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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118776
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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Hello I am in California and I received a Subpoena from the

Customer Question

Hello I am in California and I received a Subpoena from the U.S. Department of Justice District of Oregon in Portland. They would like me to testifiy before a Grand Jury. However, I was given this subpoena by an IRS Special agent today May 1st, 2013 when the court date is next week May 8th, 2013. This is too short of notice for me and I do not have the funds to pay for travel expenses for me to get up there. Do I need to go? How can I get out of it?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Are you being called to testify as a witness or as a target? Have you received a target letter or target subpoena?

The Assistant US Attorney handling the grand jury should have their name on the subpoena, does it?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I'm being called to testify as a witness. I have not received a target letter nor target subpoena.

Yes it has the Assistant US Attorney. The name is Allan Garten

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your response.

I needed to make sure you were not a target as the action you take would be a bit different. As a witness, the US Attorney generally wants to work with you to gain your cooperation. Thus, what you need to do before anything else, is you need to contact the US Attorney and explain the situation and give him some available dates for you and ask that the matter be reset. If he cannot do so, ask if he can at least arrange a witness fee to help you get there or arrange for a video link testimony, as those are all options available to him at his discretion.

The US Attorney is the only one who can make these arrangements for you, without you filing a motion to quash the subpoena in the US District Court in Portland and claiming that the travel creates a severe financial hardship and get the court to order either video testimony or some other manner (which requires you get an attorney to file or go to Portland to file yourself, and sort of defeats what you are trying to do here).

Generally the US attorney will work with you on dates and rescheduling if he has any options at all.

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So if I call the Assistant Attorney and explain my financial hardship and the short notice, will I be able to get rescheduled? I think this case has to do with the IRS and I don't know if they will reschedule just for me?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

Fortunately for you, your friendly IRS people have nothing to do with setting and controlling the grand jury, the US Attorney handling the case does. Thus, from here on out you need to deal with the US Attorney. However, if he refuses to reschedule or accommodate you, then you will have no choice but to find your way there and if not then they will come and actually arrest you and charge you with contempt of grand jury and that can get you 12-18 months in federal prison for nonsense.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The fact that it is out-of-state and there was only a one week notice not enough reason? The would really charge me with contempt of Grand Jury? There must be another way...

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Thank you for your follow up.

As I said, most times the AUSA will indeed make a concession and change for this good cause. However, the bottom line is some of them can be jerks (most are not) and if you catch a bad one you are in for a tough time and if you do not show up, yes they can and will arrest you and charge you for not showing up pursuant to a lawfully served grand jury subpoena, which the feds take extremely seriously.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I see. If i received the subpeona from the IRS agent is that considered lawfully served? The Proof of Service was completely blank except for my name at the top.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
Yes, the IRS or any other law enforcement agencies are officers of the court and can serve a subpoena. As long as you were personally served, the proof of service is filled out on the copy that is returned to the US Attorney's Office by the agent serving you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

In the event that the US Attorney is not understanding of our situation, do you think we have the grounds to motion to quash subpeona?

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
To quash the subpoena would require you to go to court in Portland or hire an attorney to do so. If you received at least 5 days notice, technically it is valid, but it is possible to convince the court that the financial hardship of last minute travel and work require it to be quashed if the USA will not reset it.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 4 years ago.
I appreciate you using this site, did you have any further questions for us?