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Ch 13 Offenses Against Justice & Public Admin
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  • Tangible – sale of property for less than its true value – if the seller’s real purpose was to benefit the purchaser to influence his or her official governmental actions – State v. Sawyer (1954)
  • False swearing – includes an oath taken in other than a judicial proceeding All states have perjury statutes and the Most common form of perjury – falsifying tax return Grants of immunity does not protect witnesses from prosecutions of perjury ( DeMan v. State of Alaska , 1984) DeMan – courts reason that although someone can be compelled to testify, they cannot be compelled to testify falsely Perjury by False Statements – cannot be convicted of perjury this way unless the prosecution can prove which statement is true Subordination of Perjury – TN Supreme Court – upheld subordination conviction of an attorney for counseling four men charged with illegally selling whiskey to commit perjury after his clients were convicted ( Grant v. State of TN , 1964)
  • Miller v. State - Currently, courts have said it is unlawful to resist an arrest regardless of the legality of the arrest Oregon v. Wright - Courts have also said that an arrestee may use only such physical force as is reasonable necessary to defend themselves against police excessive force
  • Compounding a crime is not bribery because it is not a public official TN – both parties are guilty
  • 1) departing from any lawful custody; 2) if force was used to escape it was considered a prison break; 3) a person who forcefully freed another from lawful custody was considered rescue PEOPLE v. LOVERCAMP (California) – Marsha Lovercamp was attacked by other inmates demanding sex. Prison authorities failed to provide Lovercamp with adequate protection, and she escaped. She was tried and convicted for escape but on appeal the court reversed because the trial judge did not allow evidence of her plight as a justification of her escape Court set guidelines for asserting duress or necessity as a defense Prisoner faced with threat of death, forcible sexual attack or substantial bodily harm in the immediate future There is no time for a complaint to the authorities or there is a history of futile complaints There is no time to resort to the courts for resolution There is no use of force against prison personnel or innocent persons in the escape Prisoner immediately reports to the proper authorities when he has attained a position of safety
  • Anti-Abortion group – one member refused to give his name – there was no way to identify the man so the court held him in contempt of court – the man spent one year in jail and was released – one year is the amount of time he would have served if he would have been convicted of criminal trespassing – they never knew his name
  • Direct – disruptions of the examinations of witnesses, assault on a judge, juror or court officers, Indirect – an attorney charged with responsibility of a case who is willfully absent from court or a juror discussing the facts of a case with a news reporter before the trial is over

Transcript

  • 1. Scheb and Scheb, Criminal Law and Procedure 7 th edition Chapter 13: Offenses against Justice and Public Administration
  • 2. Common Law Misdemeanors
    • Bribery
    • Perjury and subornation of perjury
    • Resisting arrest
    • Obstruction of justice
    • Compounding a crime
    • Escape
    • Contempt
  • 3. Modern Statutes…
    • Expand the common-law offenses beyond the administration of justice to protect the integrity of public administration generally.
  • 4. Bribery
    • When the common law developed the crime of bribery, it sought to penalize only persons whose actions were designed to improperly influence those identified with the administration of justice.
    • Later, it was considered bribery for anyone to give or receive anything of value or any valuable service or promise with the intent to influence any public officer in the discharge of a legal duty.
    • Under modern statutes, bribery tends to be a felony.
  • 5. The Federal Bribery Statute
    • Makes it a crime if anyone “directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, for or because of any official act performed or to be performed by such public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official….”
      • 18 U.S.C.A. § 201(c)(1)(A).
  • 6. The Federal Bribery Statute
    • Also makes it a crime if “a public official, former public official, or person selected to be a public official, otherwise than as provided by law for the proper discharge of official duty, directly or indirectly demands, seeks, receives, accepts, or agrees to receive or accept anything of value personally for or because of any official act performed or to be performed….”
      • 18 U.S.C.A. § 201(c)(1)(B).
  • 7. Florida Bribery Statute
    • “ Bribery” means corruptly to give, offer, or promise to any public servant, or, if a public servant, corruptly to request, solicit, accept, or agree to accept for himself or herself or another, any pecuniary or other benefit with an intent or purpose to influence the performance of any act or omission which the person believes to be, or the public servant represents as being, within the official discretion of a public servant, in violation of a public duty, or in performance of a public duty.
      • West’s Fla. Stat. Ann. § 838.015(1).
  • 8. Examples of Bribery
    • Seen over many forms of conduct including white collar and organized crimes.
      • Obtaining the release or acquittal of an arrestee
      • Securing an award of a government contract
      • Obtaining a favorable vote by a legislator on a pending bill
    • Variety of materials involved: cash, tangible and intangible objects, even sexual favors.
  • 9. Perjury
    • At common law, perjury came to consist of willfully giving under oath in a judicial proceeding false testimony material to the issue.
