Nonspecific perjury

Roy Sorensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Since 1970, a United States prosecutor can prove perjury without specifying which statement is perjurious. A bold prosecutor could concede ignorance of which statement is false. A bolder prosecutor could further concede that the witness himself does not know. The boldest prosecutor could concede there is no specific lie. Instead of there being a statement that is intrinsically perjurious, the perjury is relational. Just as two statements can be inconsistent without either being inconsistent, two statements can be perjurious without either being perjurious. These consequences are reconciled with the generalisation that all perjury involves lying. Corollaries about culpability are drawn from the phenomenon of nonspecific perjury. The reasoning is generalised to other forms of illegal lying.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
VolumeLatest Articles
Early online date4 Mar 2024
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2024


  • Perjury
  • Inconsistency
  • Specificity
  • False statements
  • Intuitionism
  • Lying


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