What is the Law on Perjury of oath in Alaska and What are the Punishments for it?
Perjury, in a legal sense, is a criminal act where an individual intentionally gives a false statement either orally or in written form, under oath, in a matter that is significant to a proceeding. Perjury is a crime in Alaska punishable by imprisonment and fine.
Let us examine closely the specific acts that amount to Perjury in Alaska.
According to section 11.56.200 of Alaska Statutes, an individual is guilty of Perjury under the following conditions:
- The individual makes a sworn statement that is false; and
- The individual does not believe the statement to be true at the time of making it.
The following do not amount to a defense in a prosecution for Perjury under the above section:
- The statement does not qualify as evidence according to the legal rules of evidence; or
- The process of oath or affirmation administered during the proceeding was irregular.
Penalty for Perjury
An individual charged with Perjury, upon conviction, is guilty of a Class B Felony. The individual is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years and a fine of an amount not exceeding $100,000 (sections 12.55.125 and 12.55.035 respectively).
Committing Perjury By Giving Inconsistent Statements
According to section 11.56.230 of the Alaska Statutes, an individual is guilty of committing Perjury through inconsistent statements, under the following conditions:
- The individual makes 2 or more inconsistent statements under oath or affirmation; and
- The individual makes such statements in one or more proceedings considered official under law; and
- The statements are so inconsistent that makes one of them necessarily false; and
- The individual makes such statements with full knowledge that one of them is not true at the time of making it; and
- The individual makes each such statement within the state’s jurisdiction and within the Statute of Limitations period applicable to the crime.
Statute of Limitation is the time within which the prosecution for a crime needs to begin. If this time limit elapses, the state will not be able to charge the accused with the crime officially.
Penalty for Perjury Through Inconsistent Statements
Committing Perjury by giving inconsistent statements is treated as a Class C Felony. An individual charged with this crime, upon conviction, is punishable by imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years and a fine of amount not exceeding $50, 000.
Prosecution Requirements in Case of Perjury by Contradictory Statements
- It would be enough for the prosecution to prove that one of the statements made by the accused was false, and that the accused was fully aware that one such statement was false at the time of making it.
- It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove which specific statement made by the individual was false.
- The proof of the irreconcilable extent of the statements is considered prima facie evidence of the falsity of one of the statements made by the individual.
Using Retraction of the False Statement as a Defense
Retraction refers to the withdrawal of the statement made by the individual. According to section 11.56.235 of the Alaska Statutes, retraction serves as a valid defense for Perjury under sections explained above, under the following conditions:
- If the individual made the false statement in an official proceeding and retracted the same under the following conditions:
o The false statement was retracted in the course of the same proceeding mentioned above;
o The accused retracted such statement before it was discovered that the statement was false;
o The retraction was made before the statement could be relied upon by the individual at whom such statement was targeted; and
o The retraction was made before the material matter – any matter significant to the official proceeding - was submitted to the final trier of fact, in case the said proceeding had a trier of fact.
- In a prosecution subject to section 11.56.200 – Perjury- the following rule of defense prevails for a proceeding that is not official in nature:
o Retraction is a valid defense under the following conditions:
- Retraction was made by the individual before he or she became aware of the discovery of the falsity of the statement; and
- Retraction was made by the individual before the individual at whom such statement was targeted, relied upon it.