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Name: Arredondo v. Ortiz
Case #: 01-57166
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/20/2004
Subsequent History: Cert. den. 10/4/04

A witness’s invocation of the privilege against self-incrimination may extend to collateral matters regarding cross examination, and thus a trial court’s refusal to order the witness to testify did not violate the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to present a defense. Here the witness refused to testify because he was advised that if he were impeached with his prior convictions during his testimony and admitted having suffered those convictions, that evidence could be used against him in his own pending Three Strikes prosecution. He was further concerned that his testimony would indicate that he had violated his parole due to his association with the defendant. The Ninth Circuit held that the witness’s Fifth Amendment privilege was properly extended to these collateral matters, and that had he testified the prosecution would have had the right to impeach him with the prior convictions. Because of the witness’s proper invocation of the Fifth Amendment as to impeachment matters, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in excluding his entire testimony. Because the California Court of Appeal’s decision upholding the trial court ruling did not violate clearly established law as determined by the United States Supreme Court, no federal habeas relief was warranted.