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Old 01-21-2009, 03:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Out of state subpoena

I have been subpoena'd to appear as a witness against my friend in PA. I live in Delaware and do not wish to travel that far and lose a day of work plus the cost of traveling 6+ hours. I recieved the subpoena in the mail ( certified ) and thought you have to be served in person, plus it's out of state. Is the subpeona legal across state lines ? Will I be charged in PA for criminal contempt if I do not appear ?
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Old 01-21-2009, 04:59 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlan/pitt View Post
I have been subpoena'd to appear as a witness against my friend in PA. I live in Delaware and do not wish to travel that far and lose a day of work plus the cost of traveling 6+ hours. I recieved the subpoena in the mail ( certified ) and thought you have to be served in person, plus it's out of state. Is the subpeona legal across state lines ? Will I be charged in PA for criminal contempt if I do not appear ?

A subpoena is a court order---you must appear, unless extenuating circumstances exist---lack of desire, or unwilling to appear are not really good reasons to not show up. If you do not show up, you can be found in contempt of court, even if it is out of state. Different states can have different procedures---and certified mail is used legitimately in most states.

Have you had any contact with the prosecutors office, or have you been questioned by them already? I assume you know with what your friend has been charged? I assume you intend to be a hostile witness? Are they aware of this?

Contempt of court is an act or omission tending to obstruct or interfere with the orderly administration of justice, or to impair the dignity of the court or respect for its authority. civil contempt consists of failure to do something which is ordered by the court for the benefit of another party to the proceedings (sometimes called relief to litigants), while criminal contempts are acts in disrespect of the courts or its processes which obstruct the administration of justice.

The judge has the authority to send the contemnor to jail for up to six months without a trial. Not sure I'd risk it.
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Old 01-22-2009, 11:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would certainly speak to an attorney in your state. Issuing a subpoena for an out of state witness is a somewhat difficult procedure because typically a states reach does not cross over state lines. So depending on what was done to secure this subpoena it most likely has no weight out of state....
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Old 01-22-2009, 12:21 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Do a search using the Boolean search terms such as "subpoena" "Out of state", etc. and a list of a dozen matches pops up which indicates different states that allow out of state delivery of subpoena's via certified mail. North Carolina was just one:

For federal subpoenas , some courts hold that there must be personal hand delivery of the subpoena to the individual named in the subpoena. Other courts allow service by certified mail. This rule applies for both civil cases (see [COLOR=#0066cc]Fed. Rule 45 (b)(1) [/COLOR]) and criminal cases (see [COLOR=#0066cc]Fed Rule 17 (a) [/COLOR]).
For North Carolina subpoenas, service may be rendered by personal delivery of the subpoena to the recipient, or by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested ( [COLOR=#0066cc]N.C. 1A-1, Rule 45 (e) [/COLOR]and ( [COLOR=#0066cc]N.C.G.S. 15A-802 [/COLOR]). Telephone service is valid for subpoenas to compel attendance of a witness at a trial (but not for production of documents) if the call is made by a sheriff or sheriff's designee.

My point was, many states DO allow delivery via certified mail. If her state does, I don't know. But I didn't say her state did. I said most states do.
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