    • Perjury was eventually supplemented by the common-law offense of false swearing, a crime committed when an oath was taken in other than a judicial proceeding.
  • 10. To convict a defendant of perjury, the prosecution must establish …
    • that the defendant took an oath to tell the truth and knowingly made a false statement of fact.
    • that defendant’s statement was “material” (i.e., capable of influencing the tribunal on the issues before it).
  • 11. Federal Perjury Statute
    • “ Whoever (1) having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, officer, or person, in any case in which a law of the United States 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 (2) 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; is guilty of perjury.”
      • 18 U.S.C.A. § 1621
  • 12. Perjury by Contradictory Statements
    • Early American cases followed the common-law principle that a defendant could not be convicted of perjury by contradictory statements unless the prosecution established which one of the statements was false.
    • Modern statutes make it unnecessary for the prosecution to establish which of two contradictory statements is false.
  • 13. Subornation of Perjury
    • At common law, subornation of perjury consisted of instigating or procuring another person to commit perjury.
    • Statutes now generally define subornation of perjury much as did the common law.
    • To convict a defendant of the offense, the prosecution must first establish that the defendant induced another to testify falsely and that an actual perjury has been committed.
  • 14. Perjury Defenses
    • A defendant who while under oath gives an answer that is “literally accurate, technically responsive, or legally truthful” cannot be convicted of perjury.
    • Recantation Defense – in the same and continuous court or grand jury proceeding in which a declaration is made, the person making the declaration admits such declaration to be false “if the declaration has not substantially affected the proceeding, or it has not become manifest that such falsity has been or will be exposed.” 19 USCA § 1623(d).
  • 15. Obstruction of Justice
    • Common Law
      • Crime to commit an act obstructing or intending to obstruct police justice. Any act that prevented, obstructed, impeded or hindered the administration of justice was considered a common law misdemeanor
        • Obstructing a police officer, tampering with jurors or witnesses, preparing false evidence, and secreting or destroying evidence
        • Later under statute – escape, resisting arrest
  • 16. Examples of Obstruction of Justice
    • Assault on a process server
    • Endeavoring to influence or impede jurors
    • Obstructing court orders
    • Obstructing proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees
    • Tampering with or retaliating against a witness, victim, informant or juror
    • Obstructing the passage of mail
    • Giving false information to a police officer, false alarm of emergency
    • Impersonating a police officer
    • Destroying or tampering with public records or physical evidence to be offered in official proceedings
  • 17. Resisting Arrest
    • The common law did not permit a person to resist a lawful arrest by an authorized officer of the law.
    • It did, however, permit a person to use force to resist an unlawful arrest.
    • Today, most authorities hold that one cannot use physical force to resist an arrest by a police officer, whether such arrest is legal or illegal.
  • 18. Compounding a Crime
    • Common Law
      • Accepting money or something of value in exchange for agreeing not to prosecute
      • Misprision of felony – seeing someone commit a felony and used no means to prevent the felony or apprehend the felon (any attempt to conceal a crime)
    • Modern Statutes
      • Accepting anything of value in exchange for agreeing not to report a crime
      • Some states make it a crime to compound only felonies; other states make it a crime to compound any offense (New Hampshire)
  • 19. Escape
    • Common Law has 3 offenses relating to escape
      • Escape, Prison Break, and Rescue
    • Modern Statutes
      • Federal statues are generally broad to encompass all three forms
      • State statutes consider escape as the following: “if he escapes from custody when he is: 1) under arrest for, charged with, or convicted of an offense; or 2) in custody pursuant to a lawful court order – then guilty of escape”
  • 20. Is There Ever a Right to Escape?
    • In United States v. Bailey (1980), the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the defense of necessity as being valid in the context of the crime of escape.
    • To sustain the defense, the Court said a prisoner must demonstrate
      • that because of an imminent threat of harm, escape was the prisoner’s only reasonable alternative; and
      • that the prisoner made a bona fide effort to surrender or return to custody as soon as the duress or necessity lost its coercive force.
  • 21. Contempt of Court
    • Civil contempt is not a crime; sanctions imposed to force compliance of a court order (indefinite confinement).
      • Example: anti-abortion group members committing criminal trespassing
    • Criminal contempt imposed to punish an offender whose deliberate conduct is calculated to obstruct or embarrass the court or to degrade a judicial officer.
      • Common law established the concept of criminal contempt to enable judges to maintain the dignity and authority of the courts and the respect the officers.
  • 22. Direct and Indirect Contempt
    • Direct – behavior committed in the presence of the court or so close to the court as to interrupt or hinder the judicial proceeding; no trial or plea required
    • Indirect (constructive) – committed outside the presence of the court that degrade the court or hinder the proceedings of the court