Lying Under Oath – How to Hold the Liar Accountable
Transcript: Hi, I’m Indiana personal injury attorney David Holub.
One of the more popular videos that we have on our YouTube page, at least according to the number of people who have viewed it, is a video that we have about the consequences of lying under oath.
We explain in that video the penalties that can flow from not being truthful in a court proceeding or in other situations.
We thought that we maybe ought to make a follow-up video to further explain what happens to people or can happen to people who are found to be lying under oath. A lot of the calls that we get about this issue are calls where a person has had another attorney in the past or they went into court on some domestic, family law situation and they lost their case because the other party lied and they lied in the courtroom.
So they’re calling and they’re trying to say, “Can you go after this person for lying?” And the short answer is, “Well, no.” If someone has lied under oath, that is basically a crime and that crime is something that can be investigated by the police and can be prosecuted by the local prosecutor. It’s not something that a civil, private attorney can deal with. Many of the callers that we get are angry.
Number one, they may be mad at their prior attorney and number two, they’re essentially extremely mad at the person who lied. And as we explain that this is a crime, as is lying under oath to a government committee, or lying under oath to the FBI, or lying under oath to a local police investigator. It has to be dealt with by a prosecutor and prosecuted as a crime.
We explain that private attorneys cannot enforce these criminal laws.
It’s kind of frustrating for people, but that’s the fact. Private attorneys can’t get involved in trying to enforce criminal laws. Another thing we have to point out is that even though the caller may be absolutely certain that someone has lied in a courtroom or lied in a proceeding, taking that information to a local prosecutor may not result in prosecution.
Prosecutors have the discretion to proceed to take a case to court or to not take a case to court. And they have to be convinced that there’s solid evidence. So if it’s just your word against another person’s word, you know you’re telling the truth, you know they’re lying, that may not be enough proof to get a prosecutor to act. Typically, if there’s a document that shows the person is lying or if there’s a recording that shows the person is lying and has told a different story at a different time, that kind of evidence is very important to have if you expect a prosecutor to take action.
Basically, if you have been a victim of a person who has lied in order to gain some sort of benefit in a trial or in some other proceeding, you have been a victim of a crime just as if that person came in and robbed you. So the falsehood that resulted in their getting the upper hand on you is a crime that has to be dealt with by the criminal justice system.
We have many other videos on our website, on our YouTube page, on our Facebook page, and we invite you to check those out, as well as the other blog posts and other materials that we have on our website.