February 13, 2017

In this article, Jenner & Block Partner Gabriel A. Fuentes argues against “conflicting statement” perjury laws like those in Illinois.  Mr. Fuentes explains that in 10 states, including Illinois, proof of perjury is established once the prosecutor presents evidence of the two contradictory sworn statements – without proof of which statement was false and without regard to whether the first of the two statements is years old and outside the statute of limitations period for perjury prosecutions.  “Under these statutes, a recanting witness’s goose is cooked the moment he recants his earlier testimony, even if it’s the truth, and even if it can be proved truthful,” Mr. Fuentes observes.  He then suggests a legislative solution that would mirror federal law: two conflicting, sworn statements may support a perjury charge without proof of which was false, but only if both were made within the perjury limitations period.