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Name: In re Mark A.
Case #: G038332
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/13/2007

Juvenile court erred when it ordered father to testify despite his Fifth Amendment privilege assertion, but error was harmless. Father contended that the court wrongly ordered him to testify at a jurisdiction/disposition hearing despite his assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege against self incrimination. When he refused to obey the court’s order, the court imposed the sanction of striking the testimony of other witnesses. The appellate court agreed that the court erred when it ordered father to testify, and the court lacked the authority to impose an evidence sanction by striking the testimony of the other witnesses. However, the error did not result in a miscarriage of justice. Consideration of the testimony which was wrongfully stricken would only have bolstered the court’s jurisdictional finding. The error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt.