What obligation does a private citizen have to answer police questions about another person's crime?

It is at the federal level. Under 18 USC sec. 1001, lying to a federal investigator in any way is a crime. Even a statement simply falsely denying guilt is punishable. Note that this is what Martha Stewart was convicted of.

Great, that’s the attitude that’s really going to make a better society.
Tell me, would you feel differently if it was a relative of yours that was murdered? Or, since you seem to not care about anyone else, would you feel differently if it was you that was severely beaten and robbed, but witnesses refused to cooperate? If you saw a murder and said nothing to the cops, and the perp went on to kill someone else, would you feel bad at all?

What? Seriously? This is ridiculous. Is this a recent law or is it older?

Ignorance fought, then - thanks.




I did not say I would not make effort to make the information available to the police. I would not under any circumstances put my own civil liberties in jeopardy. If I know something about a crime I will speak to my lawyer before the police. There are ways to be both a good citizen and protect yourself.

So you chance to witness a small child being abducted from her mother’s arms. You are close enough to note the license plate number. You still talk to your lawyer first?

And, before anyone posts it, this is not a Won’t somebody think of the children! argument. It’s an exigent circumstances argument.

I might be more comfortable doing so in your specific circumstance as they mother being present can help to identify I was not a participant in the crime and time may be an issue.

In most circumstances I have 2 lawyers on speed dial that will answer the phone when I call. Calling one of them to relay information on my behalf is not difficult nor is the ability for any citizen to call the police and make an anonymous tip.