Sworn Affidavits vs. Approver Affidavits: Exploring the Key Distinctions


A sworn affidavit is a written statement that is sworn to or affirmed by the person making the statement, before a notary public or other authorized official. The person making the statement, known as the affiant, swears or affirms that the contents of the statement are true and correct. Sworn affidavits are often used in legal proceedings, such as lawsuits, divorces, and probate cases. They can also be used in non-legal contexts, such as for business transactions or employment purposes.

An approver affidavit is a special type of sworn affidavit that is made by an accused person in a criminal case. In exchange for making an approver affidavit, the accused person may be granted a lesser sentence or even pardon. An approver affidavit must disclose all of the facts of the crime, including the names and roles of all of the other people involved.

Differences between sworn affidavits and approver affidavits:

  • Purpose: Sworn affidavits are generally used to provide evidence or testimony in legal proceedings. Approver affidavits are used by accused persons to confess to a crime and provide evidence against their co-defendants.
  • Who can make them: Anyone can make a sworn affidavit. Only accused persons can make approver affidavits.
  • Consequences: Sworn affidavits are generally not binding on the affiant. If the affiant is found to have lied in the affidavit, they may be charged with perjury. Approver affidavits are binding on the affiant. If the affiant is found to have lied in the affidavit, they may be charged with perjury and their plea bargain may be revoked.


Suppose that A, B, and C are accused of committing a robbery. A is willing to confess to the crime and provide evidence against B and C. In exchange for doing so, the prosecutor offers to grant A a lesser sentence. A would then make an approver affidavit, in which he would confess to the robbery and provide details about the roles of B and C. The prosecutor would then use the approver affidavit in the trial against B and C.

It is important to note that approver affidavits are controversial. Some people believe that approver affidavits are necessary to secure convictions in cases where there is little or no other evidence. Others believe that approver affidavits are unreliable and that they can be used to pressure accused persons into confessing to crimes that they did not commit.

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