United States v. Passmore

Here’s an interesting question that I’ve come across in a Bushrod Washington case. Suppose someone commits perjury as part of a judicial proceeding under a statute. The statute is then repealed. A prosecution for perjury is brought. The defendant argues that he cannot be convicted for perjury given the statutory repeal.

At first blush, I would have thought this was a bad argument. The Court, though, instructed the jury that they should acquit because of the repeal. Now this was a political case (for reasons I’ll skip over for now), and that may explain the instruction. I’m curious to hear whether criminal lawyers would think this good law now.

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