Recently, I was asked to swear in a witness from a remote location, the witness was not in the room with me.  I was told that the attorneys agreed to the remote swearing in.  It is very important for a reporter to know what their state rules are regarding our authority to do this.  In my state, it is not permitted and because the attorneys agree to it, it does not make it legal.  All it would take is for one attorney to question the legality of that procedure and your license would be on the line.  There are ways to deal with this issue as more and more depos are taking place telephonically, but there should be a plan in place before the proceeding to protect the reporter.  By the way, a deposition is a proceeding under oath and without a legal swearing in, it is simply unsworn testimony.  In short, no one will protect your ability to practice unless you do and risking your license for any one particular case or relationship is not worth the potential backlash.

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Comment by Susan Crivello on May 14, 2012 at 4:32

Janiece,

Would you be so kind as to send me a message with the stipulation that you use.  Over-the-phone depos are very common here in NY, and it is not legal to swear them in, and many reporters do not know that!

Thank you!

Comment by Amanda Leigh on May 13, 2012 at 16:39

I would not sweat it so long as I get an agreement on the record that this is the way they want to proceed.  My license would certainly not be on the line.  I would reword my certificate to indicate the circumstances.  No authoritative body is going to take my certificate, not even so much as a slap on the wrist, just so long as I handle it correctly, in keeping with the situation.  And if the record gets thrown out because of their decision, it's not my concern.  However, if I suggest I just swear the witness in over the phone (let's say I don't want to show up and just phone in--haha), then I can see I might be in a bit of hot water.

Comment by Janiece Young on May 11, 2012 at 12:26

When I have had this come up I have asked the attorneys to make a stipulation on the record and then all agree to the stipulation on the record.

Comment by Deby on May 10, 2012 at 18:43

So glad you posted this!  Also, are you asking for ID from the person you are swearing?  If not, why not, because an atty "knows" the wit?  The notary laws say you need to ID the person making the affidavit, giving a sworn statement, which is what a deposition is.  I request a photo ID, as not everyone has a driver's license.  I take my notarial responsibilities very seriously.

Comment by Cindy Clark on May 10, 2012 at 12:40

One of the attorneys should be bringing in a notary to do the swearing in, I would think.  And you would think that they would know that!

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