Courtroom Oaths

OATH FOR PROSPECTIVE JURORS

CURRENT:

You do solemnly swear that you will true answers make to all questions as shall be put to you touching your qualifications as a juror in the case now called for trial. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to truthfully answer the questions you are asked about your qualifications to be a juror?

OATH TO JURY -- CRIMINAL CASE

CURRENT:

You and each of you do solemnly swear that you will well and truly try, and a true deliverance make, and a true verdict give according to the evidence. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to listen to all the evidence in this case, to follow the instructions given to you, to deliberate fairly and impartially and to reach a fair verdict?

CURRENT STATUTE:

Sec. 29-17-12. Number of jurors--How sworn

In all felony cases when a jury is impaneled, a jury must consist of twelve qualified jurors. In class A misdemeanor cases when a jury is impaneled, a jury must consist of six qualified jurors unless the defendant makes a timely written demand for a jury of twelve. In all other misdemeanor cases when a jury is impaneled, a jury must consist of six qualified jurors. Jurors must be sworn or affirmed well and truly to try and true deliverance make between the state of North Dakota and the defendant whom they have in charge, and to give a true verdict according to the evidence. The verdict must be unanimous. (emphasis added)

Sec. 29-17-14. Juror may affirm

Any juror who is conscientiously scrupulous of taking the oath prescribed for jurors must be allowed to make affirmation, substituting for the words "so help you God", at the end of the oath, the following: "This you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury".

OATH TO JURY -- CIVIL CASE

CURRENT:

You, and each of you, do solemnly swear, that you will well and truly try the matters in issue between the parties, and a true verdict render according to the evidence. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to listen to all the evidence in this case, to follow the instructions given to you, to deliberate fairly and impartially and to reach a fair verdict?

CURRENT STATUTE:

Sec. 28-14-08. Oath to jurors

As soon as the jury is completed the following oath must be administered to the jurors:

You, and each of you, do solemnly swear, that you will well and truly try the

matters in issue between __________, the plaintiff, and __________, the

defendant, and a true verdict render according to the evidence. So help you

God.

If any person is conscientiously scrupulous of taking an oath, he must be allowed to make affirmation, substituting for the words, "so help you God", at the end of the oath the following: "This you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury".

OATH FOR WITNESS

CURRENT:

Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you are about to give will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Proposed:

Do you promise to tell the truth and do you understand that you could be prosecuted for perjury if you do not?

OATH FOR BAILIFF

CURRENT:

You do solemnly swear that you will faithfully, impartially, and to the best of your ability, discharge the duties of Bailiff of this Court, to which office you have been appointed, and strictly obey all orders of the Court and your superiors as such bailiff during the present term thereof now being held. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to perform your duties as bailiff to the best of your ability without bias and to obey the orders of the Court?

OATH FOR BAILIFF -- TO CONDUCT JURY TO VIEW PLACE

CURRENT:

You do solemnly swear that you will conduct this jury in a body to view the place (at which the offense is said to have been committed) (which is the subject of litigation) (in which any material fact occurred) and that you will permit no person to speak or communicate with them, nor to do so yourself, on any subject connected with the trial; and that you will return them into Court without necessary (sic) delay. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to conduct the entire jury to the area directed by the Court and to return them without unnecessary delay and do you promise you will not to permit anyone to communicate with them about any subject connected with the trial.

BAILIFF -- TO KEEP JURY DURING ADJOURNMENT

CURRENT:

You do solemnly swear that you will keep the jurors composing this panel together until the next meeting of this Court, and during all other adjournments of the Court during the trial of this case; that you will suffer no person to speak or communicate with them, nor do so yourself, on any subject connected with the trial; and that you will return them into Court at the next meeting thereof. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to keep the entire jury together until they are returned to Court and do you promise not to permit anyone to communicate with them concerning any subject connected with the trial?

OATH FOR BAILIFF -- TO KEEP JURY AFTER CAUSE SUBMITTED

CURRENT:

You do solemnly swear to keep this jury together in some private and convenient place, and not to permit any person to speak or communicate with them, no to do so yourself unless by order of the Court or to ask whether they have agreed on a verdict, and return them into Court when they have so agreed, or when ordered by the Court. So help you God.

PROPOSED:

Do you promise to keep the jury together until they are returned to the Court and not to permit anyone to communicate with them unless you are ordered to do so by the Court.

CURRENT STATUTE:

Sec. 28-14-18. Conduct of jurors in retirement

When the case finally is submitted to the jurors, they may decide in court or retire for deliberation. If they retire, they must be kept together in some convenient place under charge of an officer, until they agree upon a verdict, are temporarily dismissed by the court, or are permanently discharged by the court. Unless, by order of the court, the officer having the jurors under the officer's charge must not suffer any communication to be made to them, or to make any himself except to ask them if they have agreed upon a verdict, and the officer, before the verdict is rendered, must not communicate to anyone the state of their deliberations or the verdict agreed upon. Where the jurors have not agreed upon a verdict during normal working hours of any day of deliberations, the trial judge may temporarily dismiss the jurors and direct them when to resume deliberations. Where a trial jury contains both male and female members, the trial judge may direct that the female members of the jury be placed in charge of a female bailiff and permitted to retire to a suitable place for rest, and the male members of the jury placed in charge of a male bailiff for a similar purpose. In all cases where the jurors are dismissed or separated, as above stated, the trial judge shall admonish the members thereof that they must not in any manner discuss the case with anyone, nor permit anyone to discuss it with them, while they are so dismissed or separated, and that they must discuss and consider the case only in the room when all members of the jury are present.

