Nebraska Revised Statute 29-2011.02
Witnesses; refusal to testify or provide information; court order for testimony or information; limitation on use.
Whenever a witness refuses, on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination, to testify or to provide other information in a criminal proceeding or investigation before a court, a grand jury, the Auditor of Public Accounts, the Legislative Council, or a standing committee or a special legislative investigative or oversight committee of the Legislature, the court, on motion of the county attorney, other prosecuting attorney, Auditor of Public Accounts, chairperson of the Executive Board of the Legislative Council, or chairperson of a standing or special committee of the Legislature, may order the witness to testify or to provide other information. The witness may not refuse to comply with such an order of the court on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination, but no testimony or other information compelled under the court's order or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information may be used against the witness in any criminal case except in a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or failing to comply with the order of the court.
A court is not obligated under this section to notify a defendant when the State offers a witness immunity. State v. Lierman, 305 Neb. 289, 940 N.W.2d 529 (2020).
The language of this section, and the case law interpreting it, provides that because the Legislature has given courts the power to immunize a witness solely upon the request of the prosecutor, it is not a power the court can exercise upon the request of the defendant or upon its own initiative. State v. Lierman, 305 Neb. 289, 940 N.W.2d 529 (2020).
This section does not require that the invocation of privilege be done before a jury in order for immunity to be granted. State v. Draper, 289 Neb. 777, 857 N.W.2d 334 (2015).
Trial courts in Nebraska do not have inherent authority to confer immunity. In a criminal proceeding, a court's authority to grant immunity to a witness who refuses to testify on the basis of the privilege against self-incrimination comes from this section. State v. Robinson, 271 Neb. 698, 715 N.W.2d 531 (2006).
This section does not authorize a grant of immunity to any witness except upon the motion of the prosecuting attorney. State v. Starks, 229 Neb. 482, 427 N.W.2d 297 (1988).
Where a defendant has testified in a previous criminal case under a lawful grant of immunity, the sentencing court in a subsequent criminal case cannot consider such testimony or any information directly or indirectly derived from it in determining whether a death sentence should be imposed under the provisions of section 29-2523 and related statutes. State v. Jones, 213 Neb. 1, 328 N.W.2d 166 (1982).
Absent a motion from the prosecuting attorney, a trial court does not have the authority to grant immunity to a witness under this section. State v. Sanchez-Lahora, 9 Neb. App. 621, 616 N.W.2d 810 (2000).