Section 5.5: Crimes Against Judicial Process

Fundamentals of Criminal Law by Adam J. McKee

In Section 5.5 of our textbook, we delve into a category of offenses that strike at the very heart of the justice system: Crimes Against Judicial Process. This section unpacks a series of transgressions that, while diverse in their nature, share the common objective of undermining the mechanisms that uphold the rule of law.

Perjury, perhaps the most well-known crime in this category, involves the intentional act of swearing a false oath or falsifying an affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to an official proceeding. It’s not merely lying; it’s a betrayal of the judicial process that relies on the honesty of participants to administer justice fairly.

Closely related is the crime of Subornation of Perjury, which occurs when an individual persuades or induces another to commit perjury. This offense amplifies the damage of perjury by implicating multiple actors in the web of deception, further entangling the judicial process in falsehood.

Embracery is an antiquated but pertinent term, referring to the attempt to influence a jury corruptly. While modern legal systems have largely abandoned the term, the concept persists in the prohibition of any form of undue influence on jurors, whether through promises, threats, or other means of manipulation.

Escape, as addressed in this section, pertains to a defendant or prisoner who unlawfully gains freedom from legal custody, effectively rejecting the authority and decision of the judicial system.

Obstructing Justice encompasses a broad array of acts intended to impede the discovery, apprehension, conviction, or punishment of criminals. This crime can manifest in destroying evidence, intimidating witnesses, or any act that hinders law enforcement efforts.

Lastly, Criminal Contempt is an act of disobedience or disrespect towards the court, which disrupts its normal proceedings or challenges its authority. This offense is unique as it is punished summarily; that is, the court itself immediately sanctions the behavior.

Together, these crimes pose a serious threat to the integrity of our judicial system. They erode the foundation of trust and order that the legal process requires to function effectively. As we explore each crime in detail, we will consider not only the legal definitions and consequences but also the broader implications of these acts on the administration of justice. This section underscores the importance of safeguarding our judicial processes from such violations, ensuring that justice is served with fairness and transparency.

Modification History

File Created:  07/17/2018

Last Modified:  11/07/2023

[ Back | Content | Next]

This work is licensed under an Open Educational Resource-Quality Master Source (OER-QMS) License.

Open Education Resource--Quality Master Source License


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.