For a municipal traffic ticket trial in USA, can a judge put me under oath as I am about to give a closing statement? I declined to testify and accepted to give a closing statement instead. The judge said, “all right. You know what? I’m going to put you under oath anyway. Raise your right hand...” I raised my right hand and acknowledged penalty of perjury. He said, “I’ll accept that as being under oath.”

1 Answer 1


This wouldn't be customary and is probably improper, but the judge may have been trying to do you a favor.

In the absence of being under oath, the judge could not consider anything said in your closing statement as evidence. If you are under oath, the judge can weigh something you say in your closing statement against the other evidence when making a ruling.

  • “You know what? I’m going to put you under oath anyway.” Based on this, I feel like that’s very unlikely. The idea probably was to perjure the affiant.
    – kisspuska
    Oct 9, 2022 at 17:36
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    @kisspuska I've had two experiences with Taxi and Limousine Commission administrative law judges in NYC. One ALJ was clearly on my side (likely because the driver seemed to be lying to him) and accepted some of my statements without questioning my credibility. The other ALJ asked about details that were irrelevant to the claim until I said that I didn't remember something and then found me not to be credible. Judges can manipulate the process and even bend the rules both for and against an inexperienced litigant depending on the circumstances or perhaps just on the judge's mood.
    – phoog
    Oct 11, 2022 at 9:06

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