2011 Connecticut Code
Title 52 Civil Actions
Chapter 899 Evidence
Sec. 52-143. Subpoenas for witnesses. Penalty for failure to appear and testify.

      Sec. 52-143. Subpoenas for witnesses. Penalty for failure to appear and testify. (a) Subpoenas for witnesses shall be signed by the clerk of the court or a commissioner of the Superior Court and shall be served by an officer, indifferent person or, in any criminal case in which a defendant is represented by a public defender or special assistant public defender, by an investigator of the Division of Public Defender Services. The subpoena shall be served not less than eighteen hours prior to the time designated for the person summoned to appear, unless the court orders otherwise.

      (b) Any subpoena summoning a police officer as a witness may be served upon the chief of police or any person designated by the chief of police at the appropriate police station who shall act as the agent of the police officer named in the subpoena. Service upon the agent shall be deemed to be service upon the police officer.

      (c) Any subpoena summoning a correctional officer as a witness may be served upon a person designated by the Commissioner of Correction at the correctional facility where the correctional officer is assigned who shall act as the agent of the correctional officer named in the subpoena. Service upon the agent shall be deemed to be service upon the correctional officer.

      (d) Subpoenas for witnesses summoned by the state, including those issued by the Attorney General or an assistant attorney general, or by any public defender or assistant public defender acting in his official capacity may contain this statement: "Notice to the person summoned: Your statutory fees as witness will be paid by the clerk of the court where you are summoned to appear, if you give the clerk this subpoena on the day you appear. If you do not appear in court on the day and at the time stated, or on the day and at the time to which your appearance may have been postponed or continued by order of an officer of the court, the court may order that you be arrested."

      (e) If any person summoned by the state, or by the Attorney General or an assistant attorney general, or by any public defender or assistant public defender acting in his official capacity, by a subpoena containing the statement as provided in subsection (d), or if any other person upon whom a subpoena is served to appear and testify in a cause pending before any court and to whom one day's attendance and fees for traveling to court have been tendered, fails to appear and testify, without reasonable excuse, he shall be fined not more than twenty-five dollars and pay all damages to the party aggrieved; and the court or judge, on proof of the service of a subpoena containing the statement as provided in subsection (d), or on proof of the service of a subpoena and the tender of such fees, may issue a capias directed to some proper officer to arrest the witness and bring him before the court to testify.

      (f) Any subpoena summoning a physician as a witness may be served upon the office manager or person in charge at the office or principal place of business of such physician who shall act as the agent of the physician named in the subpoena. Service upon the agent shall be deemed to be service upon the physician.

      (1949 Rev., S. 7866; March, 1958, P.A. 27, S. 63; 1961, P.A. 378; 517, S. 41; 1967, P.A. 392; 1971, P.A. 127; P.A. 79-11; P.A. 82-160, S. 59; P.A. 84-141; P.A. 88-25; P.A. 94-30; P.A. 03-19, S. 117; 03-224, S. 9.)

      History: 1961 acts deleted obsolete provisions for signing subpoenas and issuance of capias by justices of the peace and increased fine from $5 to not more than $25; 1967 act clarified section by adding provisions re contents of subpoena statement and re issuance of capias by court or judge "on proof of the service of a subpoena containing the aforesaid statement"; 1971 act added references to subpoenas issued by attorney general or an assistant attorney general; P.A. 79-11 added provision re manner of serving subpoena summoning a police officer; P.A. 82-160 rephrased the section and inserted Subsec. indicators; P.A. 84-141 amended Subsec. (a) by adding provision re time period for service of subpoena; P.A. 88-25 amended Subsec. (a) to authorize service by an investigator of the division of public defender services in any criminal case in which a defendant is represented by a public defender or special public defender; P.A. 94-30 inserted new Subsec. (c) re manner of service of a subpoena summoning a correctional officer and relettered the remaining Subsecs. accordingly (Revisor's note: References in Subsec. (e) to former Subsec. (c) were replaced editorially by the Revisors with references to Subsec. (d)); P.A. 03-19 made a technical change in Subsec. (a), effective May 12, 2003; P.A. 03-224 added Subsec. (f) re service of subpoena summoning physician as witness, effective July 2, 2003.

      See Sec. 51-35 re witnesses' imprisonment for failure to testify and re protection against self-incrimination.

      See Sec. 52-56(d) re execution or service of capias in any precinct by state marshal of any precinct.

      See Sec. 52-162b re issuance of subpoena to crime victim by pro se litigant.

      Effect of subpoena duces tecum. 79 C. 118. Fact that witness has already given deposition is not legal excuse for failure to obey subpoena. 116 C. 393. Power of court to issue capias directing arrest of a witness is ordinarily conditioned on issuance of subpoena. 132 C. 637. Cited. 146 C. 252. When the failure of a party to call a witness may be the basis for an unfavorable inference. 147 C. 672. Issuance of a capias is in the discretion of the court and statute does not mandate that court issue a capias when a witness under subpoena fails to appear. 163 C. 293. Cited. 182 C. 476. Cited. 193 C. 350. Cited. 197 C. 507.

      Cited. 5 CA 556. Cited. 8 CA 598. Cited. 33 CA 65. Cited. 40 CA 1.

      Cited. 5 CS 63. Cited. 37 CS 693.

      Subsec. (d):

      Service of subpoena "upon" a person does not require physical acceptance of it, if the person is given notice of it and its contents. 5 CA 556.

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