What can be done if my son was charged with home invasion with a firearm but the victim hasn’t shown up to any subpoenas or dispositions?

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What can be done if my son was charged with home invasion with a firearm but the victim hasn’t shown up to any subpoenas or dispositions?

His trial starts in 2 days; he is under speedy trial but the judge won’t exclude the victim.

Asked on June 13, 2014 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Leaving aside the fact that the victim could be subject to sanctions or punishment by the court if he/she failed to show up when subpoenad, the victim's failure to show could be anything from irrelevant to your son's case, if there is sufficient credible other evidence of the home invasion (e.g. police caught him in the act; security camera footage; his own confession or the testimony of an accomplice or co-conspirator; forensic evidence like fingerprints and fibers; etc.) or it could doom the case and let your son go free, if this was necessary evidence and the failure to be desposed prejudices your son's defense in a material (or important) way. Charged with a crime like this, your son should have an attorney; the attorney will know what, if anything, to do with  this information.

The judge cannot exclude the victim from being in the courtroom (as long as the victim is not disruptive), but you may be able to prevent the victim from testifying if the victim has refused to appear when subpoenad--or at least be in a position to really weaken or undercut his/her testimony or get a judicial order limiting it. Again, your attorney, which your son really should have for charges this serious, should know what to do.


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