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NCJ Number: 64761 Find in a Library
Title: CRIMINAL CODE REFORM BILL OF 1978 AND THE PERIL OF FALSE STATEMENTS (FROM REFORM OF THE FEDERAL CRIMINAL CODE SYMPOSIUM, 1979 - SEE NCJ-64754)
Journal: GEORGE WASHINGTON LAW REVIEW  Volume:47  Issue:3  Dated:(MARCH 1979)  Pages:573-595
Author(s): J K GOLDBERG
Corporate Author: George Washington University
National Law Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE PROPOSED CRIMINAL CODE REFORM BILL, S. 1437, WOULD SUBSTANTIALLY MODIFY THE PRESENT FEDERAL LAW GOVERNING THE CRIMES OF PERJURY AND FALSE STATEMENTS; THE IMPACT OF SUCH A PROVISION IS CONSIDERED.
Abstract: THE STATED PURPOSE OF THE REVISIONS IS TO ELIMINATE THE AMBIGUITIES AND INCONSISTENCIES OF CURRENT LAW. THE IMPLICIT PURPOSE IS TO FACILITATE THE SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION OF PERJURY AND FALSE STATEMENT CHARGES. ALTHOUGH MANY OF THE CHANGES WOULD ACHIEVE THE AVOWED PURPOSE, THEY SHOULD BE REJECTED BECAUSE OF ADVERSE EFFECTS. FIRST, SECTION 1341 OF THE PROPOSED BILL WOULD EXPAND THE CURRENT PERJURY PROVISIONS OF 18 U.S.C. SECTION 1623 BEYOND THEIR ORIGINAL RATIONALE TO INCLUDE ALL STATEMENTS MADE UNDER OATH. IN ADDITION, SECTION 1341 WOULD ELIMINATE THE TWO WITNESS RULE TO ESTABLISH GUILT REGARDING THE FALSITY OF A STATEMENT. ABANDONMENT OF THE RULE WOULD SACRIFICE THE PROTECTION OF WITNESSES FROM RETALIATORY PROSECUTIONS. THE TWO WITNESS RULE MINIMIZES THE FEAR OF HARASSMENT AND ENCOURAGES THE COOPERATION OF WITNESSES AGAINST PROSECUTIONS BASED SOLELY ON THE OATH OF THE ACCUSER. THE PROPOSAL WOULD ALSO MODIFY THE ELEMENTS OF PROOF FOR THE PROSECUTION OF WITNESSES WHO HAVE MADE INCONSISTENT STATEMENTS. SECOND, SECTION 1345 DRASTICALLY CHANGES RECANTATION PROVISIONS BY CONDITIONING THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECANT ON THE SATISFACTION OF TWO REQUIREMENTS. BY LIMITING THE DEFENSE IN THIS MANNER, SECTION 1345 WOULD REDUCE THE POSSIBILITY OF ABUSE AND MAINTAIN THE INTEGRITY OF THE JUDICIAL PROCEEDING. FINALLY, THE PROPOSED DECISION TO TOTALLY ELIMINATE THE EXCULPATORY NO DEFENSE SHOULD BE RECONSIDERED; THIS DEFENSE SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED ONLY IN SITUATIONS IN WHICH THE STATEMENT PERVERTS NO GOVERNMENTAL FUNCTION. FOOTNOTES ARE INCLUDED. (LWM)
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Federal Code; Law reform; Laws and Statutes; Perjury; Symposia; Witnesses
To cite this abstract, use the following link:
http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=64761

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