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Article 134 - Subornation of Perjury

This article covers incidents where the accused committed perjury by inducing another person to take a lawful oath in a trial by a court of competent jurisdiction and to testify and depose falsely on which the accused did not then believe to be true.

Elements

  • That the accused first induced and then procured a certain individual to take an oath or equivalent and also to falsely depose and testify or state upon an oath or the equivalent which concerns a certain matter.
  • That the oath or equivalent was given to said person in a matter in which an oath or equivalent was authorized or required by law.
  • That the oath or equivalent the said individual subscribed or willfully made a certain statement.
  • That the statement was valid.
  • That the statement was false.
  • That the accused and the said individual then did not believe that the statement was the truth.
  • That, as per circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to prejudice discipline and good order in the armed forces or of a nature to bring discredit on the armed forces.

Maximum Punishment

The accused faces a maximum punishment of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all allowances and pay and five years' confinement.

Points to Note about Article 134

  • False swearing is not a lesser included offense of perjury.
  • When the instruction on corroboration is requested or can be considered appropriate, the military judge must adapt the following to include instructions which are applicable to the case:

Special rules exist to prove the falsity of statements in perjury trials. Statement falsity can be proven by documentary evidence and testimony by:

  1. Witness testimony that directly contradicts the perjurer's statement as explained in the specification, as long as the testimony of the witness is supported or corroborated by evidence; or the testimony of at least one other witness that proves the statement is false. The accused may be guilty of subornation of perjury only if it is found beyond reasonable to doubt that the witness testimony is believable and supported by other testimony or trustworthy evidence.
  2. Documentary evidence which directly disproves the truth implied in the statement explained in the specification as long as the evidence is supported or corroborated by other evidence which tends to prove that the statement is false.
  3. There can be exceptions to the requirement of documentary corroboration. There are two exceptions to the need for documentary evidence corroboration. In case an exceptional issue arises, the following should be applicable:
  4. The exemption that documentary evidence must be supported by corroborating evidence occurs when the the document is a kind of official record which has been proved to be well known to the alleged perjurer and the time he or she took the oath.
  5. Another exception occurs when the document was furnished or written by the alleged perjurer or recognized by him or her in any way as containing truth at some before the supposedly perjured statement was made.
  6. If exceptions like these exists, the documentary evidence is sufficient without any kind of corroboration to establish that the statement is false.
  7. The accused may be guilty of perjury only if the documentary evidence establish the statement falsity beyond reasonable doubt.
  8. It is to be proved that the alleged perjurer and the accused did not believe that the statement was the truth. After the appropriate corroboration instruction is given, the military judge must five the instruction that the alleged perjurer and the accused did not believe that the statement was the truth when it was made can be proved by the testimony of one witness without circumstantial evidence or corroboration, if the evidence or testimony is convincing beyond reasonable doubt.

For more information on this article, please refer to the Manual for Courts Martial.

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