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Informally, in criminal procedure, process crime is an offense charged by a prosecutor alleging criminal conduct related to an investigation of a crime, but not to the crime itself. Examples include obstruction of justice, perjury before a grand jury and misprision of a felony. Also it can involve a misdermeanor, but punishment of crime is much lower.
Obstruction of Justice
Obstruction of justice is a felony occurs when someone tries to impede a judicial proceeding by doing things such as interfering the processing of or threatening a court official, witness, or juror, or destroying or tampering with evidence. For someone to be convicted of obstruction of justice they must the intent to obstruct the proceeding, must know that the proceeding was still pending, they must know that there was a connection between the obstruction and the proceedings, and they must know what the connection between the obstruction and the proceedings was. There is a maximum sentence for obstructing justice is ten years at federal prison.
The different offenses of obstruction of justice include:
- Assault on process server, 18 USC 1501- Anyone who knowingly obstructs, opposes, or attacks any person who has been authorized, by the court, in serving, attempting to serve or executing any writ or process of any court or judge of the United States will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year
- Resistance to extradition agent, 18 USC 1502- Anyone who knowingly resists an extradition agent of the United States will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year
- Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally, 18 USC 1503- Anyone who knowingly threats, forces any juror or officer of any court in the United States or serving any other proceedings before any United States magistrates which obstructs, impedes, or influences any due administration of justice will be punished depending on the severity of the act with the possibility of capital punishment (if the act was the killing of another person)
- Influencing juror by writing, 18 USC 1504- Anyone who knowingly, through written communication, attempts to influence the action, or decision of a juror or before a jury of any court in the United States on pending matters will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to six months
- Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees, 18 USC 1505- Anyone who knowingly avoids, or obstructs compliance with any civil investigation demands made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, attempts, or commits perjury, or has other commit perjury; or threatens, or forcefully impedes, or influences the administration of law under any pending proceedings under any department or agency of the United States, or the exercise of power of any inquiry or investigation being held by either the House, any committee of the House, or any joint committee of Congress will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years (eight years if the offense is involved in terrorism)
- Theft or alteration of record or process; false bail, 18 USC 1506- Anyone who knowingly takes away, changes, or avoids any proceedings of any court in the United States, where a judgment is reversed, or made void; or acknowledges, in any such court, any bail, or judgment in the name of any person, not privy will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Picketing or parading, 18 USC 1507- Anyone who knowingly interferes with the administration of justice, or influence any judge, juror, witness, or court officer with pickets or parades in or near a court of the United States, or in or near a residence of any such judge, juror, witness, or court officer with the use of any sound-truck or other demonstration will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year
- Recording, listening to, or observing proceedings of grand or petit juries while deliberating or voting, 18 USC 1508- Anyone who knowingly recording the proceedings of a jury deliberating or voting in any court in the United States; or listening or observing any jury, that they are not a member of, deliberating or voting in any court in the United States will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year
- Obstruction of court orders, 18 USC 1509- Anyone who knowingly threatens, or forcefully, attempts to interfere with the rights or duties of any order, judgment, or decree of any court in the United States will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to one year
- Obstruction of criminal investigations, 18 USC 1510- Anyone who knowingly attempts to delay or prevent information relating to the violation of a criminal statute of the United States to a criminal investigator, by means of bribery; or any officer of a financial institution, or being an employee of, or acting as an officer, director, or agent of an insurance agency whose activities affect interstate commerce, who notifies another person of the existence or content of a subpoena for records of that person will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Obstruction of State or local law enforcement, 18 USC 1511- Two or more persons who knowingly facilitate an illegal gambling business will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant, 18 USC 1512- Anyone who knowingly harasses, threatens, or forces any persons to not testify, commit perjury, or delay, or stops the relaying of information, or commits perjury, or delays, or stops the relaying of information will be punished based on the severity of the act with the possibility of capital punishment (if the act was the killing of another person)
- Retaliating against a witness, victim, or an informant, 18 USC 1513- Anyone who knowingly conspires, threatens, attacks, or kills as retaliation for a person giving a testimony, or information relating to an offense will be punished based on the severity of the act with the possibility of capital punishment (if the act was the killing of another person)
- Civil action to restrain harassment of a victim or witness, 18 USC 1514- In a federal criminal case, witnesses can give protective orders to prohibit any kind of harassment, and for major witnesses they can get temporary restraining orders and anyone who violates or attempts to violate these will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five yearsF
- Civil action to protect against retaliation in fraud cases, 18 USC 1514A- Any employee who testifies a violation is protected from harassment and discrimination
- Definitions for certain provisions; general provision, 18 USC 1515- Defines in detail some of the terminology used
- Obstruction of Federal audit, 18 USC 1516- Anyone who knowingly tries to impede on a federal auditor on official duties relating to an entity receiving an excess of $100,000 from the United States in any one year period will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Obstructing examination of financial institution, 18 USC 1517- Anyone who knowingly obstructs, or attempts to obstruct the examination of a financial institution by an agency of the United States will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Obstruction of criminal investigations of health care and offenses, 18 USC 1518- Anyone who knowingly delays, or prevent the relaying of information on the violation of a federal health care offense to a criminal investigator will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to five years
- Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations and bankruptcy, 18 USC 1519- Anyone who knowingly commits perjury, or destroys information impede, or influence the investigation, or administration of any matter in the jurisdiction of any department, or agency of the United States or filed under title 11 will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to twenty years
- Destruction of corporate audit records, 18 USC 1520- Any accountant who conducts an audit of an issuer of securities shall maintain the audit for five years after the end of the fiscal period of which the audit was concluded; violators will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to ten years
- Retaliating against a Federal judge or Federal law enforcement officer by false claim or slander of title, 18 USC 1521- Anyone who knowingly file a false statement of debt on an individual on account of the performance of official duties will be fined and/or imprisoned for up to ten years
Perjury before a Grand Jury
Perjury before a grand jury occurs when someone makes a false statement or submits other information knowing that it is false when making a statement under oath in proceedings before, or necessary to a court or grand jury. The penalty for this is at maximum five years in prison. A major Supreme Court case for perjury is United States v. Mandujan, where the defendant, who was convicted for selling heroin as well as perjury. He was acquitted of the charges because he was never told his full Miranda rights. The issue in question for the justices is whether or not he should be acquitted of the perjury charges. The court determined that even though through the Fifth Amendment he did not need to answer any of the questions asked, he did not have the right to be dishonest about them.
Misprision of Felony
Misprision of felony occurs when someone fails to report a felony to the proper authorities. The penalty is a maximum of three years in prison.
- Staff, LII (6 August 2007). "Obstruction of justice". LII / Legal Information Institute.
- "18 U.S. Code Chapter 73 - OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE". LII / Legal Information Institute.
- "18 U.S. Code § 1623 - False declarations before grand jury or court". LII / Legal Information Institute.
- "United States v. Mandujano". 1976. p. 564.
- "18 U.S. Code § 4 - Misprision of felony". LII / Legal Information Institute.
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