Nathaniel Lipanovich

91 Texas L. Rev. 175

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In this Note, Nathaniel Lipanovich discusses the near impossibility of obtaining immunity for defense witnesses in federal criminal cases, and explores the need to expand defendants’ rights to obtain immunity for their witnesses.  He provides a statistical overview of the current state of defense witness immunity and identifies a split among the circuits.   Lipanovich offers an empirical overview of all the cases on the topic, details the approaches employed by the circuit courts, and suggests that the prosecutorial misconduct standard used in ten of the twelve circuits fails to provide adequate protection for the accused.  He then analyzes arguments on both sides of the matter before concluding that the Supreme Court, yet to rule on the issue, should expand a defendant’s right to obtain immunity for essential witnesses by adopting the Ninth Circuit’s Straub test for defense witness immunity.