World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Witness tampering

Article Id: WHEBN0001864064
Reproduction Date:

Title: Witness tampering  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: David Camm, Ross Mirkarimi, C-Murder, Avigdor Lieberman, Tampering
Collection: Crimes, Evidence Law
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Witness tampering

Witness tampering is the act of attempting to alter or prevent the testimony of witnesses within criminal or civil proceedings. Laws regarding witness tampering also apply to proceedings before Congress, executive departments, and administrative agencies. To be charged with witness tampering in the United States, the attempt to alter or prevent testimony is sufficient. There is no requirement that the intended obstruction of justice be completed.[1]

In situations where intimidation or retaliation against witnesses is likely (such as cases involving witness protection to prevent suspects or their colleagues intimidating them.

In the United Kingdom, witness intimidation is covered by Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, section 51. Under this act it is an offence to perform an act which is intended to and does intimidate a person who the offender knows or believes to be involved with a criminal case with the intention of disturbing the proceedings.

Contents

  • Witness tampering in the USA 1
  • Witness tampering in England and Wales 2
  • Witness tampering by prosecutors 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Witness tampering in the USA

In the United States, the crime of witness tampering in federal cases is defined by statute at 18 U.S.C. § 1512, "Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant". The punishment for such an offense is up to 20 years if physical force was used or attempted, and up to 10 years if physical force was only threatened. The tampering need not have actually been successful in order for it to be criminal.

One of the better known cases involving section 1512 is Arthur Andersen LLP v. United States, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in May 2005. The Supreme Court ruled that section 1512 had been misinterpreted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and reversed the decision of the lower court which had found the firm guilty of violating the section. The issue had, to some extent, become moot, because in 2002 the firm had all but dissolved as a result of prosecution on this criminal charge.

Examples of witness tampering include American politicians Buddy Cianci, Meg Scott Phipps and Ted Klaudt, convicted in 2001, 2003 and 2007, respectively.

Witness tampering in England and Wales

In England and Wales, witness tampering by unlawful means, such as violence, bribery, threats or improper pressure, is known as Perverting the course of justice.

Section 51 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994[2] includes the offences of intimidating a witness and taking revenge on a witness.

Witness tampering by prosecutors

A current source of controversy is the lack of penalties for prosecutors who commit witness tampering or other forms of prosecutorial misconduct. In the United States, prosecutors have full immunity from civil liability regardless of how egregious their actions may be. Prosecutors do not have criminal immunity and can be professionally censured, but studies demonstrate that this rarely happens.[3]

In March 2003, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled against a man named Shareef Cousin, who filed a lawsuit against New Orleans prosecutors after he was wrongfully convicted of the 1995 murder of Michael Gerardi. A number of examples of witness tampering during the trial were uncovered. In court, a friend of Cousin's who was expected to testify for the prosecution that Cousin had confessed to him. Instead, he told jurors that he had been promised leniency in his own trial if he would falsely implicate Cousin for the murder. An eyewitness testified that she saw Cousin commit the murder. Her original statement to police indicated that she had very poor vision and could not identify the killer. Her statements regarding her vision were not disclosed to the defense. Cousin also accused the state of illegally detaining many of his witnesses to prevent them from testifying in his defense.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ "1729 Protection of Government Processes—Tampering with Victims, Witnesses, or Informants—18 U.S.C. § 1512". Justice.gov. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  2. ^ "Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994". legislation.gov.uk. 
  3. ^ Jones, Leigh (October 5, 2010). "Prosecutorial Misconduct Is Rarely Punished, Says New Study". The National Law Journal. 
  4. ^ "The Untouchables: America's Misbehaving Prosecutors, And The System That Protects Them". The Huffington Post. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.