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What are the Legal Issues of Perjury

What are the Legal Issues of Perjury

Although lying or misrepresenting oneself seems like a rudimentary violation, the U.S. legal system finds such acts far from juvenile. A miscarriage of justice occurs when a judge or jury wrongly convicts an innocent defendant. Faulty convictions, or a miscarriage of justice, are a direct violation of the Bill of Rights, and thus considered unconstitutional.
 
 
Lying under oath, or to perjure oneself, is considered a miscarriage of justice and is taken very seriously in the United States court system. When an individual is on trial for a crime (civil or criminal) there is a direct group of rights given to him to ensure that the trial is conducted in a fair and speedy manner. These rights are outlined in the Sixth Amendment and are considered the legal guidelines under which a trial is to be conducted.
 
 
Violations against the Sixth Amendment in a courtroom or legal setting are considered illegal and will be enforced accordingly. To perjure, or lie under oath, against a defendant is a common reason for a miscarriage of justice. When under oath, a witness, defendant, or examiner must comply with the laws of the United States and recite the pertinent details or opinions without bias or misinformation. Any violation of this code presents an issue, unless the information was given under false pretenses or the person was literally telling the truth.
 
 
The semantics in the courtroom are imperative to determine a perjury and a subsequent miscarriage of justice. Although there are guidelines for which a miscarriage of justice can fall under, gray areas exist in the form of interpretation or simple misunderstandings. The basis for a miscarriage of justice, or a perjury, revolves around facts or speech that directly affect the outcome of the case.
 
 
Lying about information that is not pertinent or which is not influential in the verdict is not an example of perjury. An individual who lies under oath for a direct benefit, such as a non-guilty sentence, or a lesser conviction, will be guilty of perjury. A perjury, although difficult to prove, comes with a hefty sentence. A person guilty of perjury will face a maximum of 15 years in prison and a minimum penalty of a fine. The level of punishment is based on the severity and intention of the lie.
 
 
Perjury can also work against the defendant if a witness misinforms the jury with the intent to wrongfully convict the accused perpetrator. This form represents a miscarriage of justice and is a direct violation against an individual's Constitutional rights.
   
 
A miscarriage of justice can exist in many forms, but some of the more common cases include: tampering of evidence by law enforcement agents, gross overestimation or underestimation of opinion from an expert witness, and prejudice against the defendant. Cases where someone is wrongly accused represent a miscarriage of justice. 
 
 
The appeals courts of the United States exist for this very reason. If people are found guilty of a crime that they didn't commit, they can have a second chance to state their case or review their original trial to investigate what form of conduct was illegal.
 
 
The importance of the Constitution cannot be understated when referring to a miscarriage of justice. The United States was built on issuing freedoms to its citizens, and no matter the conviction or evidence against individuals, they must be given a trial to prove innocence

Famous United States Cases

Famous United States Cases

With the advancements in technology and the invasive maneuvers of the media, we as Americans often cherish in watching a celebrity fall from grace. Some of the most dramatic and debilitating of these instances are displayed in the form of perjury hearings. Lies told under oath directly affect one's case, are considered miscarriages of justice, and a very serious offense in the United States. 
 
 
Throughout the years many American celebrities, in all realms, have been tangled in perjury convictions. Listed below are a few examples of such cases, their intricacies, and eventual outcomes.
 
 
When elected at 31 years of age, Kwame Kilpatrick was the youngest mayor in the history of Detroit. Kilpatrick's six years as Mayor was constantly marred by scandal and wrongdoing. However, his disgraceful actions reached a tipping point in the summer of 2007. 
 
 
The myriad of problems for Kilpatrick stem back to 2003, when the former Mayor was investigated for illegally firing his ex-bodyguard and the former Deputy Chief of Police. These two men conducted an internal probe to investigate Kilpatrick's personal life, more specifically, the extra-marital affair he was having with his former Chief of Staff, Christine Beatty.
 
 
When the trial began in August of 2007, both Beatty and Kilpatrick vehemently denied accusations of a physical relationship. While under oath, Kilpatrick angrily fired back against accusations of an affair and repeatedly expressed contempt and shock towards the investigation and trial. 
 
 
In September of 2007, the jury sided with the plaintiff and awarded the men a large sum of money for damages. Shortly after the verdict was read, Kilpatrick vowed to appeal the ruling and blamed race as the unrelenting force for such a decision. Kilpatrick's promise to appeal was quickly dropped when over 14,000 text messages surfaced between Beatty and Kilpatrick documenting graphic sexual encounters. To make matters worse, the two exchanged texts regarding romantic getaways paid via the City's funds. 
 