GRAND JURIES:

Sec. 29-10.1-12. Oath of grand jurors

The following oath must be administered to the members of the grand jury:

"You, as members of this grand jury, shall diligently inquire into, and true presentment make, of all public offenses against this state, committed or triable within this county, which will be brought to your attention or come to your knowledge. You will keep your own counsel, and that of your fellows, and of the state, and, except when required in the due course of judicial proceedings, must not disclose the testimony of any witness examined before you, nor disclose anything which you or any other grand juror may have said, nor the manner in which you or any other grand juror may have voted on any matter before you. You shall indict no person through malice, hatred, or ill will, nor leave any unindicted through fear, favor, or affection, nor for any reward or the promise or hope thereof, but in all your indictments, you shall present the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, according to the best of your skill and understanding. So help you God."

Sec. 29-10.1-25. Oath or affirmation to witness

1. The foreman or the prosecuting officer shall administer the following oath or affirmation to each witness appearing before the grand jury before being interrogated:

You do solemnly swear (affirm) that you will not divulge, either by words or signs, any matter about which you may be interrogated, and that you will keep secret all proceedings of the grand jury which may be had in your presence, and that you will answer truthfully such questions as may be propounded to you by the grand jury, or under its direction, so help you God.

Any witness who has conscientious scruples as to the oath above described must be allowed to make affirmations substituting for "So help you God" at the end of the oath the following:

This you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury.

2. If the witness refuses to answer questions or produce evidence of any other kind on the ground that he may be incriminated thereby, proceedings may be had under section 31-01-09.

INTERPRETERS

Sec. 31-01-11. Interpreter for witness--When required--How subpoenaed--Oath or affirmation

When a witness does not understand the English language or speak the English language, or is deaf or unable to talk, an interpreter must be sworn to interpret for him. Any person who is a qualified interpreter may be subpoenaed by any court or judge to appear before such court or judge to act as an interpreter in any action or proceeding. The subpoena must be served and returned in like manner as a subpoena for a witness. Any person so subpoenaed who fails to attend at the time and place named in the subpoena is guilty of contempt. The oath or affirmation of the interpreter shall be as follows:

You do solemnly swear [affirm] that you will justly, truly, and impartially interpret to __________ the oath [affirmation] about to be administered to him; and the questions which may be asked him, and the answers that he shall give to such questions, relative to the cause now under consideration before this court (or officer). So help you God.

Any interpreter who has conscientious scruples as to taking the oath above described shall be allowed to make affirmations, substituting for the words "So help you God" at the end of the oath the following:

This you do affirm under the pains and penalties of perjury.

CRIMINAL OFFENSES

Sec. 12.1-11-01. Perjury

1. A person is guilty of perjury, a class C felony, if, in an official proceeding, he makes a false statement under oath or equivalent affirmation, or swears or affirms the truth of a false statement previously made, when the statement is material and he does not believe it to be true.

2. Commission of perjury need not be proved by any particular number of witnesses or by documentary or other types of evidence.

3. Where in the course of one or more official proceedings, the defendant made a statement under oath or equivalent affirmation inconsistent with another statement made by him under oath or equivalent affirmation to the degree that one of them is necessarily false, both having been made within the period of the statute of limitations, the prosecution may set forth the statements in a single count alleging in the alternative that one or the other was false and not believed by the defendant to be true. Proof that the defendant made such statements shall constitute a prima facie case that one or the other of the statements was false, but in the absence of sufficient proof of which statement was false, the defendant may be convicted under this section only if each of such statements was material to the official proceeding in which it was made.

Sec. 12.1-11-02. False statements

1. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if, in an official proceeding, he makes a false statement, whether or not material, under oath or equivalent affirmation, or swears or affirms the truth of such a statement previously made, if he does not believe the statement to be true.

2. A person is guilty of a class A misdemeanor if, in a governmental matter, he:

a. Makes a false written statement, when the statement is material and he does not believe it to be true;

b. Intentionally creates a false impression in a written application for a pecuniary or other benefit, by omitting information necessary to prevent a material statement therein from being misleading;

c. Submits or invites reliance on any material writing which he knows to be forged, altered, or otherwise lacking in authenticity;

d. Submits or invites reliance on any sample, specimen, map, boundarymark, or other object which he knows to be false in a material respect; or

e. Uses a trick, scheme, or device which he knows to be misleading in a material respect.

3. This section does not apply to information given during the course of an investigation into possible commission of an offense unless the information is given in an official proceeding or the declarant is otherwise under a legal duty to give the information. Inapplicability under this subsection is a defense.

4. A matter is a "governmental matter" if it is within the jurisdiction of a government office or agency, or of an office, agency, or other establishment in the legislative or the judicial branch of government.