CHAPTER TWO - OFFENSE CONDUCT


PART J - OFFENSES INVOLVING THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE


§2J1.3.      Perjury or Subornation of Perjury; Bribery of Witness

(a)      Base Offense Level: 14

(b)      Specific Offense Characteristics

(1)       If the offense involved causing or threatening to cause physical injury to a person, or property damage, in order to suborn perjury, increase by 8 levels.

(2)       If the perjury, subornation of perjury, or witness bribery resulted in substantial interference with the administration of justice, increase by 3 levels.

(c)      Cross Reference

(1)       If the offense involved perjury, subornation of perjury, or witness bribery in respect to a criminal offense, apply §2X3.1 (Accessory After the Fact) in respect to that criminal offense, if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(d)      Special Instruction

(1)       In the case of counts of perjury or subornation of perjury arising from testimony given, or to be given, in separate proceedings, do not group the counts together under §3D1.2 (Groups of Closely Related Counts).


Commentary

Statutory Provisions:  18 U.S.C. §§ 201(b)(3), (4), 1621-1623.  For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1.      "Substantial interference with the administration of justice" includes a premature or improper termination of a felony investigation; an indictment, verdict, or any judicial determination based upon perjury, false testimony, or other false evidence; or the unnecessary expenditure of substantial governmental or court resources.

2.      For offenses covered under this section, Chapter Three, Part C (Obstruction and Related Adjustments) does not apply, unless the defendant obstructed the investigation or trial of the perjury count.

3.      In the event that the defendant is convicted under this section as well as for the underlying offense (i.e., the offense with respect to which he committed perjury, subornation of perjury, or witness bribery), see the Commentary to Chapter Three, Part C (Obstruction and Related Adjustments), and to §3D1.2(c) (Groups of Closely Related Counts).

4.      If a weapon was used, or bodily injury or significant property damage resulted, an upward departure may be warranted.  See Chapter Five, Part K (Departures).

5.      "Separate proceedings," as used in subsection (d)(1), includes different proceedings in the same case or matter (e.g., a grand jury proceeding and a trial, or a trial and retrial), and proceedings in separate cases or matters (e.g., separate trials of codefendants), but does not include multiple grand jury proceedings in the same case.

Background:  This section applies to perjury, subornation of perjury, and witness bribery, generally prosecuted under the referenced statutes.  The guidelines provide a higher penalty for perjury than the pre-guidelines practice estimate of ten months imprisonment.  The Commission believes that perjury should be treated similarly to obstruction of justice.  Therefore, the same considerations for enhancing a sentence are applied in the specific offense characteristics, and an alternative reference to the guideline for accessory after the fact is made.

Historical Note:  Effective November 1, 1987.  Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 175); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendments 401 and 402); November 1, 1993 (see Appendix C, amendment 481); November 1, 2003 (see Appendix C, amendment 653); November 1, 2011 (see Appendix C, amendment 758).