 
The detailed communication between Kilpatrick and Beatty was overwhelming evidence and proved that a drastic act of perjury  was present in the courtroom, including several miscarriages of justice. Both were sentenced to jail (Kilpatrick received 18 months) and ordered to repay monies they used to commit their acts of infidelity. This case is a shining example of the many miscarriages of justice through perjury.
 
 
Bernard Madoff, the most infamous "financial adviser" of all time, conspired his way into billions through an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Madoff was convicted of several miscarriages of justice and sentenced to 150 years in prison and a forfeiture of $170.9 billion dollars in June of 2009. Other than the obvious charges-securities fraud, false statements, and adviser fraud-Madoff was also convicted of perjury, stemming from numerous lies he told throughout his scam. 
 
 
Dating back to 2005, the Securities and Exchange Commission found that Bernie Madoff mislead investigators by lying about the number of assets under management, the amount of investors, and his investment strategy, or lack thereof. 
 
 
Although the SEC failed to investigate the fraudulent business, Madoff voluntarily provided lies that would constitute perjury. If the SEC were to know of the Ponzi Scheme before Madoff admitted guilt, fortunes, as well as considerable time, would have been saved. 
 
 
This represents a drastic miscarriage of justice. If Madoff did not commit perjury and revealed his faulty business model in 2005, hundreds of investors would have been spared.
 
 
President Bill Clinton, involved in perhaps the most famous of perjury case in the history of the United States, was in deep water from his sexual relations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton's lies under oath were not viewed as miscarriages of justice because the Lewinsky sexual harassment case was dropped. 
 
 
Clinton was later acquitted from the charges, but the memory of our President addressing the world over such an absurd issue will never be forgotten.

Miscarriage of Justice

Miscarriage of Justice

According to the Bill of Rights, the Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees an individual a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed.” This right offers a defendant, no matter the severity of the crime, a fair trial and a proper review of all facts in his or her case.
The U.S. Constitution is the general framework upon which our country was built. Upholding the rights of our citizens and maintaining these freedoms is the basic principle of our foundation. When the basic rights of a fair trial are violated, or people are convicted and punished for a crime they did not commit, a drastic miscarriage of justice is present. A mistrial can also work in favor of the defendant, in the form of “errors of impunity,” where lapses in the trial result in a sanction or not-guilty verdict.
Miscarriages of justice are a severe problem in America. Not only do they violate the U.S. Constitution, but they also are difficult to amend. The most serious miscarriages of justice occur when a wrongful conviction is not overturned for years, or when an innocent person unjustly receives the death penalty. Imprisoning, or sometimes even killing innocent people, is a critical shortcoming in our justice system. Although some miscarriages of justice cannot be reconciled, the court system has made a substantial effort to identify common forms of wrongful convictions.
Although difficult to immediately designate, miscarriages of justice are commonly caused by the following instances:
Critical evidence is destroyed or withheld by law enforcement or the prosecution
“Testilying”-a slang word used to describe a witness giving a false testimony to sway the jury or “make the case.” Embellishments, misinformation, or lying are all grounds for a miscarriage of justice.
Any form of prejudice towards the defendant is grounds for a miscarriage of justice. Examples include members of the jury who discriminate or show bigotry based on race or sexual orientation.
False identification by witnesses or victims.
Miscarriages of justice can be present if evidence is contaminated or if forensic tests were administered improperly or deemed faulty.
False confessions are a common form of a miscarriage of justice. A false confession occurs when the defendant will falsely admit guilt due to coercion, a mental disability, or incompetency.
Conspiracy between the judge and the prosecutor to wrongly convict the defendant is considered a miscarriage of justice.
If investigators commit “confirmation basis”, a miscarriage of justice will be upheld. Confirmation basis refers to an investigator misinterpreting evidence to confirm a preconceived notion that he or she had before the trial.
If the expert witness overestimates or underestimates the value of certain evidence, which in turn sways the jury or ruling, grounds for a miscarriages of justice is reached.
When a judge misdirects a jury or makes them focus on information that is not pertinent to the case or influential against the witness.
Wrongful convictions or miscarriages of justice carry a frightening prospect. When innocent people are sent to jail, or even worse, put to death, there is no proper justification or means to right such a horrific wrong. Miscarriages of justice act as a reminder. An umbrella of regulations used to ensure defendants that false convictions are in the conscience of our legal system.
Miscarriages of justice are a critical argument raised by proponents against the death penalty. Advocates point out that numerous individuals have been killed under false convictions. Miscarriages of justice are also used as an example for those against life sentences. The effects of extended imprisonment on an individual’s mind are often irreversible and debilitating. The individual as well as their family will forever be changed due to a violation of the Sixth Amendment.

