Senate bill compounds already broken law

Senate Bill 209 also referred to as “The Obstruction of Justice Bill,” is nothing more than political illusionism.

The bill, whose primary sponsors are former police officers, would make it a felony to knowingly give false information to a police officer. The redundacy and hypocrisy of this bill is amazing.

There already exists a law that more than addresses the issue of “knowingly giving false information to a police officer.” Is it not being enforced? Under Section 11 of the Delaware Code, a misdemeanor punishes the perpetrator for up to one year in prison and no less than a $500 fine, a minimum of 100 hours of community service and reimbursement of responding agency for expenses.

At a Family Law Commission meeting in March 2008, Judge William Walls, in addressing legislative questions regarding false allegations of domestic abuse, stated: “There are already penalties against false swearing, they are not being enforced, I don't know why.”

He is right. There are laws that address the crime of perjury and false swearing as both a misdemeanor and a felony. But they are not being enforced.

It has been four years since Judge Walls made this admission. Has there been one legislator who rushed to sponsor a bill that would address this crime that is conducted with impunity?

State legislators should stop picking and choosing which is more egregious: To lie to a police or judicial officer?

Both in the context of “getting to the truth” can be equally devastating to an innocent party. Simply, enforce the law equally.

Gordon Smith

(Delaware News Journal June 12, 2012

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