Perjury Conviction In California

In California, the elements of perjury are a willful statement, made under oath, of any material matter, which the witness knows to be false. ( 118.) ( People v. Howard (1993) 17 Cal.App.4th 999, 1004.) False testimony in a judicial or legislative proceeding is material if that testimony could probably have influenced the outcome of the proceedings. ( People v. Jiminez (1992) 11 Cal.App.4th 1611, 1622, disapproved on another point in People v. Kobrin (1995) 11 Cal.4th 416, 419, 425, fn. 5, 903 P.2d 1027.) Thus, a false statement having such a tendency may be perjury even though it did not, in fact, affect the proceeding in or for which it was made. Moreover, the false testimony need not be directly material; it is sufficient if it is circumstantially material. ( People v. Poe (1968) 265 Cal. App. 2d 385, 390-391, 71 Cal. Rptr. 161.) In addition, opinion testimony constitutes perjury if the witness does not honestly hold the opinion to which he or she testifies. ( People v. Webb (1999) 74 Cal.App.4th 688, 695.) Further, perjury cannot be willful where the oath is according to the belief and conviction of the witness as to its truth. ( In re Lindley (1947) 29 Cal.2d 709, 723, 177 P.2d 918.) No person shall be convicted of perjury where proof of falsity rests solely upon contradiction by testimony of a single person other than the defendant. ( 118, subd. (b).) When a witness's answers are literally true, he may not be faulted for failing to volunteer more explicit information. Although such testimony may cause a misleading impression due to the failure of counsel to ask more specific questions, the witness's failure to volunteer testimony to avoid the misleading impression does not constitute perjury. That is because the crucial element of falsity is not present in his testimony. ( Cabe v. Superior Court (1998) 63 Cal.App.4th 732, 738.)