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What are some more examples of witness intimidation?

What are some examples of witness intimidation?

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Some examples of witness intimidation include:

  • a defendant mails her accuser an article about witnesses who mysteriously die after testifying.
  • a store robber tells the cashier “bad things will happen” if the police find out.
  • a rapist offers his victim money to not report him.

Under California Penal Code 136.1 PC, it is a crime for a person to intimidate, or discourage, a witness or victim from either:

  1. reporting a crime, or
  2. testifying about a crime.

Depending on the facts of a case, alleged intimidators can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony under California criminal law. No matter how the crime is charged, though, it can lead to serious jail time and substantial fines.

What is the legal definition of intimidating a witness?

Penal Code 136.1 is the California criminal justice system statute that says it is a crime for a person to intimidate a witness or victim.

A person is guilty of witness tampering under this statute if all of the following are true:

  1. a defendant knowingly and maliciously,
  2. prevented or dissuaded, or attempted to prevent or dissuade,
  3. a victim or witness from:
  • attending or giving witness testimony at a judicial proceeding / legal proceeding (such as a criminal court trial or grand jury proceeding),
  • reporting a crime to law enforcement officers or the district attorney,
  • aiding in the prosecution process, or
  • aiding in the arrest process.

Please note that a potential witness is someone:

  • who knows about the facts of a crime under local, state or federal law,
  • whose declaration under oath may be received as evidence,
  • who has reported a potential criminal case, or
  • who has been served with a subpoena.

For purposes of this offense, if the defendant reasonably believes that the person he/she is attempting to dissuade meets these criteria, that person is considered a witness.

What are some more examples of witness intimidation?

Some further examples of witness intimidation under PC 136.1 include:

  • Carl knows that a man is going to testify against his boss at his organized crime trial, so he confronts him and tells the man that he’ll hurt his family members and inflict property damage if he takes the stand.
  • Jose lures several women to his apartment, traps them there, and then attacks one to convince the others that filing a police report is a bad idea.
  • Debbie knows that her ex-boyfriend may report her to authorities for domestic violence and other violent crimes, so she sends him threatening emails and text messages and makes phone calls saying physical violence happens to “rats.”

What are the penalties for this offense?

A violation of Penal Code 136.1 is a wobbler offense under California law. This means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the specific facts of such cases.

If charged as a misdemeanor, the offense is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the county jail for up to one year; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $1,000.

If charged as a felony, witness intimidation is punishable by:

  • imprisonment in the California state prison for 16 months to four years; and/or,
  • a maximum fine of $10,000.

But a criminal defense attorney law firm may be able to get the charge reduced or dismissed.

Learn about the federal Witness Protection Program at and the United States Department of Justice.



They protect you then run when they fuck up


This chapter on obstruction of justice covers those statutes in Title 18, Chapter 73, that protect the integrity of proceedings before the Federal judiciary, Federal executive departments and agencies, and Congress, as well as individuals connected with those proceedings. Section 4 of the Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982 (hereinafter "VWPA"), Pub. L. No. 97-291, § 4, 96 Stat. 1248, 1249-53, thoroughly overhauled and revised this area of the law. Several provisions were amended further by the Criminal Law and Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1986 (hereinafter "CLPTA"), Pub. L. No. 99-646.

Prior to the enactment of the VWPA, the primary objects of the protection of Chapter 73 were witnesses and parties in ongoing proceedings (former 18 U.S.C. §§  1503, 1505) and informants (former 18 U.S.C. §  1510). The VWPA reorganized and expanded the coverage of Chapter 73 and transferred most of the work that had been allocated to former 18 U.S.C. §§ 1503, 1505, and 1510 to the new sections of 1512 and 1513. In addition, the former statutory scheme was organized on the basis of the identification of the victim of the illegal act as either a witness or party. Sections 1512 and 1513 eliminate these categories and focus instead on the intent of the wrongdoer. If the illegal act was intended to affect the future conduct of any person in connection with his/her participation in Federal proceedings or his/her communication of information to Federal law enforcement officers, it is covered by 18 U.S.C. § 1512. If, on the other hand, the illegal act was intended as a response to past conduct of that nature, it is covered by 18 U.S.C. § 1513.

The following statutes are now the chief elements of Chapter 73 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which is entitled "Obstruction of Justice":

18 U.S.C. § 1512 prohibits the use of intimidation, harassment, threats or physical force, including killing or attempts to kill, that is aimed at affecting the presentation of evidence in official proceedings or at impeding the communication of information to law enforcement officers. Section 1512 protects victims of crime, witnesses and informants. Included within this protection is any person who is intimidated, harassed, or killed on account of his/her being, or on account of his/her relation to, a victim, witness or informant. The provision applies to acts occurring inside as well as outside the United States.

18 U.S.C. § 1512 is not limited by the "pending proceeding" requirement of §§ 1503 and 1505. Accordingly, it is not necessary to show that an official proceeding is pending or about to be instituted at the time of the offense. In addition, § 1512 proscribes misleading conduct intended to obstruct justice and thereby fills a gap in the law of those circuits that have held that such conduct is not covered by the omnibus clauses of §§  1503 and 1505.

18 U.S.C. § 1513 fills gaps in the law by proscribing threats of retaliation and attempts to retaliate by causing or threatening to cause bodily injury or damage to tangible property of a witness, victim or informant who participated in an official proceeding or who communicated information to law enforcement officers. Like § 1512, the Federal courts have extraterritorial jurisdiction over acts occurring outside the United States.

18 U.S.C. § 1515 defines the terms used in 18 U.S.C. §§  1512 and 1513. As enacted in the Criminal Law and Procedure Technical Amendments Act of 1986, Pub. L. No. 99-646, Congress made it clear that the bona fide provision of legal representation services in connection with or in anticipation of an official proceeding does not constitute an obstruction of justice offense. See 18 U.S.C. § 1515(b).

The statutes that form the remainder of Chapter 73, 18 U.S.C. §§  1501, 1502, 1504, 1506 to 1509, and 1511, are not discussed in this chapter.

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A Tragic List of Victims 

For decades Pete Bennett kept track of deaths near him.  Pete met, knew, chatted with, talked to, had phones or was connected at one point to nearly every victim.  His connection to the Peterson took over a decade to emerge.  

Some are that 6 degrees of separation whittled down to very close. 




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