Two Uses of Grand Jury Subpoenas for Criminal Cases

In many criminal defense cases, not all of the pertinent evidence has been collected by the time the trial begins, but statutes of limitations means there can be no further delays. What happens, then, if a new, critical piece of evidence is discovered that the judge or jury should hear or examine? A judge can create a grand jury subpoena to effectively summon that evidence into the courtroom, whether it be a physical item or a statement from a witness or expert. Depending on the investigations, grand jury subpoenas can even be created before the trial begins.

Two Types of Grand Jury Subpoenas

The first type of a grand jury subpoena requests the collection and deliverance of specific pieces of evidence. This might be paperwork, audio recordings, laboratory results, and so on. The person in direct control of the item will be given the grand jury subpoena and is expected to comply as soon as possible.

The second type of grand jury subpoena mandates that a particular person shows up to court and provides a testimony before the jury. This can be seen as intrusive as it demands that someone temporarily leave other aspects of their life behind so they can bear witness in court. For this reason, it is not entirely common for this type of subpoena to be used.

I Was Given a Grand Jury Subpoena – What Now?

After you are served an official grand jury subpoena, you need to decide if you want to comply with it or not. If you do decide to comply, you cannot pick and choose the details; you must comply fully. For example, if you are told to produce financial records for 2013 and 2014, you cannot decide to only give those for 2013.

If you decide not to comply with the grand jury subpoena, you need to have a good reason ready. Failing to convince the court that your denial was justified can be seen as being held in contempt of court, which is a punishable crime.

Reasons you may be able to deny a grand jury subpoena include:

  • Bedridden from chronic, contagious illness.
  • Do not have access to the requested evidence.
  • Testifying represents a significant conflict of interests.
  • Requested evidence is not pertinent to the case or investigation.

The Law Office of Leonard Matsuk and our Long Beach criminal defense attorney can help you review your grand jury subpoena to decide what to do next. If you need to deny it, we can also assist you in forming an argument that can protect you from any legal backlash. Call 562.375.4834 today or fill out an online case evaluation form today to request additional information.