DOES THE FIFTH AMENDMENT RIGHT TO SILENCE APPLY IN A BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDING?

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The Fifth Amendment provides for the privilege against self incrimination in criminal cases. Courts have held that the privilege applies to civil matters, including bankruptcy proceedings, but the privilege must be specifically invoked to each and every question that the debtor refuses to answer. There can not be a blanket assertion of the Fifth Amendment in a bankruptcy proceeding. In order to invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege, the debtor must be faced with a compelled disclosure found to be testimonial which is incriminating. The debtor may also invoke the Fifth Amendment privilege after testifying at a previous hearing when the previous testimony does not leave the Court with a distorted view.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Seth Crosland | Attorney Advertising

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