The Obstruction of Justice Crime

The Obstruction of Justice Crime

The Obstruction of Justice Crime 

While there are many different types of crimes that a person can be charged with, one of the more common types of crimes that the US government goes after is obstruction of justice. The concept of obstruction of justice is the idea that a person seeks to influence or otherwise interfere with a law enforcement officer, juror, or investigator who is performing their job.  In the world of international tax, it could be the idea for example that the government is investigating a foreign financial institution about possible US persons that have foreign accounts with a foreign officer of the institution seeking to testify. If a US person seeks to use their influence to impede or otherwise prevent the jurors from performing their duties such as offering a bribe or other forms of influence, this could be considered a form of obstruction of justice under 18 USC 1503. Also, even before it gets to that stage, if the person tries to thwart or impede the investigation it can also be a form of obstruction under 1504/1505.

Some examples of Obstruction of Justice Code Sections

Here are three (3) commonly utilized obstruction of justice code sections:

18 U.S. Code 1503 – Influencing or injuring officer or juror generally

    • (a) Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, endeavors to influence, intimidate, or impede any grand or petit juror, or officer in or of any court of the United States, or officer who may be serving at any examination or other proceeding before any United States magistrate judge or other committing magistrate, in the discharge of his duty, or injures any such grand or petit juror in his person or property on account of any verdict or indictment assented to by him, or on account of his being or having been such juror, or injures any such officer, magistrate judge, or other committing magistrate in his person or property on account of the performance of his official duties, or corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be punished as provided in subsection
    • (b). If the offense under this section occurs in connection with a trial of a criminal case, and the act in violation of this section involves the threat of physical force or physical force, the maximum term of imprisonment which may be imposed for the offense shall be the higher of that otherwise provided by law or the maximum term that could have been imposed for any offense charged in such case.
      • (b) The punishment for an offense under this section is—

    • (1) in the case of a killing, the punishment provided in sections 1111 and 1112.
    • (2) in the case of an attempted killing, or a case in which the offense was committed against a petit juror and in which a class A or B felony was charged, imprisonment for not more than 20 years, a fine under this title, or both; and
    • (3) in any other case, imprisonment for not more than 10 years, a fine under this title, or both.

18 USC 1504 – Influencing Juror by Writing

      • Whoever attempts to influence the action or decision of any grand or petit juror of any court of the United States upon any issue or matter pending before such juror, or before the jury of which he is a member, or pertaining to his duties, by writing or sending to him any written communication, in relation to such issue or matter, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the communication of a request to appear before the grand jury.

18 USC 1505 – Obstruction of proceedings before departments, agencies, and committees

      • Whoever, with intent to avoid, evade, prevent, or obstruct compliance, in whole or in part, with any civil investigative demand duly and properly made under the Antitrust Civil Process Act, willfully withholds, misrepresents, removes from any place, conceals, covers up, destroys, mutilates, alters, or by other means falsifies any documentary material, answers to written interrogatories, or oral testimony, which is the subject of such demand; or attempts to do so or solicits another to do so; or Whoever corruptly, or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication influences, obstructs, or impedes or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede the due and proper administration of the law under which any pending proceeding is being had before any department or agency of the United States, or the due and proper exercise of the power of inquiry under which any inquiry or investigation is being had by either House, or any committee of either House or any joint committee of the Congress— Shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years or, if the offense involves international or domestic terrorism (as defined in section 2331), imprisoned not more than 8 years.

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