CHICAGO (CN) – The inconsistent testimony of five plaintiffs who claim to have been forcibly arrested during Mexican Independence Day festivities did not meet the legal definition of perjury, the 7th Circuit ruled.
Esteban Montano and four others sought injury damages from their 1997 arrest, claiming they had been beaten and later strip-searched at the station house.
The district court sanctioned the five men for their alleged perjury by dismissing their claim.
On appeal, Judge Sykes ruled that the court’s perjury findings were incorrect.
The district judge “failed to identify any legal definition of perjury,” Sykes wrote.
According to Sykes, perjury is marked by a “willful intent to provide false testimony, rather than the result of confusion, mistake, or faulty memory.”
The district judge’s finding of perjury was based on inconsistencies between the plaintiff’s definition and trial testimony.
“No evidence suggests these inconsistencies were willful, material falsehoods,” Sykes wrote.
The appellate court remanded the case.