Comparison of Perjury Statutes18 USC 1621 and
The "two witness" rule, derived from common law, governs the proof
required for a perjury conviction under Section 1621. Weiler v. United
States, 323 U.S. 606, 609 (1945). The rule means that a perjury
may not rest solely on the uncorroborated testimony of one witness.
States v. Hammer, 271 U.S. 620, 626 (1926). The two witness rule,
does not require two witnesses to every perjurious statement. The falsity
perjurious statement may be established either by the testimony of two
independent witnesses or by one witness and independent corroborating
that is inconsistent with the innocence of the accused. Weiler, 323
at 610. Also, the second witness need not fully corroborate the first, but
substantiate the other's testimony concerning the defendant's perjurious
statement. United States v. Chaplin, 25 F.3d 1373, 1381-82 (7th Cir.
1994). The two witness rule does not apply if the perjurious statement
the defendant's state of mind (usually lack of memory), which can be
by circumstantial evidence. Id. at 1378. The two witness rule also
not apply to sentence enhancements for obstruction of justice, even if based
the defendant's perjury at trial. United States v. Onumonu, 999 F.2d
46 (2d Cir. 1993).|
The two witness rule does not apply to section 1623 prosecutions.
Section 1623(e) expressly eliminates the two witness rule for prosecutions
that statute. Moreover, Section 1623(c) allows prosecutions for making two
more statements under oath that are inconsistent to the degree that one of
is necessarily false. In such prosecutions, the government does not have to
prove which irreconcilably contradictory declaration was false. United
v. McAfee, 8 F.3d 1010, 1014 (5th Cir. 1993). In inconsistent
prosecutions, Congress expressly provided a defense when "the defendant at
time he made each declaration believed the declaration was true." United
States v. Porter, 994 F.2d 470, 473 (8th Cir. 1993)(conviction reversed;
questions not irreconcilably in conflict). Each of the irreconcilably
inconsistent statements also must be within the statute of limitations.
Id. at 472.
[cited in USAM 9-69.200]