Civil litigation that goes on for any length of time usually involves several “depositions.” A deposition is the oral interrogation of a party or nonparty witness, under oath, before a deposition officer. While it takes place out of court– normally at a law firm’s office– a deposition yields sworn testimony that may later be admissible in the case. To this end, it is recorded stenographically and usually videotaped, so that the judge and jury can evaluate the witness’s demeanor.

While California law provides that the witness examination at depositions “shall proceed as permitted at trial,” the absence of a judge or jury can lead to some degree of informality. But I’ve never seen anything like this. In the ongoing Johnny Depp-Amber Heard defamation trial, the jury was shown the deposition of one Alejandro Romero, who worked the front desk in the building where the former couple lived for a time. In the videotaped deposition– which for whatever reason finds Romero in the driver’s seat of a car– he can be seen nonchalantly vaping and, at one point, actually driving the vehicle. All while seamlessly testifying. And no, he was not wearing his seat belt.