Subornation of Perjury
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.