Perjury Common In Court But Not Regularly Charged


During a sentencing, Judge Michael McShane in Portland, Or., directed harsh comments at three witnesses who had helped prosecutors obtain the conviction. One of the witnesses “flat-out lied. He should be charged with perjury,” McShane said, The Oregonian reports. How much lying occurs in courtrooms by people who have sworn to tell the truth? Prosecutors and criminal defense lawyers say it certainly happens more often than the number of perjury charges filed would suggest. “It is something we regularly see, but something that’s difficult to prosecute,” McShane told the newspaper. In some cases, he said, “it’s just almost an expectation.”

It will be up to Multnomah County District Attorney Michael D. Schrunk to decide whether to pursue the perjury allegation. According to lawyers, courtroom proceedings rarely result in subsequent perjury charges, in part, because they are difficult to prove. Said John Henry Hingson III, a veteran Oregon City defense lawyer and former president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers: “As a practical matter, people are frequently nervous (in court) and say things that are not true without ever having the intention to deceive. [] Sometimes people are just mistaken.”


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