Purpose of the Oath

Purpose of the Oath

An oath is an elaborate promise of sorts; a statement of fact that is made sacred through a witness of divine intervention. To take an oath is to swear to create a vow with God, which makes such a declaration of truth sacred. The essence of oaths is to force the individual to tell the truth, to dissuade him or her from practicing deceit by making him or her swear or promise to a higher power.
The oath is a tool necessary for justice. It necessitates the truth and administers all those placed under it to be conscientious. The oath goes beyond an honor system. It wouldn’t be difficult for an individual to stand in front of a courtroom and spew lies until a favorable decision is reached.
The power of oaths thus comes in the form of regulation. If one is found guilty of lying under oath, he or she will be convicted of perjury and subsequently punished. The act of perjury is a form of a miscarriage of justice. It is the regulating penalty for which oaths are administered. Committing perjury, or lying under oath, is a very serious violation under the law and can carry a maximum sentence of up to 15 years in Federal prison. 
   
Swearing in the witness was practiced at the time of our Constitution. It is a necessary resource used to uphold the rights of American citizens. 
Although the oath has been commonly associated with religion and linked to God, the use of the Bible or phrase “I swear to God” is not mandatory. Courts provide leeway for those who are atheist or who follow different religions. This notion must be separated from the oath itself, which is indeed mandatory. 
There have been numerous cases across the country where an individual refuses to take an oath and consequently ends up in jail for contempt.
There have been legal semantics of why these penalties are given, but most revolve “disrespecting the court”, as well as contempt. An oath is bound by law and must be followed by both the defendant and prosecutor of a trial. If it is left ignored, the individuals risk a loss of the case or additional legal repercussions

Objections to Oaths You Didn’t Know

Objections to Oaths You Didn't Know

The main objection in regards to swearing in a witness is the religious implication, as well as influences attached to the oath. With numerous biblical references, the process of swearing in a witness is dated, and to many archaic. The main goal of swearing in a witness is to guarantee truthful statements.
The oath attempts to fulfill validity through three means: including God as a witness, placing psychological stress on the individual’s conscience, and most importantly, instilling harsh punishments for lying under oath. All three of these factors place pressure on the individual under oath through fear of punishment or rejection of a divine intervention. The question therein lies: how effective can an oath be on an individual who is an atheist?
There is a growing population that does not affiliate with a religion, making themselves atheists, or at least not of Christian faith. The most fundamental argument involving the wording of the oath is in regards to discrimination. Individuals are allowed to practice whatever religion they choose in the United States. 
There are no binds placed on an American citizen in regards to religion. By including God or religious implications in a procedure as prolific as swearing in a witness, the civil institution of a trial becomes complicated with religious rhetoric.
Swearing a witness in who is not of Christian faith or does not believe in God will fall under two categories: he or she will either take the oath or not take the oath. Those who do not believe in God and agree to take the oath are in fact lying under oath and committing perjury before even speaking.
The oath states that the individual will tell the truth under the eyes of God and will be readily aware of the consequences that a divine intervention will inflict if lying under oath is present. An individual who does not believe in God, yet still takes the oath, is void of the consequences imposed and is already guilty of lying based on his or her lack of affiliation with religion. 
On the other hand, an individual who refuses to take the oath will not be heard and will thus fail to testify. His or her moral or religious beliefs will penalize him or her greatly. This can obviously affect the case if the information the individual possesses is pertinent to the outcome. The inclusion of God or religion within the process of swearing in a witness creates an impossible position both morally and procedurally for those that do not believe in God. 
Ironically the process of swearing in a witness has also been called into question by devout Catholics. The oath can be traced back to the Bible. However, what the Bible states is that God actually should not be involved in the process of administering an oath. The Bible states that Christians should always be truthful and that the inclusion of God in an oath is actually using the lord’s name in vein.
The Bible also states that only God has the power to include himself in a procedure or statement and that man has no right or power to accomplish such a task. Lastly, the Bible states that lying under oath represents a penalty of which most men are unaware. Lying under oath is a violation of the Third Amendment and considered a grave sin in Christianity.
To both atheists and devout Catholics, the oath represents a degradation in the procedure to find truth. Lying under oath is considered perjury and a miscarriage of justice. These offenses rock the inner core of America’s establishment. Violating the Sixth Amendment, by disallowing an individual a right to a fair trial, is a felony in the United States and one that can carry a punishment of imprisonment.

