Bronston v. United States
409 U.S. 352 (1973)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973)

Bronston v. United States

No. 71-1011

Argued November 15, 1972

Decided January 10, 1973

409 U.S. 352

Syllabus

Federal perjury statute, 18 U.S.C. § 1621, does not reach a witness' answer that is literally true, but unresponsive, even assuming the witness intends to mislead his questioner by the answer, and even assuming the answer is arguably "false by negative implication." A perjury prosecution is not, in our adversary system, the primary safeguard against errant testimony; given the incongruity of an unresponsive answer, it is the questioner's burden to frame his interrogation acutely to elicit the precise information he seeks. Pp. 409 U. S. 357-362.

453 F.2d 555, reversed.

BURGER, C.J., delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court.

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