Subornation of Perjury

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Subornation of Perjury

The criminal offense of procuring another to commit perjury, which is the crime of lying, in a material matter, while under oath.

It is a criminal offense to induce someone to commit perjury. In a majority of states, the offense is defined by statute.

Under federal Criminal Law (18 U.S.C.A. § 1622), five elements must be proved to convict a person of subornation of perjury. It first must be shown that the defendant made an agreement with a person to testify falsely. There must be proof that perjury has in fact been committed and that the statements of the perjurer were material. The prosecutor must also provide evidence that the perjurer made such statements willfully with knowledge of their falsity. Finally, there must be proof that the procurer had knowledge that the perjurer's statements were false.

When there is a criminal conspiracy to suborn perjury, the conspirators may be prosecuted whether or not perjury has been committed. It is also quite common to join both subornation of perjury and Obstruction of Justice counts in a single indictment when they arise from the same activity.

The Federal Sentencing Guidelines recognize two types of circumstances that enhance the criminal sentence for subornation of perjury. An offense causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage, in order to suborn perjury is one circumstance. The other is when subornation of perjury resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice, which includes a premature or improper termination of a felony investigation, an indictment, a verdict, or any judicial determination based on perjury, false testimony, or other false evidence, or the unnecessary expenditure of substantial government or court resources.

Under 18 U.S.C.A. § 1622, a person convicted of subornation of perjury may be fined $2,000 and sentenced to up to five years in prison.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

subornation of perjury

n. the crime of encouraging, inducing or assisting another in the commission of perjury, which is knowingly telling an untruth under oath. Example: lawyer Frank Foghorn is interviewing a witness in an accident case who tells Foghorn that Foghorn's client was jaywalking outside the crosswalk when struck by the defendant's car. Foghorn tells the witness to help his client by saying the accident occurred in the crosswalk and the witness so testifies in court. Foghorn is guilty of subornation of the witness' perjury. (See: perjury)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

SUBORNATION OF PERJURY, crim. law. The procuring another to commit legal perjury, who in consequence of the persuasion takes the oath to which be has been incited. Hawk. B. 1, c. 69, s. 10.
     2. To complete the offence, the false oath must be actually taken, and no abortive attempt (q.v.) to solicit will complete the crime. Vide To Dissuade; To persuade.
     3. But the criminal solicitation to commit perjury, though unsuccessful, is a misdemeanor at common law. 2 East, Rep. 17; 6 East, R. 464; 2 Chit. Crim. Law, 317; 20 Vin. Ab. 20. For a form of an indictment for an attempt to suborn a person to commit perjury, vide 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 480; Vin. Ab. h.t.
     4. The act of congress of March 3, 1825, Sec. 13, provides, that if any person shall knowingly or willfully procure any such perjury, mentioned in the act, to be committed, every such person so offending, shall be guilty of subornation of perjury, and shall, on conviction thereof, be punished by fine, not exceeding two thousand dollars, and by imprisonment and confinement to hard labor, not exceeding five years, according to the aggravation of the offence.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
exists between witness preparation and suborning perjury. I will also
In fact, lawyers have a duty to do just that under what are called "ethics rules." (5) Although these rules prescribe strict confidentiality, they do not exempt lawyers from the statutory ban on directly suborning perjury. Thus was born the mutual dance of "don't ask, don't tell" that has become the subsurface minuet in so many lawyers' offices.
I would be accused of suborning perjury. I would spend the rest of my life doing real estate closings.
While people overwhelmingly said Clinton should not be impeached or resign for having a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, and a majority did not even think that perjury would warrant his removal, a majority consistently favored impeachment when asked specifically about suborning perjury. A News Interest Index poll released April 3 found that when asked only about the sexual relationship, 40 percent favored impeachment; when asked specifically about the president committing perjury, the number climbed to 45 percent; but when the question was put in terms of encouraging Lewinsky to lie under oath, 54 percent supported Clinton being removed from office.
After eluding the independent counsel in the murk of Whitewater, Clinton now has to contend with charges of perjury, suborning perjury, and obstruction of justice in the Paula Jones case.
Starr seems to have started down the Lewinsky path, via tape recordings made by Linda Tripp, hoping that evidence of suborning perjury would strong-arm First Friend Vernon Jordan into cooperating with his investigation--probably a doomed strategy anyway.
There remain credible suspicions of suborning perjury and obstruction of justice in the same matter, and there reportedly are issues of further and more serious perjury in Clinton's August testimony to the grand jury.