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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  30 years legal experience
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I have asked people to submit notarized statements for a small

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I have asked people to submit notarized statements for a small claims case (involving criminal mischief/vandalism). They are asked to state they knew nothing of events and had no previous issue with items involved (they have already told me this to be the case). They do not wish to provide the document requested. Can I subpoena them to come to court and tell the judge why? Thank you.

Good afternoon Chris,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

Yes, if you have witnesses who will not willing give you a sworn statement to present, then you may subpoena them to the trial. You will need to go to the Small Claims Clerk’s office and fill out the subpoena forms.

You may reply back to me again, using the Reply to Expert link, if you have additional questions.

I wish you the best in your future,


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

GREAT! I will state in cover document that I feel they have better things to do than come to court. While heresay is just that I am willing to accept the statements and hope the judge sees the point I am making. However, should you (continue) to find my requests cause you to 'be involved', I can subpoena you and allow you to come to court where I will ask you the questions I feel are involved in person. I know you cant tell me what to write, but does this sound compelling without being threatening (If it were me I would rather fill out a statement that is true and not accusatory [I do not not ask them to point at anyone. Just cover themselves so I can provide information about someone] than have to go to court and do it in a public forum). Also, do I have to tell the defendant about the documents I am asking them to sign and (if it goes to that) subpoenas? Thank you.

Good morning Chris,

You can obviously do what you want, but it seems a bad idea to send letters to these people who would not cooperate with you threatening a subpoena if they don’t give you an affidavit.

1. You have no control over what they write in their statement---and they might retaliate---or even state that they are only doing it because of your threat.
2. If they know in advance that you will try to serve them, they might try and avoid service of the subpoena.
3. If they do appear at the hearing after the threat---they might very well tell the judge something about the threat, or even state that what you asked them to write is not their version----and that would probably lose you the case.

Ask them nicely--ONCE---if they will write an affidavit (which you have already done). Take them at their word---do not make the mistake of appearing that you are interfering with a witness by making a written, or otherwise, threat if they don’t comply with your request. Just have them served---they won't be expecting it.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can I ask for you with a new question about this case? Also, I received error page when sending small tip. Did it come through? Thank you. And thank you for the heads up. I would have screwed this up from the get go.

Good afternoon,

If you ask a new question and indicate in the first sentence that it is for Doug, I will get the question.

And no, unfortunately I did not get a bonus. Clearly something must have gone wrong.

Have a great day,


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