I just returned from notarizing a signature for an incarcerated person at the detention facility in my county.
I am in the State of California and have been taught never to allow my Sequential Journal to leave my sight. However, in order to obtain the signature of the prisoner, the sheriff took my journal, along with the documents that needed to be notarized, to have the prisoner sign (out of my sight) before I was allowed to “meet” him. Once the journal and documents that were to be signed were taken, I was escorted, with the prisioner’s daughter, to a window with a phone. The daughter introduced me to her father as the notary that was going to notarize his documents. He showed me, through the window, his ID which clearly showed his name and inmate number, although there was no picture of him.
We then returned to the sheriff to collect my journal and the signed documents. The prisoner had signed my journal and everything seemed to be in order, however, the sheriff did not obtain the thumb print. Regardless of the type of document I am notarizing, I make it a rule to always obtain the thumb print of the person whose signature I am notarizing. In this particular case, the document was 2 copies of a SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY CALIFORNIA ONLY.
Once we were released, I then proceeded to notarize the documents for the prisoner’s daughter. WHAT SHOULD I HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY? I’m asking this because
1. there was no picture on the prisoner’s ID
2. he didn’t sign the documents, nor my journal, in my presence
3. although for a very short time, my journal was taken from me.
4. no thumb print was obtained
I look forward to your help as I anticipate that I will be doing more notarizations in the detention facility.
First, never allow someone else to take your journal without a court order. The journal must be kept in your sole possession at all times.
Two, an inmate ID does not have all the requirements to qualify per law for proper I.D. You cannot accept this form of I.D.
Three, thumbprint is required in California for a POA signing. You can be fined $2,500.00 for not getting it.
Four, if this was an Acknowledgment, the signer does not have to sign in front of you. The signer simply acknowledges signing the document of their own free will, without coercion.
I would contact the head of the facility and let them know the Sheriff is breaking notarial law by taking your journal. Send them the proper requirements.