Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Penn State: Pennsylvania's Perjury Statute

Penn State University Athletic Director Tim Curley and Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz have been charged with Perjury relating to false testimony offered during the grand jury investigation into sexual assault by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. Below is the Perjury statute in Pennsylvania:

 § 4902.  Perjury.
        (a)  Offense defined.--A person is guilty of perjury, a
     felony of the third degree, if in any official proceeding he
     makes a false statement under oath or equivalent affirmation, or
     swears or affirms the truth of a statement previously made, when
     the statement is material and he does not believe it to be true.
        (b)  Materiality.--Falsification is material, regardless of
     the admissibility of the statement under rules of evidence, if
     it could have affected the course or outcome of the proceeding.
     It is no defense that the declarant mistakenly believed the
     falsification to be immaterial. Whether a falsification is
     material in a given factual situation is a question of law.
        (c)  Irregularities no defense.--It is not a defense to
     prosecution under this section that the oath or affirmation was
     administered or taken in an irregular manner or that the
     declarant was not competent to make the statement. A document
     purporting to be made upon oath or affirmation at any time when
     the actor presents it as being so verified shall be deemed to
     have been duly sworn or affirmed.
        (d)  Retraction.--No person shall be guilty of an offense
     under this section if he retracted the falsification in the
     course of the proceeding in which it was made before it became
     manifest that the falsification was or would be exposed and
     before the falsification substantially affected the proceeding.
        (e)  Inconsistent statements.--Where the defendant made
     inconsistent statements under oath or equivalent affirmation,
     both having been made within the period of the statute of
     limitations, the prosecution may proceed by setting forth the
     inconsistent statements in a single count alleging in the
     alternative that one or the other was false and not believed by
     the defendant. In such case it shall not be necessary for the
     prosecution to prove which statement was false but only that one
     or the other was false and not believed by the defendant to be
        (f)  Corroboration.--In any prosecution under this section,
     except under subsection (e) of this section, falsity of a
     statement may not be established by the uncorroborated testimony
     of a single witness.

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