Each state has unique laws regarding discovery in trials, and California is no exception. The deposition is a hugely important part of discovery, and if you’re required to participate in a deposition as part of the defense, prosecution, or as a key witness, you might be confused about how it all works. The intricacies of the legal system are hard to understand, so the first step is talking to a lawyer to make sure you’re doing everything required of you. Before you attend the deposition, it’s also necessary to connect with California deposition reporters to make sure you get an unbiased record of the deposition.
All of the legal terminology can be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with California law, so here are some definitions to get you started.
Discovery. The crux of the legal trial in which legal parties on both sides search for all relevant information in a trial and are required to report all findings to the other side. The process of discovery is meant to ensure a fair trial for both the accused and accuser by creating a record of documents, interviews, and evidence.
Subpoena. A court-ordered mandate for a witness to appear for an interview or to provide documents that will be entered into evidence. There is a penalty for not complying with the requirements outlined in a subpoena.
Deposition. A pre-trial interview of a key witness either directly involved in the trial or who has knowledge of relevant activities. Although the deposition interview is not in court, this testimony is taken under oath in the presence of a court reporter, and the interview is entered into evidence.
Deponent. The person who provides testimony at the deposition. Their account of events is critical in determining the course of the trial, and they provide this account under oath. The deponent usually answers questions asked by attorneys.
Testimony. A testimony is evidence that is used to build a case. It is an oral account given by the deponent, and it is usually transcribed at the deposition so it can be referred to during the trial. An accurate testimony and record is critical to ensure a fair trial.
Court reporter. An officer of the court who has an ethical duty to uphold the law. The deposition reporter is tasked with recording the deposition, either with a verbatim written account of the testimony or with a deposition video.
Transcript. A written record of the testimony, including pre-trial interviews at the deposition, deposition questions, and trial interviews. An accurate transcript is important to make sure there is a reliable record of all trial proceedings.
Before you attend the deposition, make sure you have one of the many California deposition reporters on your side. If you’ve recently hired deposition services, let us know in the comments and be sure to include any tips for finding the best California deposition reporters.