OK for Government Witnesses to Lie to Grand Jury: Supreme Court
By Joe Wright
April 3, 2012
The Supreme Court continues to erode every protection Americans have come to expect as their guarantee under the law of the land, known as the U.S. Constitution.
In addition to ruling 5-4 this week to allow prison strip searches for minor offenses, they now have ruled that government witnesses — informants — can lie to the grand jury and, in so doing, will be immune from civil lawsuits by the wrongfully accused.
Justice Alito concurred with the strip search opinion above, and he is at the forefront of this current ruling, which I believe sets a horrible precedent that lying even to a Grand Jury carries no penalty whatsoever.
The ruling makes an argument that Grand Jury cases often involve violent criminal elements, which seek to go after witnesses, and that civil lawsuits would only seek to publish their identity, putting witnesses in harm’s way. Furthermore, Alito argued that suits could deliberately be filed specifically to uncover a particular identity.
While this particular reasoning seems logical at first glance, the case upon which this ruling was established was not one where the above scenario would apply. In other words, the precedent-setting case is one that establishes the broadest possible framework. The case is Rehberg vs. Paul in which: