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Deposition

What Happens If You Falsify Divorce Documents?

You don't always have to tell the truth. And you generally can't be sued for little white lies, like telling your spouse you'd do the dishes without following through, or saying you're "just going out for some cigarettes." But court is one of those places where lying will get you into serious trouble. And even if you're not appearing in court, filing false documents or claims with the court can be just as bad. As tempting as you might be to embellish or exaggerate your situation, especially in a divorce case, telling the truth in court, and in court documents, is the only way to go. Perjury We normally think of perjury as lying on the witness stand, but it can include signing any legal document you know to be false or misleading. Most perjury laws include documents, records, recordings, or other materials a person knows to contain a false material declaration, and apply to ancillary court proceedings like affidavits and depositions. In the context of divorce documents, perjury statutes could apply to the divorce filing itself (if it contains misstatements regarding the parties, the length of the marriage, or the reasons for separation) or any of the supporting documents. Lies about marital property when deciding who gets what, misrepresentations about income when deciding alimony, or false accusations in child custody determinations can all be considered perjury if they are contained in documents filed with the court and the person filing them knows they are false. Penalties Perjury is considered a crime against justice, and courts take it very seriously. Falsifying legal documents undermines the credibility of courts, and compromises the authority of their decisions. There are both state and federal statutes criminalizing perjury, many that include prison time. Beyond losing your divorce case, you could lose your freedom and your livelihood. To avoid any needless false statements or misleading documents in your divorce case, work with an experienced attorney. Related Resources: Find Divorce Lawyers Near You (FindLaw Directory) What Happens If You Don't Respond to Divorce Papers? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Serve Divorce Papers Myself? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) Can I Seal My Divorce Filings? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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ACLU Settles Lawsuit Against CIA Torture Psychologists

Much was made of the 'enhanced interrogation techniques' employed by the U.S. military and contractors in terrorism investigations. Often considered torture, the interrogation program was at the center of an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit filed against the alleged architects of that program, on behalf two men subjected to those techniques and the family of one man who froze to death in a CIA prison. In what the ACLU says is a first for lawsuits involving CIA torture, the two defendants in the case, psychologists James Mitchell and John "Bruce" Jessen, have agreed to settle the lawsuit, for an undisclosed amount. Enhanced Interrogation "Government officials and contractors are on notice that they cannot hide from accountability for torture," said director of the ACLU National Security Project Hina Shamsi in the wake of the settlement. "Our clients' groundbreaking case has changed the legal landscape. It showed that the courts are fully capable of handling lawsuits involving abuses committed in the name of national security." Due to issues of immunity and fears of classified information being made public, the case was set to be the first of its kind to go to trial, perhaps because the Justice Department did not try to block it. Although both Mitchell and Jessen continue to claim that the abuse suffered by Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and Gul Rahman, and Rahman's death, all occurred without their knowledge. But in an earlier ruling in the case, the court found "The evidence would support a finding Defendants designed the [enhanced interrogation techniques] to be used on detainees, and thus they clearly had knowledge they would be so used." Brutal and Ineffective Those techniques embodied an effort to a state of "learned helplessness" in captives that would remove any resistance to interrogation. According to Dr. Jessen's deposition in the case, he and Dr. Mitchell were tasked with coming up with those techniques, which included sensory and sleep deprivation, shackling for hours in uncomfortable positions, and waterboarding. "Jim and I went into a cubicle," he said. "He sat down at a typewriter and together we wrote out a list." The interrogation techniques developed by the doctors were ultimately found to be brutal and ineffective, but caused lasting pain and suffering to those subjected to them. Related Resources: Find Personal Injury Lawyers Near You (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) Police and School Sued After Interrogated Teen Commits Suicide (FindLaw's Injured) What You Need to Know About Suing the Police (FindLaw's Injured) Chiquita Terrorism Lawsuit: Murder, Torture (FindLaw's Injured)
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5 Tips for Your Personal Injury Deposition

You've filed a personal injury claim, and now you have a deposition coming up. Are you ready? During the discovery process of a lawsuit, both sides try to get as much information as possible about the case. One of the ways to do this is to interview witnesses and parties in a deposition. In a deposition, one side's attorney will as the deponent (you) a series of questions. You are under oath to answer truthfully. While depositions may seem daunting, they don't have to be. Here are five tips to remember during your deposition: 1. Stop and Listen to the Question The information you give at a deposition can be used at trial. So, you don't want to hurt your case with your answer because you didn't understand the question. Take your time. Listen to the question; take a moment to understand it; and then answer. If you don't understand the question, don't hesitate to ask the interviewer to explain his question or ask it again. You do not want to give information that is not pertinent to the case, but you also want to make sure you answer the question properly. 2. Be Precise When you're nervous or worried, it can be easy to ramble. Instead, try to keep your answers, short and sweet. Be precise with your descriptions rather than give vague general answers. 3. Be Truthful Remember, you are under oath in a deposition. Even if an answer may hurt your case, do not lie because it will hurt your credibility later on in trial. If you don't remember, then feel free to say, "I don't remember." If you don't know the answer to a question, say that you do not know. Don't guess. 4. Practice The best way to prepare is to practice. If you and your attorney have time, try a practice deposition. This way, your attorney will be able to go over questions you may get and help you formulate your answers. 5. Relax Last of all, just relax. A deposition is not supposed to be an adversarial process. If you're nervous, take a breath and a moment to center yourself. If you are thirsty or tired, ask for a break. If you are unsure how to answer a question, ask for time to confer with your lawyer. That's what your lawyer is there for. If you need help with a deposition for your personal injury case, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney for help. Related Resources: Browse Personal Injury Lawyers by Location (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory) After a Deposition, What Happens Next? (FindLaw's Injured) Is Your Personal Injury Settlement Award Taxable? (FindLaw's Injured) Should You Settle Your Injury Lawsuit? (FindLaw's Injured)
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