Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury is a signed statement, sworn to be true by the signer, that will make the signer guilty of the crime of perjury. If the statement is shown to be materially false, the lie is relevant and significant to the case.
Subornation of Perjury
Subornation of perjury is the offence of persuading someone to commit perjury. It may be applicable to attorneys falsely presenting testimonies or affidavits by representing another. In order to convict a person of subornation of perjury, the following five elements must be proved.
1. That the defendant made an agreement with a person to testify falsely,
2. That perjury has in fact been committed and that the statements of the perjurer were material,
3. That the perjurer made such statements willfully with knowledge of their falsity,
4. That the procurer had knowledge that the perjurer's statements were false.
Perjury is the crime of making a knowingly false statement which bears on the outcome of an official proceeding that is required to be testified to under oath. A statement is made under oath when 1) the statement was made on or pursuant to form bearing notice, authorized by law, to the effect that false statements made therein are punishable, or 2) the statement recites that it was made under oath, the declarant was aware of such recitation at the time he made the statement and intended that the statement should be represented as a sworn statement, and the statement was signed by an officer authorized to administer oaths.
An oath of truthfulness may be made to a notary public, court clerk or other official. False statements under oath made in testimony in court, administrative hearings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, as well as by signing or acknowledging a written legal document (such as affidavit, declaration under penalty of perjury, deed, license application, tax return) are subject to prosecution for perjury under various state and federal laws.
Penalties for perjury vary greatly, and may be charged as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the facts and law involved. Multiple perjury convictions can result from statements made in the courtroom or in a court proceeding which follow the taking of an oath. Separate false statements may be charged in separate perjury counts if they require different factual proof of their falsehood, even if they are related to the same subject matter.
Perjury trap doctrine refers to a principle that a perjury indictment against a person must be dismissed if the prosecution secures it by calling that person as a grand-jury witness in an effort to obtain evidence for a perjury charge especially when the person’s testimony does not relate to issues material to the ongoing grand-jury investigation. The perjury trap is a form of entrapment defense, and so must be affirmatively proven by the defendant.
The following are examples of some case law on perjury trap:
A perjury trap is created when the government calls a witness before the grand jury for the primary purpose of obtaining testimony from him in order to prosecute him later for perjury. When testimony is elicited before a grand jury that is attempting to obtain useful information in furtherance of its investigation, or conducting a legitimate investigation into crimes which had in fact taken place within its jurisdiction, the perjury trap doctrine is, by definition, inapplicable. [United States v. Chen, 933 F.2d 793 (9th Cir. Guam 1991)]
The phrase ‘perjury trap’ suggests the deliberate use of a judicial proceeding to secure perjured testimony, a concept in itself abhorant.[United States v. Simone, 627 F. Supp. 1264, 1268 (D.N.J. 1986)]
PERJURY + When a person, having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the U.S. authorizes an oath to be administered, that he will testify, declare, depose, or certify truly, or that any written testimony, declaration, deposition, or certificate by him subscribed, is true, willfully and contrary to such oath states or subscribes any material matter which he does not believe to be true; or in any declaration, certificate, verification, or statement under penalty of perjury, willfully subscribes as true any material matter which he does not believe to be true; 18 USC
In order for a person to be found guilty of perjury the government must prove: the person testified under oath before [e.g., the grand jury]; at least one particular statement was false; and the person knew at the time the testimony was false.
The testimony of one witness is not enough to support a finding that the testimony was false. There must be additional evidence, either the testimony of another person or other evidence, which tends to support the testimony of falsity. The other evidence, standing alone, need not convince that the testimony was false, but all the evidence on the subject must do so.
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