Chapter

Perjury and proof of perjury

Roger W. Shuy

in The Language of Perjury Cases

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199795383
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919314 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199795383.003.0002
Perjury and proof of perjury

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Perjury law, which usually applies to courtroom testimony under oath, is briefly described. Critical aspects include the need for both the questioner and the respondent to have a mutual understanding and clarity of the meanings of questions and answers. Questions cannot be ambiguous and defendants, questioners and juries should need to have to speculate or infer meanings. Answers cannot be taken out of context. To prove perjury, the defendant’s testimony must be knowingly false and must conflict with verifiable and known information held by the questioners. Since proof of perjury depends on the language used, linguistic analysis can play an important role by analyzing the separate processes of intelligence gathering and intelligence analysis, which are the keys to whether a prosecution succeeds or fails.

Keywords: perjury; false statement; testimony; knowingly false; clarity; intelligence gathering; intelligence analysis

Chapter.  3640 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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