Last updated: 12/30/2011
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4.04 Witness Willfully False The committee recommends that no instruction on the willfully false witness be given. Comment This instruction was formerly IPI 2.04. Instructions have been given which inform jurors that the testimony of a witness who has knowingly and willfully sworn falsely on a material issue may be disregarded, unless it has been corroborated by other credible evidence. It was required that it be accompanied by an appropriate instruction defining matter material to the issue. McManaman v. Johns-Manville Prods. Corp., 400 Ill. 423, 81 N.E.2d 137 (1948); Schneiderman v. Interstate Transit Lines, 401 Ill. 172, 81 N.E.2d 861 (1948); McQuillen v. Evans, 353 Ill. 239, 187 N.E. 320 (1933). It is recommended that an instruction of this type not be given. It is argumentative, invades the province of the jury, and suggests the court's belief that a witness has sworn falsely. It emphasizes the issue of false testimony which is a matter solely within the province of the jury. Again, determination of a witness' credibility is the subject of standards outlined in IPI 1.01 on credibility of witnesses. The matter of testimony which is knowingly or willfully false is not to be confused with impeachment by prior inconsistent or contradictory statements, which is adequately covered by IPI 1.01.