Florida man sentenced to 180 days in jail for not divulging his iPhone passcode

“A Hollywood man must serve 180 days in jail for refusing to give up his iPhone password to police, a Broward judge ruled Tuesday — the latest salvo in intensifying legal battles over law-enforcement access to smart phones,” David Ovalle reports for The Miami Herald.

“Christopher Wheeler, 41, was taken into custody in a Broward Circuit Court, insisting he had already provided the pass code to police investigating him for child abuse, although the number did not work,” Ovalle reports. “‘I swear, under oath, I’ve given them the password,’ a distraught Wheeler, his hands handcuffed behind his back, told Circuit Judge Michael Rothschild, who earlier in May found the man guilty of contempt of court.”

“As Wheeler was jailed Tuesday, the same issue was unfolding in Miami-Dade for a man accused of extorting a social-media celebrity over stolen sex videos,” Ovalle reports. “That man, Wesley Victor, and his girlfriend had been ordered by a judge to produce a pass code to phones suspected of containing text messages showing their collusion in the extortion plot. Victor claimed he didn’t remember the number. He prevailed. On Tuesday, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Charles Johnson ruled that there was no way to prove that Victor actually remembered his pass code, more than 10 months after his initial arrest. Johnson declined to hold the man in contempt of court.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Two different judges, two different results. In the same state, no less. That’s not a uniform standard of justice.

At the core of the issue is the U.S. Constitution:


No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Sometimes the law gets too cute. We shouldn’t leave common sense out of the equation. The process is the same thing. You’re getting access to someone’s most private information by forcing someone to give you the key. — Miami defense attorney David Oscar Markus, May 2016

Ultimately, if not in this case, for a similar one, the U.S. Supreme Court will likely have to weigh in on this issue.MacDailyNews, May 4, 2017

Florida judge orders reality TV actress to unlock Apple iPhone in ‘sextortion’ case – May 4, 2017
Miami sextortion case asks if a suspect can be forced to hand over Apple iPhone password – April 28, 2017
Feckless FBI unable to unlock iPhone, even with a ‘fingerprint unlock warrant’ – May 12, 2016
The Touch ID lock on your iPhone isn’t cop-proof – May 11, 2016
U.S. government wants your fingerprints to unlock your phone – May 1, 2016
Should you disable Touch ID for your own security? – May 9, 2016
U.S. government wants your fingerprints to unlock your phone – May 1, 2016
Virginia police can now force you to unlock your smartphone with your fingerprint – October 31, 2014
Apple’s Touch ID may mean U.S. iPhone 5s users can’t ‘take the fifth’ – September 12, 2013
Apple’s iPhone 5S with biometric identification: Big Brother’s dream? – September 11, 2013


    1. I was wondering if there was a way that one could set the iPhone to limit the amount of onboard data stored and simply use iCloud or some other cloud service as those use different passwords. This way, you could give them the iPhone pass code without providing any real data.

    1. RK, you went off your meds again. We’re going to have to send those nice young men in their clean white clothes to come and take you away haha, hoho, hehe…

      (Anyone get that reference?)

      1. “They’re Coming to Take me Away,” Napoleon XIV, circa 1966.

        I confess to being old enough to remember when this played on the radio. *AM* Radio 🙂

      2. Very typical of you to make such an ad hominem attack, especially since you have nothing to add about the topic at hand. Typical for citizens of a terrorist nation in denial.

        1. You want to be treated with respect on this forum? Then stop being such a prat and posting nonsensical drivel. Your narcissistic and vacuous comments are meant to insult and divide, which speaks volumes about the kind of human being you really are. So you shouldn’t be surprised to occasionally receive feedback in kind. Grow up!

          1. Again you miss the point totally. I don’t care about getting any respect, I know MDN’s home country is a terroristic nation and as a result many of the citizens from there don’t respect anyone. The Guantanamotrumpo on the Bay is full proof of that and when it comes to your country being narcissistic and vacuous it’s mission accomplished.

            It’s so totally not the point, the topic of discussion is the point. MDN put up an article, made a point and I agreed with that point. All you did and continue to do is attempt to insult me, which is fine but you added nothing, absolutely nothing to the topic at had.

            I’d ask you to act in a civilized manner but I think that would not be very patriotic for you.

