Monday, May 29, 2017, 03:24 PM
Posted by Administrator
I often half-joke with clients who seem suprised that people lie, that the reason witnesses in court are administered an oath to tell the truth is because lying is expected. A few weeks ago, I watched a tax preparer lie under oath. She testified that she had already prepared amended tax returns for an ex-husband who had lied on his taxes. I asked to see them...she didn't have them with her. I asked to follow her back to her office...she dodged the question. The next witness was the ex-husband who testified that there were no amended returns. She had hoped that he would see her lie and join in the lie? And, he was too stupid? Not paying attention? Too honest?

The judge didn't care about the lie. The local Assistant State Attorney told me to send him a letter and he would look at it and....... Since I have never, in 34 years of doing this, heard of a local lying witness being prosecuted, I decided I had better ways of spending my time.

In our other business, I had some liars over Memorial Day weekend. They didn't know anything about the damage to the equipment they'd rented; never noticed broken and ripped up plastic; wish they'd taken a picture before they rented....never even noticed that the rear brakes didn't work. They had broken the lever. And, when they lied, they were calling me a liar by suggesting that the damage was done before they rented.

I read an article in the New Yorker Magazine many years ago about whether people could spot liars. The answer, according to the author's research: a few cops and a couple of Service Agents and a Customs Office or two could. But, the statistics (based on controlled research studies at prestigious universities) suggested, lawyers and judges and most cops and teachers and nurses and carpenters and everyone else were about 50/50. No better than an uneducated guess.

Still, sometimes (like the tax preparer)lies are slap-in-the-face obvious. All logic and reason yells to you: "That is a lie." Like the renters, where the damage was obvious and it wasn't there when they rented and it is there now and it isn't little and discreet, it is large and glaring and spread out over many places...obvious from all angles and from 10' away.

And, when this happens, you know that I know that you are lying. And, I know that you know that I know. And, still, there feels to be a social prohibition about saying to the liar: "You are lying."

And, I wonder why.
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