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Witness tampering is the act of attempting to alter or prevent the testimony of witnesses within criminal or civil proceedings.
One of the better known cases involving Section 1512 is Arthur Andersen LLP v. Examples of witness tampering include American politicians Buddy Cianci, Meg Scott Phipps and Ted Klaudt, convicted in 2001, 20, respectively.
In England and Wales, witness intimidation by unlawful means, such as violence, bribery, threats, or improper pressure, is known as Perverting the course of justice.
They are also poorly understood by police, judges, prosecutors and attorneys alike.
Meanwhile, the offense is a felony, and as a general rule, you should always make the Commonwealth prove its case when you are charged with a felony.
Under this act it is an offence to perform an act which is intended to and does intimidate a person who the offender knows or believes to be involved with a criminal case with the intention of disturbing the proceedings. § 1512, which defines it as "Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant." The punishment for such an offense is up to 20 years if physical force was used, attempted, or threatened. The Supreme Court ruled that Section 1512 had been misinterpreted by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and reversed the decision of the lower court which had found the firm guilty of violating the section.
The witness intimidation statute requires that the Commonwealth prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the intimidating actions, whatever they were, be done with the specific intent to impede obstruct delay harm punish or otherwise interfere with a criminal process or investigation.
A true witness intimidation case is one where the defendant tells someone who knows something about a criminal offense that something bad is going to happen to them if they testify.
In true witness intimidation cases the first issue is identity -- can the police prove who it was that was responsible for the allegedly intimidating acts?
Laws regarding witness tampering also apply to proceedings before the U. Congress, executive departments, and administrative agencies. To be charged with witness tampering in the United States, the attempt to alter or prevent testimony is sufficient.
There is no requirement that the intended obstruction of justice be completed.In situations where intimidation or retaliation against witnesses is likely (such as cases involving organized crime), witnesses may be placed in witness protection to prevent suspects or their colleagues from intimidating of harming them.