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It is the process of the court which requires a witness to testify and not merely the directions or request of the county solicitor or state attorney. The state attorney is authorized to administer oaths to witnesses summoned to testify by the process of his court only for the purposes for which such witness is summoned by such process, as set forth in the process. When served with process or some valid order of the court, a person is not required to testify about other matters or before other courts, or the officers or agencies thereof, except those named in the process or court order.
Appellant had been subpoenaed to appear before a state attorney to testify. During the course of her testimony the state attorney directed her to accompany two police detectives to complete her testimony without the state attorney's presence. Appellant had been given an oath prior to her testimony before the state attorney. Thereafter, an information was filed, charging appellant with perjury by contradictory statements made under oath. Appellant moved to dismiss the information, which the trial court denied. The trial court then adjudged appellant guilty of the crime of perjury by contradictory statements, and sentenced her to a term of years in the state prison. The present appeal followed.
Under the circumstances, could the appellant be charged with perjury on the basis of her testimony before the police officers?
The court found that the state attorney did not have the power to administer an oath that would apply to testimony before the police officers. The court held that once appellant was testifying before the police officers her testimony was no longer validly under oath and it was not of the character required for a prima facie case of perjury. The court found that the information was based on facts that did not establish a prima facie case of guilt against appellant for perjury by contradictory statements. The court found that appellant's motion to dismiss should have been granted. The court reversed the judgment and sentence of the trial court. The court remanded the case to the trial court to discharge appellant and dismiss the information.