opinions, everybody's got one...
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Perjury in the Courtroom, Blog Posting Revisited
A while back, I wrote a Blog entry about Perjury and its effect upon the judicial process.
I received an inquiry from a colleague regarding the topic. Here is the inquiry and my response:
I read with great interest your article on perjury. I have a clear case in Family Court documented by a court transcript, deposition, and another court transcript. Is there anything my client can do? Civilly or criminally? Any comments would be appreciated.
Ron Poliquin, Esquire
Good Morning Ron,
I have re-read my article. It is sometimes interesting to read things that we have written in the past. I guess I was pretty peeved that day. But it is a serious problem and I stand by my pledge.
The primary technical difficulty as I see it is the proof issue.... proving that a person knew it was a lie when the person made the testimony.
The next hurdle is to make sure that the prosecution of this crime does not take the form of, or appear to take the form of, a continuation of the underlying litigation... either as a sour grapes response to losing or as a retribution against the other party after a win.
If these two hurdles can be overcome, I believe that the appropriate course of action is to present it to the Attorney General's office for prosecution. If the defendant is convicted of perjury, I might consider going back into the civil litigation with that ammunition for a correction or modification of the underlying civil decision.... if appropriate.
Keep in mind that it is an ethical violation to utilize the threat of criminal prosecution as leverage in a civil matter. So the hand-it-off to the prosecutor's office (with evidence) but without discussing this with the offender, seems to me to be the appropriate and prudent method.