Is a judge allowed to threaten me with contempt of court for telling the truth?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is a judge allowed to threaten me with contempt of court for telling the truth?

I was on trial for rape, a fabricated
story from a fellow inmate in the county
jail because I was supplying him with
drugs. The judge told me that I was not
allowed to get on the stand and mention
that the fabricated story occurred over
him owing me money for the drugs and him
not wanting to pay me. She demanded that
I get on the stand and tell the jury
that it happened over commissary instead
of drugs because ‘it would mess up the
states case’

Asked on May 5, 2018 under Criminal Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you may not be threatened with contempt or punishment for telling the truth, and judge has NO right to tell you what to say in court: this is a violation of judicial ethics, court rules, and the law. Do not lie and do not say what the judge wants you to say, if it would be bad for you. Tell the truth and if the judge does try to impose punishment, you may well have a civil rights case against the judge and court--if the judge doesn't let you tell the truth or punishes you for doing so, retain a lawyer (if you can) to help bring a case (and take any other appropriate action) or contact an organization like the ACLU to help you. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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