As of Monday, if you lie during a grand jury testimony the U.S. Supreme Court says you cannot face a civil lawsuit in America’s court system. But before you think the justices who sit on the highest court in the land have abandoned right from wrong, you should know that you can still face criminal charges for lying during grand jury testimony.
According to Justice Samuel Alito, “Grand jury witnesses should enjoy the same immunity as witnesses at trial.”
And he’s right! If you can give false testimony at a criminal trial as a witness and not face a civil lawsuit for it, then you should be able to give false witness testimony to a grand jury before the trial without a civil lawsuit consequence.
Justice is blind, after all, when it comes to showing favoritism. Right?
That doesn’t mean lying is right, of course. And it doesn’t mean the High Court is sanctioning the behavior of those who do it.
The good news for those who don’t like anyone getting away with that kind of behavior is that someone who lies during their witness testimony at either place can still face criminal charges for doing so. And those consequences are much more severe than a civil lawsuit.
Surprisingly, although the Supreme Court Justices rarely see eye-to-eye on any issue, they came together in a unanimous decision in this instance. The case that propelled the Court’s decision today involved Charles Rehberg, according to the Washington Post.
Rehberg sought to have the High Court affirm his ability to sue an investigator he believed lied about him to a grand jury in Georgia. An Atlanta appeals court had already thrown out Rehberg’s claims against investigator James Paulk. So the Supreme Court’s decision today pretty much eliminates Rehberg’s litigation against the witness he believes was dishonest about him.