Q: What do I do if I forget to swear in the witness?
A: As soon as you realize the omission, stop the proceeding and place the witness under oath using an amended oath.
Court reporter boards across the country periodically receive calls from frazzled court reporters who inadvertently forgot to swear in the witness, and the deposition had started. I know sometimes when an attorney says, “Let’s go on the record, I need to make a statement,” and then there is a colloquy between counsel, everyone’s timing gets off. The attorneys make their record, and then one of them says to the witness, “Okay. State your name for the record.” And off they go…
But then the court reporter remembers that the witness was never sworn in. What does the court reporter do?
The Court Reporters Board of California suggests the following:
As soon as the reporter realizes the omission, the best practice is to stop the proceeding and place the witness under oath using an amended oath such as:
Do you solemnly state the statements you’ve given and the testimony you’re about to give are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
If the attorneys want to later argue that there is an issue with the deposition before the witness was sworn, that would be their prerogative. In the meantime, the court reporter has done what is necessary to mitigate the situation.
Have you been in an “on the job” situation that you were unsure how to handle?
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a scenario you’d like a solution for!
Rosalie Kramm, CSR – Principal, San Diego
Rosalie Kramm began her career as a court reporter and owner/operator of Kramm Court Reporting in San Diego, California over 30 years ago, before joining Veritext Legal Solutions, the national leader in deposition services.
She sat on the Court Reporters Board of California with the Department of Consumer Affairs from 2013 through 2018 and has served as president of the Deposition Reporters Association of California, Society for the Technological Advancement of Reporting, and General Reporters Association of San Diego.
Kramm is a Certified Court Reporter in California and holds the national license of Certified Realtime Reporter. She also is a certified LiveNote trainer and frequent presenter for advanced workshops on the use of interactive real-time software, including Realtime with LiveNote, Summation, and Bridge. She also serves on the board of the San Diego Volunteer Lawyer Program.