            So I’ll just point out, again of your impotency to deal with the topic at hand, so by all means continue your insults, I’d rather be childish than a citizen of a terrorist nation.

            1. Antidepressants such as Prozac, Celexa and Zoloft are commonly prescribed for anger issues. These drugs do not specifically target anger within the body, but they do have a calming effect that can support control of rage and negative emotion.

              Just tryin’ to help sweetheart. 😘

            2. That’s great JWSC, I’ll certainly consider that if I ever get angry enough to torture people, deny them justice and invade and slaughter others.

              Now as to your point about the issue about the Florida man sentenced to jail. Oh you still haven’t made one.

              Maybe you should consider removing the stars and skid marks from up your ass so you can think clearly. It might help.

      3. That wasn’t that long ago (1966). “They’re coming to take me away. Ha-Haaa!” by Napolean XIV. I remember it well. It was quite the hit for a very short while — especially with pre-teens and early teens, which can easily get fixated on such stuff.

        But, I agree with your overall sentiment. Trying to tie the fact that Judges rule differently until a superior court makes a blanket ruling to any form of decay of society is pure lunacy. Judges have disagreed for centuries — long before the U.S. ever existed. Judges will disagree for centuries to come. This has nothing to do with the overall state of society. It is fantasy to think otherwise.

        Now if you want to go back to a song that illustrates someone getting the wrong impression in the wrong situation try, “Silhouettes”. (1957)

        1. I grew up within the Cleveland Ohio broadcasting area watching The Ghoul as a young boy and he played that song over many times – got stuck in my head. Loved that song. Silhouettes – good one! 👍🏻

    1. Not if one is a constitutor and surety for the debts of the United States having volunteered, knowingly and/or unknowingly, to act in the capacity of a public trustee. You see, when an agent for the United States for and on the behalf of the beneficiary, requires the trustee (the volunteer) to perform a duty for the benefit of the beneficiary, then the trustee has no choice in the matter but to perform as required/ordered, because of their voluntary election to make use of private property that belongs to the beneficiary.

    2. Depends on whether you agree a password has intrinsic linguistic meaning. If not it cannot be considered ‘testimony’. Also the judge could have simply ordered “open the device” which requires no divulging of any passcode or password and refusal would mean ‘contempt’. 5th does not protect you in either case.

    1. Maxim of Equity…”Equity will not aid a volunteer.” If one has volunteered to be surety, constitutor and trustee for all of the debts of the United States, then they have in fact exchanged all of their God-given UNALIENABLE RIGHTS for mere revocable privileges (inalienable rights), otherwise known as civil rights.

      So then, yes, if one has elected to do this, and most certainly does look like everyone has because of their use of Federal Reserve Notes, then one has indeed surrendered their sovereignty to be self-governing, by exchanging their unalienable rights for virtually no rights whatsoever. So then, yes, the one doing this no longer has the right to not self-incriminate. For one has volunteered, knowingly and/or unknowingly, to be governed from an outside source instead of from within.

      “As regards the first set of dangers, it behooves
      us to remember that men can never escape being
      governed. Either they must govern themselves or
      they must submit to being governed by others. If
      from lawlessness or fickleness, from folly or self-
      indulgence, they refuse to govern themselves, then
      most assuredly in the end they will have to be
      governed from the outside. THEY CAN PREVENT THE
      A sovereign can not make excuses for his failures;
      a sovereign must accept the responsibility for the
      exercise of the power that inheres in him; and
      where, as is true in our Republic, the people are
      sovereign, then the people must show a sober under
      standing and a sane and steadfast purpose if they
      are to preserve that orderly liberty upon which as
      a foundation every republic must rest.”

      ~President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, Jamestown Exposition speech, April 26 of 1907, 21st paragraph

        1. It is not surprising at all how so few know and understand the difference between that which is public, and that which is private. This is a fine example of that fact. Plus, the maxim of law states, “Fraud is hidden in generalities,” and there is absolutely nothing specific about what this fraudster said. Needless to say, you’ve given the patent answer for the common volunteer surety, constitutor and public trustee. Congratulations are due, but not from me.

          But, what is even better, is the fact that you do not know how you volunteered, much less how to correct that mistake. So then, the record for such benighted individuals shows that you are recognized as a 2nd class 14th amendment citizen of the United States of the legislative democracy, not of the Republic.

