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SUBPOENAING WITNESSES IN GEORGIA CRIMINAL CASES

Posted by Ben Sessions | Sep 03, 2016 | 0 Comments

There remains a substantial amount of uncertainty among criminal defense attorneys in Georgia criminal cases about what it actually takes when properly subpoenaing witnesses. As strange as it may seem, a lot of lawyers simply never actually subpoena witnesses in criminal cases in Georgia, so they do not have practical experience with the process and the requirements of Georgia law. For those criminal defense attorneys that previously worked as prosecutors, the difference between subpoenaing law enforcement officers (as a prosecutor) and subpoenaing members of the public (as a defense attorney) can be astonishing.

Except as provided in Code Section 24-13-28, the witness fee shall be $25.00 per diem, and execution shall be issued by the clerk upon affidavit of the witness to enforce payment thereof. The payment of witness fees shall not be demanded as a condition precedent to attendance; but, when a witness resides outside the county where the testimony is to be given, service of the subpoena, to be valid, shall be accompanied by tender of the witness fee for one day's attendance plus mileage of 45¢ per mile for traveling expenses for going from and returning to his or her place of residence by the nearest practical route. Tender of witness fees and mileage may be made by United States currency, postal money order, cashier's check, certified check, or the check of an attorney or law firm. When the subpoena is issued on behalf of this state, or an officer, agency, or political subdivision thereof, or an accused in a criminal proceeding, witness fees and mileage need not be tendered.

Ga. Code Ann. § 24-13-25

(a) As used in this Code section, the term:(1) “Director” means the appropriate chief of police, sheriff, director of public safety of a college or university, local fire chief, director of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the commanding officer of the Georgia State Patrol, the commissioner of natural resources, the superintendent of a correctional institution, or the state fire marshal.(2) “Law enforcement officer” means any member of a municipal or county police force, any deputy sheriff, any campus policeman as defined in Code Section 20-8-1, any member of a local fire department, any member of the Georgia State Patrol or Georgia Bureau of Investigation, any correctional officer, any person employed by the Department of Natural Resources as a law enforcement officer, or any arson investigator of the state fire marshal's office.(3) “Regular duty hours” means the daily shift of duty to which a law enforcement officer is assigned and shall not include paid or unpaid vacation, paid or unpaid sick leave, paid or unpaid holiday leave, or any other paid or unpaid leave status established pursuant to the personnel regulations or scheduling practices of the employing agency.

(b) Any law enforcement officer who shall be required by subpoena to attend any superior court, other courts having jurisdiction to enforce the penal laws of this state, municipal court having jurisdiction to enforce the penal laws of this state as provided by Code Section 40-13-21, juvenile court, grand jury, hearing or inquest held or called by a coroner, or magistrate court involving any criminal matter, as a witness on behalf of the state during any hours except the regular duty hours to which the officer is assigned, shall be paid for such attendance at a fixed rate to be established by the governing authority, but not less than $25.00 per diem. The claim for the witness fees shall be endorsed on the subpoena showing the dates of attendance and stating that attendance was required during the hours other than the regular duty hours to which the claimant was assigned. The claimant shall verify this statement. The dates of attendance shall be certified by the judge or the prosecuting attorney of the court attended. The director or his or her designee shall certify that the claimant has not received any overtime pay for his or her attendance and that his or her attendance was required during hours other than regular duty hours. The amount due shall be paid by the governing body authorized to dispense public funds for the operation of the court. However, no such law enforcement officer shall claim or receive more than one witness fee per day for attendance in any court or before the grand jury regardless of the number of subpoenas which the law enforcement officer may have received requiring such officer to appear in such court or before the grand jury on any one day.

(c)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, any law enforcement officer who shall be required by subpoena to attend any court of this state with respect to any civil proceeding, as a witness concerning any matter relative to the law enforcement duties of such law enforcement officer during any hours except the regular duty hours to which the law enforcement officer is assigned, shall be paid for such attendance at a fixed rate to be established by the governing authority, but not less than $25.00 per diem. Any such law enforcement officer shall also be entitled to the mileage allowance provided in Code Section 24-13-25 when such law enforcement officer resides outside the county where the testimony is to be given. The claim for the witness fees shall be endorsed on the subpoena showing the dates of attendance and stating that attendance was required during the hours other than the regular duty hours to which the claimant was assigned. The claimant shall verify such statement. The dates of attendance shall be certified by the party obtaining the subpoena. The director or his or her designee shall certify that the claimant has not received any overtime pay for the law enforcement officer's attendance and that such law enforcement officer's attendance was required during hours other than regular duty hours.(2) Any law enforcement officer covered by paragraph (1) of this subsection who is required by subpoena to attend any court with respect to any civil proceeding, as a witness concerning any matter which is not related to the duties of such law enforcement officer, shall be compensated as provided in Code Section 24-13-25.

(d) The fee specified by subsections (b) and (c) of this Code section shall not be paid if the law enforcement officer receives any overtime pay for time spent attending such court pursuant to the subpoena.

Ga. Code Ann. § 24-13-28

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The Sessions Law Firm

1447 Peachtree St NE #530
Atlanta,
GA
30309

Phone: 470-225-7710

About the Author

Ben Sessions

I work to provide exceptional service, attention, and results to each of my clients. Most of clients come to me because they are in a completely overwhelming situation. They need someone that will do more than address their legal problems.

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