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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 236277 Find in a Library
Title: Perjury
Journal: American Criminal Law Review  Volume:48  Issue:2  Dated:Spring 2011  Pages:997-1023
Author(s): Daniel J. McGinn-Shapiro
Date Published: 2011
Page Count: 27
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This overview of the three Federal statutes that criminalize perjury (sections 1621-1623 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code) focuses on elements of the offense, defenses, and sentencing.
Abstract: Section 1621 is the general perjury statute; section 1622 criminalizes the subornation of perjury; and 1623 pertains to perjury before a grand jury. Section 1621, the broadest of the three Federal perjury statutes, applies to all material statements or information provided under oath to “a competent tribunal, officer, or person,” in any case in which a law of the United States authorizes an oath to be administered. Defendants have successfully argued in some cases that the oath they took was not “before a competent tribunal, officer, or person.” Section 1622 prohibits convincing another person to commit “any perjury,” whether under the requirements of sections 1621 or 1623. For a conviction to be obtained, the witness involved must have actually committed perjury. Section 1623 is intended to “facilitate perjury prosecutions and thereby enhance the reliability of testimony before Federal courts and grand juries.” The statute applies only to statements or information provided under oath “in any proceeding before or ancillary to any court or grand jury of the United States.” The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an oath was administered prior to testimony, the witness intended to commit perjury, statements made under oath were false, and the false statements were material to the charges brought. Defenses available to defendants under sections 1621 and 1623 are similar. They involve recantation of the false statement, the inadequacy of counsel, double-jeopardy arguments, the construction of a “perjury trap,” and fifth-amendment considerations. The article concludes with an overview of sentencing under the perjury statutes. 179 notes
Main Term(s): Court procedures
Index Term(s): Defense; Federal legislation; Federal sentencing guidelines; Perjury; Sentencing/Sanctions; Witnesses
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