Thursday, June 16, 2005

Perjury in the Courtroom, Blog Posting Revisited

A while back, I wrote a Blog entry about Perjury and its effect upon the judicial process.

I received an inquiry from a colleague regarding the topic. Here is the inquiry and my response:


I read with great interest your article on perjury. I have a clear case in Family Court documented by a court transcript, deposition, and another court transcript. Is there anything my client can do? Civilly or criminally? Any comments would be appreciated.

Ron Poliquin, Esquire

Good Morning Ron,

I have re-read my article. It is sometimes interesting to read things that we have written in the past. I guess I was pretty peeved that day. But it is a serious problem and I stand by my pledge.

The primary technical difficulty as I see it is the proof issue.... proving that a person knew it was a lie when the person made the testimony.

The next hurdle is to make sure that the prosecution of this crime does not take the form of, or appear to take the form of, a continuation of the underlying litigation... either as a sour grapes response to losing or as a retribution against the other party after a win.

If these two hurdles can be overcome, I believe that the appropriate course of action is to present it to the Attorney General's office for prosecution. If the defendant is convicted of perjury, I might consider going back into the civil litigation with that ammunition for a correction or modification of the underlying civil decision.... if appropriate.

Keep in mind that it is an ethical violation to utilize the threat of criminal prosecution as leverage in a civil matter. So the hand-it-off to the prosecutor's office (with evidence) but without discussing this with the offender, seems to me to be the appropriate and prudent method.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Home Buyer Tip

If you are purchasing land with your fiance, retitle the deed after the marriage.

This is a fairly inexpensive way to avoid a major hassle in probate. Be sure and do this with a licensed attorney however, or you will be compounding the hassle.

So many times I have heard people say, "you don't need a lawyer for this, just fill out a form and file it." I am here to tell you, there is no surer way to make xtra money for the attorneys than prepare your own legal documents. It is being penny wise and dollar foolish.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Former Teammates Settle Before Heading to Court

As a long-suffering Redskins fan, I felt compelled to post this story
from the Washington Post.

When superstar running back Clinton Portis came to the Redskins from the Denver Broncos in 2004, he wanted to keep his old number. Unfortunately, jersey number 26 was already taken by Washington player Ifeanyi Ohalete. When Ohalete refused to give up his number to his new teammate, Portis suggested that they set up a charity boxing match wherein the winner gets number 26. After Ohalete turned down the boxing match, a simple contract was drawn up, selling the number to Portis for $40,000 to be paid out over the course of the upcoming season. Portis made the first payment, but when Ohalete was cut from the team, Portis stopped making payments because he figured that without Ohalete on the team, the number would have been his eventually anyway.

Well, Ohalete didn't see it that way. He filed a breach of contract suit in Maryland for the balance of the contract price. Finally the case was settled just hours before the scheduled trial for $18,000 ($2,000 less than the balance due under the contract).

It's great that they were able to settle the case. Now, if only the 'Skins could make the playoffs...