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What stops a person from lying on the stand?

Portland, OR |

Other than perjury in which the DA would have to decide to prosecute and this rarely happens, what is stopping a person from lying about something such has where they work or how much they make? For example in a civil case where the perception that someone is a brain surgeon at OHSU may provide with with far more credibility than someone who works at McDonalds, why not lie about where you work? It would be very difficult to prove otherwise because a written statement from the hospital would be considered hearsay so the judge would simply have to assume the person works at OHSU. Nobody will be prosecuted for saying they work at a hospital when they actually work at a fast food restaurant.

Attorney Answers 4

Posted

I believe that you are likely referencing a post from earlier today on this site: http://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/can-a-written-statement-from-my-former-employer-be-1373085.html

If so, then I'm afraid you misunderstand my and the other attorney's answers. A "written statement" from an employer can indeed be used to impeach someone - that is, to show that they're not telling the truth - about their employment history. Evidence used solely to impeach can get around the hearsay requirement; so can documents made in the ordinary course of business.

There are some other misconceptions here as well. First of all, a brain surgeon does not necessarily have any greater credibility - that is, a presumption that they're truthful - than a fast food worker does. Second, anyone who claims to be a brain surgeon would be expected to have a substantial resume, history of college transcripts and degrees, and work history to substantiate the fact. There's no way that someone without that history could realistically claim to hold such a job, in any case where their work history was relevant and likely to be explored at all, and expect to be believed. Third, the possibility of prosecution for perjury is rare but quite real, if it can be demonstrated that someone intentionally lied about a critical matter in a case. There is no good reason to lie about this sort of thing, and every reason not to.

Please read the following notice: <br> <br> Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and do not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation. <br> <br> Jay Bodzin, Northwest Law Office, 2075 SW First Avenue, Suite 2J, Portland, OR 97201 | Telephone: 503-227-0965 | Facsimile: 503-345-0926 | Email: jay@northwestlawoffice.com | Online: www.northwestlawoffice.com

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Posted

First, your question has nothing to do with Libel, Malicious Prosecution or Slander.
Second, your evaluation of what is or is not hearsay is not accurate.
Third, Brain surgeon's are not more or less reliable, honest, or trustworthy than fast food workers.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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Posted

Let's say someone gets on the stand and says "I am a brain surgeon." And nobody questions him. Then let's say the opposing party says "hmm, doesn't look or act like a brain surgeon" and contacts the hospital who confirms their suspicion. The likelihood of that person getting prosecuted is near 100%.

This post is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney client relationship with Mr. Cassara.

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Posted

But that 3rd party from the hospital would have to come in to testify; they couldn't write a statement or something like that because it would be hearsay. And the DA would have to decide whether or not it is worth prosecuting someone for lying about their profession.

William Emil Cassara

William Emil Cassara

Posted

And I am saying they would do so.

Posted

Jay laid it out well

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Jay Bodzin

Jay Bodzin

Posted

Thank you =}

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