In yesterday’s post , I discussed whether an subpoena served via telephone was valid . In reading the rule , something else caught my attention. Is a subpoena served outside the of Tennessee valid ? Nashville is a great city to visit. Some folks might have a little too much fun on lower Broad and get into a little misunderstanding with the police. Does a witness have to come back to Tennessee if they get a letter from the District Attorney or a subpoena from the clerk ?

There are two different rules that govern the subject. First interstate subpoenas are covered under the Uniform Law To Secure Attendance of Witnesses. Here are a couple of points. Under T.C.A. 40-17-203 ,only a judge of a court of record can issue the subpoena. So the statute does not apply in General Sessions Courts. Secondly , the court must hold a hearing to determine if the witness is material and necessary. The bottom line is this rule is only applicable in Circuit Court or criminal Court. We are back to Rule 17 of the Tennessee Rules of Criminal Procedure . Here is what part of the rule states:

(2) Service Within State. A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial may be served any place within Tennessee.

From the plain reading of the statute , it appears that Rule 17 does not trigger the attendance of a out of state witness unless there is a application pursuant to T.C.A 40-17-201.

I have enjoyed this topic of getting back to the basics of evidence and procedure . Lawyers sometimes take the rules for granted . In this spirit , I hope to write weekly on evidence and procedure issues