Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Legal Research Tip 18: A Subpoena Primer

Welcome to the next issue of the DCLRC E-Newsletter "Legal Research Tips"! You can view back issues of these tips through other posts in this blawg. Enjoy!

Brief definitions of the terms:
subpoena - A document issued by the court to compel a witness to appear and give testimony or to procure documentary evidence in a proceeding. From ABA

subpoena duces tecum - A process by which the court commands a witness to produce certain documents or records in a trial. From ABA

request to produce documents - When one party wants an opposing party to produce documents, usually before a trial.

subpena - The modern spelling of subpoena. A subpena is a court order issued at the request of a party requiring a witness to appear in court. From Nolo

Where are the forms?
A subpoena and cerificate of service is a mandatory form for use in the Circuit Courts of Wisconsin and can be found on the Courts System's forms web page.

Requests to produce and subpoenas duces tecum are not online, but are available in the Wisconsin Civil Litigation Forms Manual as sample forms. That books is available in law libraries.

In addition, Dane Co Circuit Court Rule 114 requires this ADA Notice to be included on all notices, warrants, and subpoenas: "If you need help in this matter because of a disability, call (608) 266-4311 or TDD (608) 266-4625 and ask for the court ADA coordinator."

What's the law?
Subpoenas are covered extensively in statute 885: Witnesses and Oral Testimony and section 805.07: Civil Procedure--Trials. In addition, there are other statutes regarding subpoenas for specific documents or with specific agencies. Complete a search for the word "subpoena" in the statutes and you'll see several chapters with more specific information.

For more information see How to Represent Yourself FAQ.