Bench Memorandum Case Study

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United States. v. Dunn Bench Memorandum
The purpose of this bench memorandum is to inform the District Court Judge on the significance of Dunn v. United States in refining 18 U.S.C. § 1623, “False declarations before a court or grand jury”, and 18 U.S.C. § 1621, “Perjury generally”, as well as explaining the fundamental purpose of due process. Specifically, this bench memorandum should serve as a reference for District Court judges on how to draft jury instructions about these laws.
Statement of Facts
During a grand jury investigation into Philip Musgrave in June 1976, the District Court called Robert Dunn, Musgrave’s fellow inmate, to testify about Musgrave’s involvement in drug-related crimes. The District Court gave Dunn a grant of immunity
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Courts are therefore required to follow the law in any trial. Specifically, juries are not allowed to find a defendant guilty of crimes in which he or she was not charged. You should determine a defendant’s guilt only of crimes in which he or she was charged.
When considering a defendant’s guilt of a crime, you must weigh all the relevant, and formally submitted, evidence. Only then, can you make a decision that a defendant is guilty of a crime in which a grand jury indicted him or her on, beyond a reasonable doubt. […]” The significance of the Supreme Court’s opinion in Dunn v. U.S. rests in the way it clarified the basic laws that affect perjury cases. Specifically, the analysis of “proceeding…ancillary to” phrase in § 1623 only leaves room for formal, court-authorized, legal proceedings that are carried out in court-approved locations. Further, the Supreme Court’s holding concerning the nature of due process explicitly states that individuals only be tried and possibly convicted for crimes in which they were charged. Therefore, Dunn v. U.S. can serve as adequate precedent in determining the nature of jury instructions and the ultimate decisions in perjury

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