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Name: People v. Seijas
Case #: S123790
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/07/2005

A witness against appellant admitted at the preliminary hearing that he had originally lied to the police about the identity of the accomplice. The trial court appointed counsel for the witness to advise him concerning his privilege against self-incrimination. When the witness asserted the privilege, defense counsel argued that the witness should be given immunity, but the prosecutor refused. Ultimately, the witness was declared unavailable to testify at trial, and the trial court admitted his preliminary hearing testimony. The Court of Appeal found that the trial court had erred and reversed. The Supreme Court in this opinion held that the issue was not cognizable on appeal because appellant never objected to the court’s permitting the witness to assert the privilege. However, even if the issue were reviewable, there was no error. The witness committed a misdemeanor by giving false information to the police officers. Therefore, there was a possibility that his testimony could be used against him, and the trial court acted properly in allowing him to assert the privilege.