on these topics. He’s currently the Assistant County Attorney in Stillwater, MN where he represents the county and its criminal justice agencies.
Points he unpacked on this course are:
- The Fifth Amendment as the precursor from which the Garrity Concept stemmed from.
- The types of immunity that may be granted to a government employee under the Garrity rule.
- Dissecting the facts and details of the Garrity v. New Jersey case from which the Garrity rule originated and its applicability.
- Understanding the Gardner v. Broderick case which when synthesized with the Garrity v. New Jersey case outlines the scope and restriction of the Garrity concept.
- The exception when a plaintiff has no right to Garrity immunity.
- The key concept of compulsion to look out for in Garrity issues and instances when it is unclear whether there is compulsion or not.
- The burden of proof on the prosecution to prove that evidence presented is free of taint derived from immunized testimony as seen in State v. Gault.
- The problematic nature of running a criminal and a personnel investigation simultaneously in ensuring there is no tainted material used for prosecution.
- Instances when there isn’t unconstitutional coercion such as disciplinary action short of termination as seen in Chan v. Wodnicki.
- Refusing to testify despite being granted Garrity warning and immunity as grounds for termination.
- The applicability of Garrity rule even to off-duty incidents.
- Highlighting that there is no constitutional right to lie and that once subjected to Garrity immunity, testifying untruthfully is not permissible.
- Webinar attendees’ inquiries during the Q&A are about:
- Navigating the Garrity principle in conjunction with Giglio requirements and Miranda rights.
- The non-applicability of the Garrity rule to pre-employment background checks.
- Using Garrity to government contractors or consultants and governmental bodies overseeing other agencies.
- What private employees can use in place of Garrity rights.
- Guidelines if to run an internal and criminal investigation at the same time.
- An example of reverse Garrity.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar
- “Clear, useful presentation with good examples.” — Wayne
- “I have a greater understanding of how Garrity applies to all public sector employees.” — Tony
- “I learned so much, because the presentation was systematic, well-organized, had good examples and good slides. Excellent!” — Joni
- “How knowledgeable the presenter was and the displayed information.” — Carlos