          1. Yes yes and defend your self in court. Don’t let them run you over. Demand due process. Pay all debts, public and private in legal currency, either gold or silver certificate from pre 1914 or in actual gold or silver coins – yadda yadda.

            I have spent many nights chatting up a storm with Citizens of these united states. I am from Northern California, and know people who only live on the barter system.

            I know the talking points. The problem is, UCC 1-207 doesn’t do anything for you. You can be under duress. The judge doesn’t care. There are no secret codes or words you can say to invoke some different set of laws or rules. There are no such things as 14th Amendment citizens vs actual Citizens. You don’t knowingly or unknowingly give up your rights. They were already there and the Constitution is an affirmation of those rights. But guess what? That’s not going to cover your butt when no one else cares. You step out of the country, you are on your own. Step into the wrong court room, good luck. It’s all arbitrary.

            1. No, I said nothing of the like. How silly of you to go so far off on this gobbledygook tangent in the patriot-sovereignty tripe. I said nothing close to the patriot sovereign-citizen tripe that you’ve spewed.

              I am talking Equity and Trusts.
              I repeat, I am talking Equity and Trusts; not,
              the statues, codes, rules, regulations, Acts, and/or International Treaties that govern the commercial “At War” world of commerce. That world is only for the volunteer surety, constitutor and slave/citizen of the United States under the 14th amendment codicil of the Bankruptcy Charter.

              If you would have ever run across the, Legacy Video’s by Bernice Speakman, The Art of Passing the Buck, Bogart on Trusts, the 20 Maxim’s of Equity, which Christian Walters does a great job of expounding upon in his Talkshoes, specifically the series title, With Eyes of Equity, then you might, MIGHT, have some idea of what I am alluding too. However, there is no evidence that you do, unfortunately.

              The original Trust documents for the great American Republic is worded In Equity. Even the Constitution of 1791 is an Express Trust worded in Equity. But, I do not expect you to know, much less understand this, as you have elected to believe that the Constitution, again, which is a Charter of Bankruptcy, is where your Rights come from. That’s a hoot!

              That Charter has got nothing to do with you, and if you dare to use to it to try and claim rights from it, you most certainly do deserve what you get. (Maxim of Law: He who bares the benefit shall also bare the burden).

              Furthermore, any kind of reliance upon a bankruptcy document speaks loudly that one is not only NON-self-governing, but also cannot, or will not, speak for themselves. (Only a slave uses an Attorney to speak for them as they are incompetent to do so for themselves) Therefore, from all of this, one can easily see that all that one has left is an incomplete picture and understanding of who they are, and how they fit in to history all the way to this very present moment. But, even more specially, why and how the original record attached to them has one heck of a tremendous mistake still with it, as that MISTAKE has not yet been corrected.

              Which brings me to this question.

              I only want to know one thing from you Gollum, what did you do, if you have done anything at all with the original document that your Mom and Dad created the day you were born of a woman under the law in/at a founding hospital?

            2. My response is to the cult like rhetoric you are using to cloud the subject. We are talking the same thing. I picked up on it from your initial reply. There is literally nothing you can do to change your status in this world other to have so much money as to buy your way. There is only the class defined by how much you are worth – or maybe another way, convince others you are worth. I don’t like it, but as much as Darwin saw enough to determine a theory of evolution, it is painfully obvious, money speaks and there no “club” you can belong to, by staking claim to some esoteric citizenship. At this point it’s cultish, likening to Scientology.

            3. As I said before, “No, we are not talking the same thing,” and your willful attempt to make what I have said be the same as what you have spewed is of utter incompetence compromised by willful ignorance. It other words, it is pathetic because you cannot and do not know the difference.

              Again, I said nothing of, “Changing status.” How silly of you. YOU spoke of that patriot-sovereign-citizen gobbledygook, I did not. (Look up the term status and learn something about it and cease taking its meaning for granted) I spoke of changing the original record. That has nothing to do with status. What I spoke of is a far cry from the patriot gobbledygook that you are spewing. But, since you’ve attempted to once again muddy-the-waters of public and private so as to deceive and cause confusion, I now suspect you are with an anterior motive, which is why you have avoided answering the ONLY question that matters.

