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Legal_Beagle06

Witness Scheduling

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What can be done about this?

 

An Illinois case has been dragging through the courts for years. Discovery has been labored, with several hearings being held, and a trial date has been finally scheduled for the end of this summer.

 

The court, many months ago, tasked both sides to be in touch with their respective witnesses early. Get them prepared, so they can be warned to attend and that there will be no scheduling conflicts with vacations, etc. The court also warned that there will be no continuances.

 

At a recent hearing, the court asked if both sides were in compliance with this previous order and had the many witnesses been contacted for the specified court date.

 

Both sides answered "yes".

 

The problem is, this is not correct, many witnesses are unaware, having moved, made other plans or are from out-of-state. Some will be heading for college at this time or have already scheduled their vacations and made travel plans. They've reported that no contact has been made or subpeonas issued to them (the court docket reflects this).

 

It is known that more than half of the defense witnesses and a little less of the state's witnesses have no idea that a court date has been set. When recently polled it was news to them.

 

What can be done? Is this common practice? Should these witnesses on their own contact their respective sides and ask to be served? Some are already out of the country. Some are angry that they may have to change their plans. Should they contact the court?

 

What can these witnesses do? None have been "officially" contacted.

 

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First, who you think are defense witnesses, your attorney may not.  Second, it's not your attorney's job to worry about how the DA handles the prosecution witnesses.  A subpoena is a court order to show up but they don't need one to come voluntarily.

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It is known that more than half of the defense witnesses and a little less of the state's witnesses have no idea that a court date has been set. When recently polled it was news to them.

 

Known to whom?  Polled by whom?  Obviously, if they've been "polled" about this, then they now know about the trial.  Right?

 

 

 

What can be done?

 

I'm sure that thousands of things "can be done," so it's not clear what you really want to know.  Out-of-state witnesses aren't subject to a state court's subpoena power, so it's not likely that anything can be done to compel their attendance if they're not willing to attend in person.  As for anyone else, if subpoenas get served, then they're under court order to appear, regardless of other plans they may have.  If the attorneys for the parties fail to serve any witness with a subpoena, then that witness may appear or not appear.

 

 

 

Should these witnesses on their own contact their respective sides and ask to be served?

 

I can't conceive that anyone would want to do that.  However, a witness who wants to appear and testify doesn't need a subpoena (unless maybe to show an employer in order to be excused from work).

 

 

 

Should they contact the court?

 

For what purpose?

 

 

 

What can these witnesses do? None have been "officially" contacted.

 

Again, I'm sure they can do any number of things.  If they want to appear and testify, then they don't need a subpoena.  Of course, that assumes that one or the other of the attorneys wants a given person to testify.  If you're suggesting that a person wants to testify as a witness but none of the attorneys wants that person to testify, then the witness won't testify (what he or she wants doesn't make a hoot of difference).  As for any witness who doesn't want to testify and hasn't been served with a subpoena, nothing need be done.

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Beagle,

 

Is this one of the ways that is claimed counsel is "damaging" the case?

 

Not contacting witnesses?

 

 

Please answer this or other post:

 

Legal_Beagle06, on 07 Apr 2016 - 8:17 PM, said:snapback.png

I am now concerned that counsel is damaging my case...

 

Law_Dogg2016, on 16 Apr 2016 - 8:03 PM, said:snapback.png

Explain.

 

Beagle needs to explain how his case may have been damaged...

 

Back to the topic of this thread, Reviewing Discovery.

 

Other post at: https://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/235983-reviewing-discovery/page-3
 

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Known to whom?  Polled by whom?  Obviously, if they've been "polled" about this, then they now know about the trial.  Right?

 

The local media recently announced that trial is soon to be scheduled.

 

So, the media has been contacting known witnesses. Counsel has not.

 

Those contacted now know. Their calls to counsel have not been returned.

 

The entire list of witnesses is not known.

 

Other related post: https://boards.answers.findlaw.com/index.php/topic/235983-reviewing-discovery/page-3?&p=593020

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Are they prosecution witnesses or witnesses for the defense?  If their prosecution witnesses, it's the DA's problem to inform and subpoena them, NOT the defense.  I suspect they are prosecution witnesses because I seriously doubt the defense attorney would let them know who his witnesses are.

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Are they prosecution witnesses or witnesses for the defense? 

If their prosecution witnesses, it's the DA's problem to inform and subpoena them, NOT the defense.  I suspect they are prosecution witnesses because I seriously doubt the defense attorney would let them know who his witnesses are.

 

Thank you LegalwriterOne for your reponses and good comments.

 

The concerns are about defense witnesses who have not been interviewed, contacted or warned of the pending trial. Many heard about the scheduling thru the media or by other sources (but not all of them).

 

Granted, prosecution witnesses are their own problem, the only concern is that the state was barely able to gather witnesses for hearings with advanced warning. These repeated delays have harmed the case.

 

Both sides answered ready, but neither side had contacted witnesses and it appears they've agreed to schedule trial so as to futher delay the proceedings, then beg later of witness unavailability. The court tepidly warned this week "there will be a trial", it is just questionable whether this time will inherently be a non-starter.

 

Neither side has been in contact with these witnesses for years... are their complaints meaningless? Are they able to do anything?

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The concerns are about defense witnesses who have not been interviewed, contacted or warned of the pending trial. Many heard about the scheduling thru the media or by other sources (but not all of them).

 

Often defense witnesses are not disclosed or contacted until the last minute, so as not to tip-off the state and their investigators.

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