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Deposition is a written or oral testimony given under oath in front of an authorized third person like a court reporter. Depositions take place outside of the court. They allow the parties to get a record of a person's testimony, or to get testimony from a witness that lives far away. They can help the lawyers prepare their court papers called "pleadings."
California Superior Court. “English Legal Glossary” (2005)
Another deposition definition is a sworn testimony taken from a witness outside of court, usually transcribed or taped.
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault. “Women’s Legal Rights Handbook” (2015)
Formal, out of court questioning under oath, before a court reporter.
Beth Lewandowski, J.D., cited by Women’s Empowerment Center
The sworn oral testimony of a witness taken outside of court and transcribed by a reporter. Depositions are an evidentiary tool for lawyers, but can be used at trial to impeach a witness’s testimony or can be read to the jury if the witness is unavailable.
Missouri Press-Bar Commission. “News Reporter’s Legal Glossary” (2009)
Deposition is defined as a sworn testimony of a witness
New York State Unified Court System. “Glossary of Legal Terms” (2016)
A pretrial discovery device by which one party questions the other party or a witness for the other party. It usually takes place in the office of one of the lawyers, in the presence of a court reporter, who transcribes what is said. Questions are asked and answered orally as if in court, with opportunity given to the adversary to cross-examine. Occasionally, the questions are submitted in writing and answered orally.
National Center for State Courts. “Glossary of Commonly Used Court & Justice System Terminology”, Rev. 2/8/11 (2011)
The taking of evidence from a witness prior to the occurrence of an actual criminal or civil trial; this is often con-ducted to obtain a sense of the potency of the evidence and the likely persuasiveness of the witness himself or herself.
Drogin, Eric Y., et al. Handbook of forensic assessment: Psychological and psychiatric perspectives. Vol. 209. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
The testimony of a witness, not taken in open court, but pursuant to authority given by law or order of court to take testimony elsewhere; used for discovery of facts in preparation for trial.
State Bar of Wisconsin. “News Reporters’ Legal Handbook”, 6th Ed. (2013)