Can Defendant Compel Testimony Claiming the Fifth Amendment ?
A criminal defendant has the right to "have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor." TEX. CODE CRIM. PROC. ANN. art. 1.05 (Vernon 1977).
This fundamental right is rooted in the Sixth Amendment and applied to the States by the Fourteenth Amendment. Washington v. Texas, 388 U.S. 14, 18-19, 18 L. Ed. 2d 1019, 87 S. Ct. 1920 (1967); U.S. CONST. amends VI & XIV; see also TEX. CONST. art. 1, 10.
However, an individual's constitutional right against self-incrimination is superior to the constitutional right to compulsory process. Ellis v. State, 683 S.W.2d 379, 383 (Tex. Crim. App. 1984).
A defendant cannot compel testimony from a person claiming the Fifth Amendment. See id.
For a question to implicate a person's Fifth Amendment rights, "it need only be evident from the implications of the question, in the setting in which it is asked, that a responsive answer to the question or an explanation of why it cannot be answered might be dangerous because injurious disclosure could result." Hoffman v. United States, 341 U.S. 479, 486-87, 95 L. Ed. 1118, 71 S. Ct. 814 (1951).