Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

Can I plead the 5th, or state I have the right to remain silent in the following situation...

My son is in jail and has a private attorney appointed by the court. His attorney submitted over 2000 pages of his medical/mental health records. He is laying the groundwork for the Writ of Habeas Corpus, in which the judge should appointment a different attorney for my son. Over a year ago, before he was arrested, he had been hospitalized several times. He had been kicked in the head several times by 2 teenagers inside on Office Depot store. The trauma set off another episode and medications were not stabilizing him consistently.

About a week ago, he was charged with elder abuse and assault with a deadly weapon, and I am listed as the victim. This supposedly happened when he was very sick and just prior to his arrest. I have been his caretaker all his life. I am well trained, experienced, and educated in caring for mental illness, and I am well aware and accept the risks involved in taking care a mentally ill individuals. He is diagnosed with bipolar and autism spectrum. This complaint was not initiated by me. I do not know where the complaint is from at this time. I consider myself a witness for the defense, and I would never say anything that would incriminate him.

Asked on 11/19/23, 7:13 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

It doesn't matter what you claim the facts are - if YOU are charged with a crime, or YOU are being investigate by law enforcement for a suspected crime, then the general rule is that you can 'remain silent' and 'take the 5th' so as to not 'testify against yourself'.

If instead, you are the victim or witness police want to interview, the general rule is that you can 'decline to cooperate', and remain silent. Whether that is a 'good or right' thing to do to 'subvert justice' is a moral question that should be discussed with your lawyer that knows the actual facts and consequences of doing so..

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Answered on 11/20/23, 7:28 am

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