              Now, why would you avoid a very easily answer question that I posed at the end of my previous post? It will be most interesting to see if you still do. Nonetheless, that question still remains unanswered and that my fine patriot infected friend is a dishonor on your part. So then, what did you do with the original statement and/or application of live birth created by Mom and Dad? Have you done anything with it at all? Or, I do accept your silence on this matter as testimony to what I have already suspected and proclaimed…that…a profound level of willful ignorance is being employed by you to cause confusion?

            4. You have been really good at insulting me. I gather you continue while thinking that you care, however you should respond with dignity instead of leading on with insults.

              You have given me little reason to trust you, to provide any forgoing details about myself. Why don’t you just state what needs to be done with a CoB.

              Part of the problem is the complexity and mystery about your writings. This doesn’t have to be complex or secretive. I can’t not believe that any agency registers a new birth with symbolism and intent to defraud the child of their rights. They aren’t given. They just are.

            5. Your failure to answer the question, which really has a very-very simple answer, speaks volumes, and it testifies to the fact that you do not know, that you do not know, that you do not know. Oh well. The real question to be answer was if you knew that you did not know, instead of avoiding that you do not know. You have been talking law absent equity, and I have been talking Equity through which a true private trust is administrated. The two are worlds apart, and this is why you do not know, that you do not know, that you do not know. Now, you can be mad, angry and upset and call all the reprimands insults as you wish. It does not change the facts that the law, which you perpetuate, is in fact a curse, and that Equity is the ONLY cure for that curse.

              So then, as I am busy drafting drawings for three new stores at the moment, and I do not foresee any time in the future to continue with this “transaction,” as there has been no true equal exchange of ideas and though in Equity that honors, “Equity delights in equality,” and/or, “Equality is Equity.” (Aequalitus est quasi equitas) You have not added to this so-called thread/conversation, but you have taken away. That is why the law absent equity is in fact, “Negative Equity.” because this. For your focus is law based, and the law is a curse, which is why, “The law is nothing without equity, and equity is everything, even without the law.” Even in these few things that I have written of herein this thread I have given you help and aid to see. But, you will not see, because you do not know, that you do not know, that you do not know.

              Furthermore, I have absolutely NO REASON, intent and/or motivation to give you any reason to trust me whatsoever. You can’t even trust yourself to know that you know that you know, which again, is why you do not know that you do not know that you do not know. If you never learn to trust yourself, and what you have already been given, then you will never-ever be able to trust anyone else. This is a foregone conclusion and fact-of-life. Nevertheless, you still have the audacity to suggest that a reprimand for your ignorance of these things being pointed out to you is insulting, while you dare to demand that which you cannot handle be openly revealed to you. Oh my, but how benighted of you. You make me laugh. But, do not be mad, upset and/or angry. Learn from it and do not allow your not knowing to control you.

              So then, your silence is construed to be acceptance that you do not know what to do with that original document, much less what kind of a document it is. That, in and of itself, would give away the baby with the bathwater; and, if you did know, then you would also know that such a thing is not harmful to speak of, except in the presents of those that are NOT YET ready to deal with it honorably.

            6. You write like an alchemist. I am only ignorant to those things that haven’t been revealed to me. You surely were once in my place, and now speak arrogantly. This suggests that maybe you are not mature enough to be a teacher. You don’t really care about me but care about showing off. Therefor I have no reason to trust you. Rumsfeld said there are known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns. Not that I care to quote his words but it makes a sense.

              I called you to the mat and now you are showing off. There’s no need for ones existence to be so complicated in both life and religion.

              Go off to the red forest and continue your games or indulge me as you were once indulged by someone who cared enough to give you respect and laid it all out for you. However I suspect you won’t. You will either not respond or you will continue to talk in circles, as a troll might do.

              This is like one of those ads, that promises something great but goes on about how great it is, without getting to the point.

            7. Silly boy…good bye, Gollum.

              This kind of emotional and pathetic response is not only childish, but is also precisely why you do not know that you do not know, that you do not know, the difference between public and private, much less the difference between law and Equity.

              Equity is King!
              The law is a curse that was ADDED because of transgressions of ignorance just like the one that you have so well documented of yourself, by yourself, and for yourself.

