Bronston v. United States, 409 U.S. 352 (1973), is a seminal United States Supreme Court decision strictly construing the federal perjury statute. Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote for a unanimous Court that responses to questions made under oath that relayed truthful information in and of themselves but were intended to mislead or evade the examiner could not be prosecuted. Instead, the criminal-justice system had to rely on more carefully worded follow-up questions.
The decision has been cited in many cases since then and has become the controlling legal standard of perjury in federal jurisprudence. It was invoked during Bill Clinton's impeachment proceedings in 1998 as a defense to charges of perjury against him.
It has long been criticized for the loophole it creates in the perjury statutes as essentially allowing a witness to lie without consequences. Nevertheless, later Courts have refused to overrule or otherwise limit it despite some moves in that direction by lower courts.
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