Bankruptcy Forms: Filing Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Software Chapter 13

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TITLE 11–BANKRUPTCY

CHAPTER 3–CASE ADMINISTRATION

Sub Chapter III –Administration

Sec. 344. Self-incrimination; immunity

   Immunity for persons required to submit to examination, to testify, 
or to provide information in a case under this title may be granted 
under part V of title 18.

(Pub. L. 95-598, Nov. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 2565.)


                      Historical and Revision Notes

                        senate report no. 95-989

    Part V [Sec. 6001 et seq.] of title 18 of the United States Code 
governs the granting of immunity to witnesses before Federal tribunals. 
The immunity provided under part V is only use immunity, not 
transactional immunity. Part V applies to all proceedings before Federal 
courts, before Federal grand juries, before administrative agencies, and 
before Congressional committees. It requires the Attorney General or the 
U. S. attorney to request or to approve any grant of immunity, whether 
before a court, grand jury, agency, or congressional committee.
    This section carries part V over into bankruptcy cases. Thus, for a 
witness to be ordered to testify before a bankruptcy court in spite of a 
claim of privilege, the U. S. attorney for the district in which the 
court sits would have to request from the district court for that 
district the immunity order. The rule would apply to both debtors, 
creditors, and any other witnesses in a bankruptcy case. If the immunity 
were granted, the witness would be required to testify. If not, he could 
claim the privilege against self-incrimination.
    Part V is a significant departure from current law. Under section 
7a(10) of the Bankruptcy Act [section 25(a)(10) of former title 11], a 
debtor is required to testify in all circumstances, but any testimony he 
gives may not be used against him in any criminal proceeding, except 
testimony given in any hearing on objections to discharge. With that 
exception, section 7a(10) amounts to a blanket grant of use immunity to 
all debtors. Immunity for other witnesses in bankruptcy courts today is 
governed by part V of title 18.
    The consequences of a claim of privileges by a debtor under proposed 
law and under current law differ as well. Under section 14c(6) of 
current law [section 32(c)(6) of former title 11], any refusal to answer 
a material question approved by the court will result in the denial of a 
discharge, even if the refusal is based on the privilege against self 
incrimination. Thus, the debtor is confronted with the choice between 
losing his discharge and opening himself up to possible criminal 
prosecution.
    Under section 727(a)(6) of the proposed title 11, a debtor is only 
denied a discharge if he refuses to testify after having been granted 
immunity. If the debtor claims the privilege and the U. S. attorney does 
not request immunity from the district courts, then the debtor may 
refuse to testify and still retain his right to a discharge. It removes 
the Scylla and Charibdis choice for debtors that exists under the 
Bankruptcy Act [former title 11].

                  Section Referred to in Other Sections

    This section is referred to in sections 521, 901 of this title.


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Note: For affordable legal assistance The Center For Debt Management highly recommends Standard Legal's Do-It-Yourself Bankruptcy Forms Software Kits. For credit repair services,
the most trusted law firm in America with over 15 years of experience is Lexington Law Firm.

For more bankruptcy help and bankruptcy alternatives, go to Bankruptcy Resources

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Legal Resource Center: United States Code TITLE 11 Filing Bankruptcy Forms Software