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for “deliberately attempting to mislead the court and conceal from the court evidence in the case.” The appellate court correctly noted that “a witness who seeks to conceal the truth or to give evasive answers or to falsify or mislead the court is not acting respectfully to the court and his conduct is reprehensible,” thus subjecting the witness to the court’s inherent power to punish for contempt. Id. Similarly, our Nevada Supreme Court has recognized that “[t]he power of courts to punish for contempt and to maintain decency and dignity in their proceedings is inherent, and is as old as courts are old.” Lamb v. Lamb, 83 Nev. 425, 428, 433 P.2d 265 (1967). The fact that perjury also constitutes a crime for which the offender may be indicted does not prevent the act from being punished as contempt by the family court judge. Such multiple “consequences” stem from the fact that perjury has the double aspect of being an offense against both the state and the court before which the perjured testimony is offered. NRS 22.010 defines contempt as “[d]isobedience or resistance to any lawful writ, order, rule or process issued by the court or judge at chambers.” As noted by the court in Russell v. Casebolt, 384 S.W.2d 548, 554 (Mo. 1964), a “witness may be cited for contempt and a hearing held, with appropriate punishment if justified; or, the matter may be referred to the prosecuting attorney of the county for appropriate criminal action, if that is found to be justified.” Unfortunately, in Nevada, and more specifically in Clark County, there is little likelihood that any case referred to the District Attorney’s office for a criminal perjury prosecution will be approved and prosecuted. During the past 20 years, only about four criminal perjury cases have been initiated by the Clark County District Attorney’s Office. Of those four cases, one criminal defendant pleaded guilty and the three others proceeded to trial. Each of those three trials resulted in acquittal. As such, the current “general” policy of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office is to not prosecute criminal perjury cases due to the office’s belief that such cases have little, if any, jury appeal. The general consensus is that perjury is a difficult crime to prove and that juries, unfortunately, do not seem to consider perjury to be a serious offense. Moreover, in light of the significant financial resources required to prosecute a criminal case, our local prosecutors prefer to use their limited resources to prosecute cases in which the likelihood of success is greater than that which history has shown with respect to perjury prosecutions. Since the inception of the family court in Clark County in 1993, at least two cases have been referred to the Clark County District Attorney’s Office by the trial judge for criminal perjury prosecution. The District Attorney’s office declined prosecution on both cases. As such, it appears that the only viable alternative to counteract the perjury that occurs in our local family courts is through our family court judges themselves imposing appropriate punishment for contempt of court. The suggestion has been made that until our family court judges choose to “crack down” on the perjury that is prevalent in local divorce proceedings, such conduct will continue. But, lawyers beware — you’re not so lucky when it comes to perjury prosecutions Notwithstanding the current policy of the Clark County District Attorney’s Office, there appear to be at least two reported cases in Nevada in which a criminal perjury prosecution has been initiated as a result of perjured testimony presented in a divorce case. Most noteworthy of these two cases is Ex Parte Sheldon, 44 Nev. 268, 193 P. 967 (1920), in which the attorney, and not the client, was prosecuted for subornation of 26 | P a g e

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The Fathers' Rights Movement - May 2019, Issue No. 10  

Please enjoy our 10th issue of The Fathers' Rights Monthly, and help raise awareness for issues around shared parenting after divorce.

The Fathers' Rights Movement - May 2019, Issue No. 10  

Please enjoy our 10th issue of The Fathers' Rights Monthly, and help raise awareness for issues around shared parenting after divorce.

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