State of Florida
Office of Attorney General Ashley Moody


CAUTION: The following is a slip opinion which may or may not reflect the exact contents of the opinion in its final published form. The original file provided by the court, when available, is attached. To obtain the original file, double-click the icon in the original file box below, then select detach or launch. It may then be viewed in WordPerfect with page numbering and footnotes as provided by the court.

AG number: 12019Style: Rivera v. State
Jurisdiction: 5th DCADate issued: December 8, 2006
Original file, if available:12019.pdf


Prisoner’s perjury in appellate documents
A defendant’s apparently false statements to an appeals court will not be allowed and the defendant should face additional penalties at the prison where he is housed, the 5th DCA said.

Hector Rivera was sentenced as part of a plea deal in July 2001. He alleged that at the time of his sentencing, he asked his attorney to immediately file a notice of appeal but only recently learned that no such appeal was filed. However, the DCA said this statement is clearly untrue because Rivera filed other motions since his trial in which he acknowledged that no appeal had been filed. When asked why he should not be sanctioned for perjury, Rivera blamed a prisoner who helped him prepare the petition, even though he admitted he signed the faulty petition. The DCA denied Rivera’s appeal and took the unusual step of ordering that a copy of its opinion be sent to the prison in which Rivera is incarcerated so authorities there may consider disciplinary procedures against him as punishment for his perjury.

Noting its desire “to protect the sanctity of the court proceedings,” the DCA said, “We have not suffered dishonesty lightly in the past, and we will not relax our intolerance now.”


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