Q: Can the prosecutor force a whitness testify? When key witness is a minor and family member of the person on trial.
And what is the protocall for the prosicutor going to the home of the key witness and threating them that if they dont testify that they will be arested.
A: A prosecutor may issue a subpoena requiring a person to give testimony. If the person ignores the subpoena, the prosecutor may bring the matter before the court and ask that the witness be held in contempt. Rather than just ignoring a subpoena, the best practice is to try to have an attorney file a motion to quash the subpoena if there are grounds for doing so.
A: 1. If you are served with a subpoena, you must appear in Court. Be aware, however, that the Lake County Prosecutor sends out something that looks almost identical to a COURT subpoena, but it's simply a notice that they want you to come to their office and talk to them. You do NOT have to do that. You might want to check with a lawyer to make sure that it's a COURT subpoena rather than a "prosecutor's" subpoena.
2. If your testimony in open court may possibly result in a perjury charge, or a false informing charge, you have the right to claim a 5th amendment privilege. The 5th says you can not be compelled to provide information that may help convict YOU of a crime. I'd suggest you talk to an attorney before you do that. You can hire your own or, if you are indigent, request that the Court appoint a public defender to represent you. At the beginning of your testimony, advise the Court that you might need to take the 5th, and that you'd like to have a lawyer appointed for you [again, if you are indigent].
3. In MY opinion, a prosecutor threatening arrest should be turned into the Indiana Disciplinary Commission. The prosecutor has NO authority to have you arrested; only the JUDGE can do that. And again, there is NO REQUIREMENT that you talk to a prosecutor before your testimony. Prosecutors tend to get arrogant after they've been prosecutors for more than 6 months or so and they think they have the right to bully witnesses. They don't.
4. With regard to Mr. Polen's idea about having a subpoena quashed, good luck with that. Unless you're an expert who wants to be paid for expert testimony, or a newspaper reporter, I can't think of many other situations where subpoenas have been quashed in criminal cases.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.