Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness

In a novel approach to prosecution, the D.C. Court of Appeals has ruled that witnesses have the right to review their grand jury testimony in ongoing investigations. Not surprisingly, the government is opposed to this. They claim that by so allowing, it gives witnesses a chance to derail investigations.

The concept behind the ruling, though, is a little more simple than that. It gives the witnesses a chance to see what they said and to limit perjury. Additionally, it will encourage witnesses to be more willing to testify, as they will not be burdened by the spectre of a prosecutor who will use the threat of perjury to intimidate said witness. In the interest of justice, this decision is a particularly good one, and I hope the court refuses the state's request to review this en banc (the D.C. Circuit, from what I remember, is generally government-friendly and hard on "crime"), as this seems to me to be the best choice in a system where the defendant more often than not is presumed guilty.

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