Friday, October 28, 2005

Explaining the Charges

Lying about a crime, the accusation against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, has itself been a crime since the time of Hammurabi.

Then, it was punishable by death. Today, perjury is punishable in federal courts by a fine and up to five years of prison for each count.

Then and now, the theory has been essentially the same: If people are allowed to lie during the investigation of a crime, the crime cannot be proven. It may go unpunished or an innocent person might be wrongly punished.


Perjury, the Supreme Court has said, is "an obvious and flagrant affront to the basic concepts" of justice.


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