13.-LaChance-v.-Erickson.pdf - 522US2 262 Unit $U17 18:01:52 PAGES PGT OPIN OCTOBER TERM 1997 Syllabus LACHANCE DIRECTOR OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

13.-LaChance-v.-Erickson.pdf - 522US2 262 Unit $U17...

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262OCTOBER TERM, 1997SyllabusLACHANCE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PERSONNELMANAGEMENTv.ERICKSONet al.certiorari to the united states court of appeals forthe federal circuitNo. 96–1395.Argued December 2, 1997—Decided January 21, 1998*Respondents, federal employees subject to adverse actions by their agen-cies, each made false statements to agency investigators with respect tothe misconduct with which they were charged.In each case, theagency additionally charged the false statement as a ground for adverseaction, and the action taken against the employee was based in part onthe added charge.The Merit Systems Protection Board (Board) upheldthat portion of each penalty that was based on the underlying charge,but overturned the false statement portion, ruling,inter alia,that theclaimed statement could not be considered in setting the appropriatepunishment.In separate appeals, the Federal Circuit agreed with theBoard that no penalty could be based on a false denial of the underly-ing claim.Held:Neither the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause nor the CivilService Reform Act, 5 U. S. C. §1101et seq.,precludes a federal agencyfrom sanctioning an employee for making false statements to the agencyregarding his alleged employment-related misconduct.It is impossibleto square the result reached below with the holding in,e. g., Brysonv.United States,396 U. S. 64, 72, that a citizen may decline to answer aGovernment question, or answer it honestly, but cannot with impunityknowingly and willfully answer it with a falsehood.There is no hint ofa right to falsely deny charged conduct in §7513(a), which authorizes anagency to impose the sort of penalties involved here “for such cause aswill promote the efficiency of the service,” and then accords the em-ployee four carefully delineated procedural rights—advance written no-tice of the charges, a reasonable time to answer, legal representation,and a specific written decision.Nor can such a right be found in dueprocess, the core of which is the right to notice and a meaningful oppor-tunity to be heard.Even assuming that respondents had a protectedproperty interest in their employment, this Court rejects, both on thebasis of precedent and principle, the Federal Circuit’s view that a*Together withLachance, Director, Office of Personnel Managementv.McManus et al.,also on certiorari to the same court (see this Court’sRule 12.4).
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263Cite as: 522 U. S. 262 (1998)Syllabus“meaningful opportunity to be heard” includes a right to make falsestatements with respect to the charged conduct.It is well establishedthat a criminal defendant’s right to testify does not include the rightto commit perjury,e. g., Nixv.Whiteside,475 U. S. 157, 173, and thatpunishment may constitutionally be imposed,e. g., United Statesv.
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