Can I be fond in contempt for failure to be a witness ifI never recieved a supoena?

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Can I be fond in contempt for failure to be a witness ifI never recieved a supoena?

I work in a local bar, where a fellow employee was in altercation with a patron. That person is suing him, and the defendant wanted me to be a witness. The court hearing is today, and I was told I would be in contempt if I didn’t show. I was never served a subpoena.

Asked on April 12, 2011 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

From the way that you have presented the facts here I would have to say that the answer to your question is no, you can not be held in contempt of court for failure to appear if you were never in fact served with a subpoena in the matter.  And the subpeona probably needs to be so ordered by a judge to have you be held in contempt or some proceeding before a judge must be had to show you ignored the subpoena.  This is a civil proceeding, correct, between the patron and the employee and not a criminal proceeding for assault and battery brought by the District Attorney or County Prosecutor's office.  The parties want you to be a witness to the altercation to help either prove or disprove their case. Then they both should serve you with a subpeona.  You can voluntarily be a witness as well.  That is a choice that you need to make.  Good luck to you.


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