Does the crime of perjury occur before each element of the crime is satisfied?

California, United States of America


The following excerpt is from People v. Ibarra, D074167 (Cal. App. 2019):

Although the crime of perjury does not occur until the deposition is deemed complete, this does not prevent the crime of attempted perjury from occurring before each element of perjury is satisfied: "An attempt to commit a crime consists of two elements: a specific intent to commit the crime, and a direct but ineffectual act done toward its commission." ( 21a.) "The overt act need not be the last proximate act to the consummation of the offense attempted to be perpetrated, but it must approach sufficiently near it to stand either as the first or some subsequent step in a direct movement towards the commission of the offense after the preparations are made." (People v. Fiegelman (1939) 33 Cal.App.2d 100, 104-105.) "[I]t is also unquestionable that after the intent has been formed and such intent has been coupled with an overt act toward the commission of the contemplated offense, the abandonment of the criminal purpose will not constitute a defense to a charge of attempting to commit a crime." (People v. Carter (1925) 73 Cal.App. 495, 500.)

Contrary to Ibarra's argument on appeal, to constitute an attempt a defendant need not attempt each element of the offense. Rather, it is sufficient that the defendant "acts with the requisite specific intent, that is, with the intent to engage in the conduct and/or bring about the consequences proscribed by the attempted crime [citation], and performs an act that 'go[es] beyond mere preparation . . . and . . . show[s] that the perpetrator is putting his or her plan into action' [citation]." (People v. Toledo (2001) 26 Cal.4th 221, 230, fn. omitted, quoting People v. Kipp (1998) 18 Cal.4th 349, 376 (Kipp).) However, "the act need not be the last proximate or ultimate step toward commission of the

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