How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Zoey_ JD Your Own Question
Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23540
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
18321761
Type Your Criminal Law Question Here...
Zoey_ JD is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

My son, just released from prison and on parole, is now

Customer Question

My son, just released from prison and on parole, is now working in another state, and everything is going well. He just received a subpeona concerning a murder that took place in the prison where he was. He was not involved, was not a witness, but they want him to travel back to Colorado for an indefinent period of time, to testify to something that he knows nothing about. This is not only a hardship, but impossible, since he hasn't received his first paycheck yet. Can anything be done ?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

Hello,

Has he been subpoenaed as a prosecution witness or a defense witness?

Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

I was hoping to hear back from you, but I'll provide an answer. If it doesn't address everything, reply on this question thread with what else you need to know or what you need clarified and I will add to my answer.

A subpoena is a court order, and if your son fails to respond to a court order, he can be fined or charged with contempt. As he's on parole, he wouldn't want that. HOWEVER, service has to be properly made or it can be ignored. He is supposed to be personally served with the subpoena by someone who is at least 18 and not a party to the action. So if he gets word of this in the mail, that's not proper service and he would not have to respond to it.

If he was properly served, he'd have to get permission from parole to return to Colorado indefinitely and they would have to approve that.

If he is supposed to testify for the state, he can call the prosecutor's office, explain his situation and let them know that not only wasn't he involved in this incident and didn't witness it but he is also without the financial wherewithal to afford the trip and to stay in Colorado. He can ask to be excused from the proceedings because it would create a financial hardship for him and he has nothing to contribute. If the state finds his testimony important, they will pay his expenses.

If he's a defense witness, he could contact the defense and proceed per above to ask to be excused from the proceedings.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
The prosecution is the one doing the summons. He wasn't properly served, but thats a path we chose not to take. His parole officer (in N. Dakota) is aware of the subpeona. She is very helpful and even called Colorado, but says he must respond. Are the people doing the summons bound to pay him anything or even just his expenses ?
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 9 months ago.

No they are not bound to pay for anything, but if they want him badly enough and he can't afford to come in, they should, and in my experience, they will. He needs to talk to the prosecutor, who is the one who can excuse him.