              Therefore, in honor of, “Equity will not aid a volunteer,” nor will, “Equity complete an imperfect gift.” Neither of which, ye have any understanding of the magnitude thereof, which is a good thing too. For ye are not ready to undertake all of the duties that go with that great and tremendous responsibilities of self-governance. Therefore, you are still required “by law” to be governed from the outside, just as President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt warned the American people would be done. Congratulations. You are a sterling example of exactly why the PUBLIC NOTICE AND WARNING was very much needed to be given.

            8. Explain how equity could resolve a perfectly spelled out and signed contract, that hasn’t been fulfilled?

              Why is Jared Kushner going after tenants that clearly had equitable reasons for not completing their leases, such as black mold, where the previous land lords released them of their obligation?

              Law is the King’s Court. Equity is the spirit of intent, the Church’s Court.

              How can you say Equity is King, when it’s Mercy?

    2. The answer to your question will likely depend on how far the Supreme Court thinks the definition of self-incrimination (“being witness against himself”, to quote the exact wording from the US constitution) goes.

      The opposing argument is that 634256 cannot be construed as testimony against oneself (that was, by the way, my made-up passcode example). That particular sequence of numbers has practically no meaning whatsoever, in any context.

      Lawyers will likely continue to argue over the definition of testimony. For the longest time, testimony meant something that you say, the meaning of which can be easily understood. And, if we take it even further, the quote from the constitution doesn’t even mention testimony in its broader sense; it actually says “witness against himself”. Witness is a person who had heard or seen something and is testifying about that something. In other words, while definition of a testimony may be broader to include expert opinion on specific matter, witness testimony narrows it down to recounting events (or places/things) as remembered.

      So, even with the broad definition of testimony (recollection of events, or expert opinion on specific subject), and especially with the narrower definition of being a witness (against oneself), it requires a bit of a legal tap-dance to include in it an abstract numeric (or even alphanumeric, as in common word) sequence that has no meaning in any language. About the only way I could imagine someone could “plead the 5th” on the request for password to a computer is if that password was “IkilledLauraPalmer” (and if the person was actually accused of murder of Laura Palmer, regardless of whether he did it or not).

  1. I am playing the devil’s advocate here (just to be very clear to some of the forum members who have the knee-jerk syndrome):

    “Sometimes the law gets too cute. We shouldn’t leave common sense out of the equation. The process is the same thing. You’re getting access to someone’s most private information by forcing someone to give you the key. (as quoted by MDN)

    What this attorney described was exactly what a law enforcement officer with a warrant is legally entitled to do (access someone’s most private information by compelling that someone to allow access to his property).

    As for the other MDN quote:

    …”nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself,… (US constitution, 5th amendment), the argument is that being a witness against oneself is a completely different thing from giving law enforcement access to your property for lawful search (upon presentation of court-ordered search warrant).

    As much as I’m on the side of libertarians, who want to invoke the US constitution in their defense against the court asking for their password, calling that passcode a testimony against oneself, I’m afraid that that defense is a long legal stretch.

    In other words, I can clearly see powerful legal arguments on both sides, which may well mean that the substance behind case is ripe for the Supreme Court.

    1. This is why John Bouvier wrote, “The law is nothing without equity, and equity is everything, even without the law.” If one elects to use the law it will cut them as much as it will cut the one it is being used against. No wonder the law absent equity is a curse, and the law is a double edged sword.

      If only people knew and understood why, “Equity is King,” and brought in equity wherever and whenever the law is being used alone, then this kind of mischievousness would never take place as Equity will not allow for such folly. However, the law absent equity, will allow for such folly.

      1. For those that wish to be under the law…that is to say under a curse, then know well what is written of the requirements that you must keep without question. “Ignorance of the law is no excuse.” Have fun with that, since there are over 80-million laws in over 3-million books of law in the Library of Congress.

    1. I posited this to a friend.

      Several issues. They pretty much know what’s on the phone and he did give them a passcode.

      So he’s a bit screwed.

      To invoke the the 5th, and this is where I need some assistance. They can’t know what’s inside the phone, and you have to not give them any code at all. As it stands he appears to be obstructing justice. If data is destroyed by giving a false code, then it’s destruction of evidence – a willful act.

      The way to prove they know what’s on the phone, is to have another phone with data that came from his, such as a text or incriminating message.

      So the 5th may not apply at all.

      If in deed he is guilty of something, 180 days in the slammer is not a bad deal.

