LCrR 17.1: Subpoenas

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Subpoenas Served Within 100 Miles. For subpoenas to be served within 100 miles from the place of holding court, defense counsel appointed under the Criminal Justice Act and federal defenders may obtain witness subpoenas from the clerk's office. The clerk must issue those subpoenas signed, sealed, and designated in forma pauperis, but otherwise in blank. By completing such a subpoena, defense counsel certifies that in counsel's opinion the witness's presence is necessary to an adequate defense.

Subpoenas Served More Than 100 Miles Away. For subpoenas to be served more than 100 miles from the place of holding court, an application for issuance of a subpoena in forma pauperis must be made to the Court. The application may be made ex parte.

A party seeking a subpoena for books, papers, documents, data, or other objects under Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(c) in advance of trial must seek prior approval from the court. An application for approval may be made ex parte. The subpoena must state that the requested items must be returned to the chambers of the assigned judge.

COMMENT: LCrR 17.1 should be read with Fed. R. Crim. P. 17 (which is substantially similar to Fed R. Civ. P. 45). Paragraph (b) provides guidance for the issuance and return of subpoenas under Fed. R. Crim. P. 17(c). That rule was “not intended to provide a means of discovery for criminal cases,” but it was designed “to expedite the trial by providing a time and place before trial for the inspection of subpoenaed materials.” United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683, 698-99 (1974). To facilitate court supervision of subpoenas directed to third parties, subpoenas issued under that rule must specify that the items sought be returned to the court, and not elsewhere, such as a lawyer's office.

July 1, 2017