Regan v. New York,
349 U.S. 58 (1955)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Regan v. New York, 349 U.S. 58 (1955)

Regan v. New York

No. 54

Argued November 18, 1954

Decided April 25, 1955

349 U.S. 58


A New York statute confers immunity from prosecution for any criminal activity disclosed before a grand jury in testimony relating to bribery. The New York City Charter provides that any city employee who refuses to sign a waiver of his immunity against subsequent prosecution upon any matter of an official nature about which he is asked to testify shall lose his job and be disqualified from future employment with the city. A member of the New York City police department was called to testify before a grand jury and he signed a waiver of immunity against prosecution. Twenty-one months after his separation from the police department, he was again before the grand jury, and was asked whether he had accepted any bribes from bookmakers or gamblers while he was in the police department. He refused lo answer on the ground that his answer might tend to incriminate him. He was thereupon convicted of contempt and sentenced to imprisonment.

Held: he was not deprived of any rights under the Federal Constitution. Pp. 349 U. S. 59-64.

(a) The immunity statute removed any justification that he may have had for not testifying. The validity or invalidity of the waiver is a matter of no consequence. P. 349 U. S. 62.

(b) If the waiver is valid, his situation is simply that of one who voluntarily chooses to waive an immunity provided by statute. Pp. 349 U. S. 62-63.

(c) If the waiver is invalid, the statutory immunity from prosecution persists and his testimony could not possibly be self-incriminatory. Pp. 349 U. S. 63-64.

(d) His refusal to testify was not justified by the uncertainty as to whether or not he could be prosecuted for criminal activity which might be revealed in his testimony. P. 349 U. S. 64.

306 N.Y. 747, 117 N.E.2d 921, affirmed.

Page 349 U. S. 59

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