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To make certain, to substantiate, or to confirm by formal oath, affirmation, or Affidavit.

The U.S. legal system relies on its participants to tell the truth. Before witnesses can give testimony at a trial or some other proceeding, they must swear or affirm that the testimony about to be given will be truthful. Apart from witnesses, when a particular Pleading, statement, or other document is submitted to the court, the court requires that the person offering it verify its correctness, truth, or authenticity.

The verification takes the form of a written certification that is generally attached to the document in question. The most common form of certification is an affidavit. An affidavit is a written statement sworn to or affirmed before an officer authorized to administer an oath or affirmation, usually a Notary Public. The affidavit names the place of execution and certifies that the person making the affidavit states particular facts and that he appeared before the officer on a certain date and swore to and signed the statement.A common verification is called an affidavit of service. The person swears or affirms that the attached legal document has been served (delivered) personally or by mail to the persons listed in the affidavit on a certain date. The affidavit of service verifies to the court that the document has, in fact, been sent to all parties who should receive it. Though this type of verification is a routine matter, it is essential to fairness and the Due Process of Law.

The need for verification is illustrated in Criminal Law. Law enforcement officers and others use affidavits to provide information to a magistrate to establish Probable Cause for the issuance of an arrest warrant or a Search Warrant. The officer making the affidavit must set forth sufficient facts to satisfy the magistrate that an offense has been committed and that the person accused is the guilty party. If the officer falsely swears to the truthfulness of the affidavit's contents, a court may dismiss the charges. The officer, like anyone else who falsely verifies the truthfulness of a statement, may be charged with the crime of perjury.

The rules of evidence recognize the legitimacy of a verified copy, which is a copy of a document that is shown by independent evidence to be true. A verified copy will be allowed into evidence if successive witnesses trace the original into the hands of a witness who made or compared the copy.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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