In California as in every state, the judicial system’s integrity hinges on honest actions by participants, without fear of reprisals; when a participant does not act honestly, he or she may be charged with obstruction of justice. Basically, obstruction of justice is the interfering with proper or legitimate operations of either a court or officers of the court through either actions or words. A few examples of this criminal offense include threatening a judge, encouraging someone to destroy evidence, or attempting to bribe a witness. Obstructing justice is a crime under both state and federal laws.
Insufficient evidence to secure a conviction
Even when there is not sufficient evidence to convict, prosecutors may charge an individual with obstruction of justice based on suspicions that he or she is refusing to provide information or withholds information vital to continuing an investigation. When someone is arrested for obstructing justice, or even charged with the crime, law enforcement officials are highly focused on putting that person in prison, even without substantial evidence supporting the original crime being investigated. Ultimately, prosecutors know that a conviction for obstruction of justice can result in the defendant spending up to 5 years in state prison, and therefore see this as a way to secure a meaningful conviction.