What You Should Know About Perjury

What You Should Know About Perjury

Perjury is defined as willfully taking a false oath or vow (written or spoken) in regards to a judicial hearing. Perjury, also known as false swearing or lying under oath, is committed by a witness or defendant who knowingly omitted or lied about facts that directly affect the outcome of the case. 
For example, one will not be convicted of perjury if he or she lies about his occupation, given that the individual’s job has no outcome on the court’s decision.
The act of perjury dates back centuries ago to Roman times, where it was classified as a sin rather than a crime. Over time the act was mandated by law and became a severe crime with ambiguous contexts. The most difficult aspect of perjury is proving that it took place. In order to be convicted, indisputable evidence needs to be present documenting that the defendant, while under oath, knowingly made a false statement regarding material facts to benefit his or her case.
The two key words necessary to convict someone of perjury are “indisputable” and “knowingly.” There are 3 specific rules that are attached to the concept of perjury. The first rule: “Answers to questions under oath that are literally true, but unresponsive to the questions asked, do not, as a matter of law, fall under the scope of the federal perjury statute.” Even if the witness intends to mislead the prosecutor or questioner, perjury will still not be present.
The second rule: “Answers to fundamentally ambiguous questions cannot be perjurious.” The third rule sets forth that: “A perjury conviction cannot rest solely on the testimony of a single witness.” Perjury convictions are not decided based on oath vs. oath, or a game of adolescent “he said vs. she said”.
The leading case in regards to the law of perjury is United States v. Bronston. This particular trial asked the question of whether or not perjury can be committed with a “literal truth” answer under oath.
Unbeknown to many, the act of perjury extends beyond a judicial setting. A person can commit the act under penalty of perjury, which encompasses all critical forms such as tax returns, deeds, license applications, or legal documents. An individual can be found guilty through penalty of perjury if he/she knowingly lies or supplies misinformation that will benefit them directly.
A common example of penalty of perjury is when an individual cheats on his taxes and supplies false information to the IRS to lower his income, get a greater refund, or illegally write something off. Although the terminology may be confusing, a penalty of perjury is simply a written form of perjury, or one that was not made under oath. 
The same requirements still stand in order to be convicted. Perjury is considered to be a very serious offense because it’s seen as an attempt to usurp the courts and interfere with the administration of justice.
In the United States perjury is considered a felony, and if convicted an individual can face up to $15,000 in fines and/or 15 years in prison. The average sentence for a conviction is roughly 3-5 years. Penalty of perjury is also a serious matter, but the penalties are significantly less because there was no “miscarriage of justice present.”
A penalty of perjury will most likely result in a hefty fine, a return of the monies plus tax, or a jail sentence of up to 3 years. Perjury laws like many in the United States are subject to variation between jurisdictions and State lines. 
Understanding your area’s laws regarding this act, the intricacies within the law, and what actually constitutes perjury are necessary to avoid potential disaster. Perjury does not affect those simply under oath or in a court setting, but every citizen in the United States who files taxes or even fills out a driver’s license application.

An Overview of Perjury

An Overview of Perjury

Objections to Oaths
 
 
Due to its heavy religious implications, the process of swearing in a witness is constantly under fire. The effectiveness of the oath relies too heavily on divine intervention and the inclusion of God as a witness. Many atheists, or non-religious groups, believe that the process of swearing in a witness should not revolve around religious sentiments.
 
 
Part of the oath's effectiveness is including a sacred witness as an overseer, someone or something that demands the delivery of the truth. How can this influence affect someone that is not a believer in God? Aside from atheists, many devout Catholics believe that the process of swearing in a witness goes against the Bible's teachings.
 
 
Throughout the New Testament, the oath is called into question. The process of swearing in God is nonsensical because man cannot include God in anything, for God chooses his presence in situations.The Bible also states that Christians should tell the truth regardless of circumstance, and that including God in the oath is actually using his name in vein. 
 
 
The semantics and wording of the oath offer both sides of the religious spectrum energy to fuel this everlasting debate