Buford, GA asked in Criminal Law for Georgia

Q: (Subpoena for Attendance of Witnesses) 1) Can you decline a subpoena in Georgia? 2) Can you testify in secret?

If a person is afraid because of possible retaliation can they testify outside of the visibility of the people in the courtroom?

The concern is because of the type of issue, offense and people involved.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Lynne Fleming
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  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Savannah, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: No, you cannot disregard a subpoena. The court can and will hold a witness in contempt for violating a court order or subpoena to attend.

Also, pursuant to the Constitution, a defendant has the right confront or to look a testifying witness in the eye and cross exam him or her, so no you may not testify in secret. There is one caveat, however, witnesses who testify before a grand jury do so in a closed hearing which means the defendant and his attorney shall not be present. Grand jury proceedings are also closed to the public.

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