Chronic 18 U.S.C. § 1512 offenses


See subsequent sections of federal filings: 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 of officials not protecting the law but protecting themselves from their violation of it proscribed by 1512.

Section 1512 of Title 18 constitutes a broad prohibition against tampering with a witness, victim or informant. It proscribes conduct intended to illegitimately affect the presentation of evidence in Federal proceedings or the communication of information to Federal law enforcement officers. It applies to proceedings before Congress, executive departments, and administrative agencies, and to civil and criminal judicial proceedings, including grand jury proceedings. See 18 U.S.C. § 1515(a)(1). In addition, the section provides extraterritorial Federal jurisdiction over the offenses created therein. See 18 U.S.C. § 1512(g); 128 Cong. Rec. H8469 (daily ed. Oct. 1, 1980); H. R. Rep. No. 1369, 96th Cong., 2d Sess. 20-22 (1980).

The express prohibitions against tampering with witnesses and parties contained in former 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503 and 1505, are now in paragraphs (b)(1) and (2) of 18 U.S.C. § 1512. (As discussed in this Manual at 1724 and 1727, the omnibus clauses of these provisions still cover witnesses.) All forms of tampering with informants covered in former 18 U.S.C. § 1510, with the exception of tampering by means of bribery, are now proscribed by 18 U.S.C. §  1512(b)(3). Tampering with informants by means of bribery remains an 18 U.S.C. § 1510 offense.

Section 1512 augments the prohibitions of the former law in several important respects. First, section 1512(b)(3) sweeps more broadly than former 18 U.S.C. § 1510 and expands the class of informants protected by Federal law. For example, it protects individuals having information concerning a violation of a condition of probation, parole, or bail whether or not that violation constitutes a violation of any other Federal criminal statute. Second, it protects individuals seeking to provide information to Federal judges or Federal probation and pretrial services officers.

Section 1512 also includes attempts in its list of prohibited conduct. There is no requirement that the defendants actions have the intended obstructive effect. See, e.g.United States v. Murray, 751 F.2d 1528 (9th Cir.), cert. denied, 474 U.S. 979 (1985); United States v. Wilson, 796 F.2d 55 (4th Cir. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1039 (1987). As amended by the Criminal Law and Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1986, Pub. L. 99-646, it is clear that the killing of a witness or attempts to kill a witness in order to prevent his/her testimony constitutes an act of force intended to “influence the witness’ testimony.” See 18 U.S.C. §  1512(a). This change was necessitated by one court interpreting former §  1512 as not reaching an act of attempted murder that was intended to prevent a witness from testifying. See United States v. Dawlett, 787 F.2d 771 (1st Cir. 1986).