      I have heard of journalists going to jail for 180 days, under the similar pretext, not revealing sources. Interestingly enough. Trump wants journalists to reveal their sources, as some sort of test. That violates the 1st Amendment.

        1. Look, you can try anything in the court of law. But will it stand the test of an appellate court? Lawyers, prosecutors and judges try all sorts of things. Sometimes holding to a conservative stance, will the decision hold up?

          What we discuss here are all valid arguments, and opinions. Testable.

          The guy is going to spend 180 days in jail for contempt. Not really enough time to contest.

          If he is a part of a ring and they know what’s on his phone. That’s soft ground. Suspicion is not enough, I would think, they know what’s there. And it would seem he agreed to cooperate. Do you think a defendant can change their mind? What if he lied, hoping they would erase his phone? At some point he might relinquish his rights. I wonder what his lawyer told him to do?

          Can a defendant change their mind and still not be held in contempt of court? The prior suspect didn’t get contempt, because he was already in jail and they waited six months to ask him for his pass code. It’s reasonable to consider he forgot it.

  2. Go after the little guy, who can’t pay for a good lawyer. Guilty, or not, if the passcode is given and things are revealed that would incriminate someone, how can the fifth not be applied? Rulings like this pave the way for any law enforcement agency/court to violate ones privacy at any time.

      1. It’s your country and your constitution, but as I argued above, calling password (or safe combination) a testimony is a legal stretch, based on the volumes of available jurisprudence in your country.

        The line in the constitution (as quoted by MDN and yourself, above) mentions being witness against oneself. The legal (as well as common sense) definition of the term witness is someone who is giving recollection of events, places and thingns, to the best of his, well, recollection. The testimony obtained from a witness is, by its nature, narrative. There is simply no way such testimony could be abstract, as it provides an answer to a specific question. (“What is your phone passcode?” “628912.” How does the number 628912 incriminate anyone?)

        This is clearly for the US Supreme Court to set a precedent. And it will be interesting to see if the originalists will prevail, defining the meaning of testimony as narrowly as it was originally specified in the constitution ( “…be a witness against himself…”), or will the court interpret the law keeping in mind that the world has changed since the 18th century.

  3. Why do I like this? On appeal this 180 day sentence will be DESTROYED. And it’s about time.

    5th Amendment to the US Constitution

    No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


    Miranda warning

    • You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions.
    • Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law.
    • You have the right to consult an attorney before speaking to the police and to have an attorney present during questioning now or in the future.
    • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.
    • If you decide to answer questions now without an attorney present, you will still have the right to stop answering at any time until you talk to an attorney.
    • Knowing and understanding your rights as I have explained them to you, are you willing to answer my questions without an attorney present?

    THERE, totalitarian a-holes are your two targets. Destroy these two LAWS in the USA and you can kill the right of US citizens to remain SILENT!

    Meanwhile, US citizens, our right to remain SILENT! remains. And any judge who states otherwise is either a traitor or a fraud.

    I said fraud. Fake News. Fake Presidents. Fake judges.

    It’s great to know the laws of my land. I intend to follow them.

    1. Personally, I had always taken that first right to remain silent as valid only until you enter a Court where the charges are deliberated. The judge (or jury) at that point is representing ‘law’ to determine innocence or guilt. Any obstruction of that process within those confines can be deemed ‘contempt’.

      1. There is no ‘contempt’ if a citizen ‘takes the fifth’. That is very US citizen’s right. However, a judge and/or jury is perfectly within their rights to infer WHY a person took the fifth. Depending up on the circumstances, it can infer guilt. But calling it ‘contempt is not correct. There would have to be some actual contempt involved. Remaining ‘silent’ is never contempt IF you are the accused. If you’re merely a witness and plead the fifth, THEN you can get slapped with contempt and rightfully so. That’s obstruction. There is no ‘fifth’ for anyone but the accused.

        I’ve been over this many times with many people. I’m no lawyer of judge. But I can read and comprehend the meaning of what I read. I enjoy pointing out the law as it is written for other people to read and comprehend. I of course express my opinion, analysis, interpretation. But I’m not the judge…

        1. I will agree the 5th is a special case. The judge in his/her own courtroom however is final arbiter so may interpret one way or another on any given point including what is valid under the 5th in their own courtroom. Whether that later gets appealed is another matter.

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