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AlexiaEsq.
AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Criminal Law.
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Is it typical, in-part, to start a civil suit in the efforts

Resolved Question:

Is it typical, in-part, to start a civil suit in the efforts to legally gather evidence to pursue a criminal arrest and if so can you say so during or after that civil suit?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  AlexiaEsq. replied 6 years ago.
Hi,

With regard to your post:

Is it typical, in-part, to start a civil suit in the efforts to legally gather evidence to pursue a criminal arrest and if so can you say so during or after that civil suit?


No, I would not say that that is typical at all. But it does not mean it is not an excellent idea, at times. I often do ask people who feel that they have been the victim of a crime, but where the police choose not to take action, either investigate or charge the perpetrator - to consider filing a civil suit because they do not need the approval of the police or prosecutor AND they may get redress, such as a civil judgment for money against the defendant. And, as you astutely pointed out, they also get the power to subpoena evidence from 3rd parties with knowledge as well as demand discovery from the defendant, all of which may reveal a crime. And it is possible that with that discovery, assuming no statute of limitations issues arise, will be something the police or prosecutor would then take a look at.

You can certainly exercise free speech and tell the person you plan on getting enough evidence here, to convince the authorities to press charges, but that may be not so wise, from a strategy point of view. First, you are showing your hand. Second, the mention of criminal proceedings may remind this civil defendant that he can invoke his 5th amendment right. As noted in McCarthy v. Arndstein, "The privilege is not ordinarily dependent upon the nature of the proceeding in which the testimony is sought or is to be used. It applies alike to civil and criminal proceedings, wherever the answer might tend to subject to criminal responsibility him who gives it."
McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U.S. 34, 45 S.Ct. 16, 17 (U.S. 1924).

Hope this helps!

Because I help people like you here, for a living---this is not a hobby for me, and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX abiding by the honor system as regards XXXXX XXXXX I wish you the best in your future.

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