Plaintiff requests that defendant produces state tax documents. Defendant becomes aware that the documents have been improperly filed and omit earnings. The defendant doesn't want produce the state tax filings and wants to plead the fifth. Can the defendant do so? The fifth seems to cover federal law, and state tax evasion seems like a state issue. Are there provisions in the California constitution that would allow the defendant the right not withhold document production based on a desire to avoid self incrimination?
This is a tricky area of law. Yes, the fifth applies to state stuff too. But it requires a real threat of prosecution, which your facts do not illustrate. And it is on the defendant to demonstrate that his objection applies. The plaintiff merely needs to move to compel responses and show why the documents sought are needed. The judge will then rule on the application of the fifth in the case.
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