Subpoenas Wis. Stat. Section 885.11

Home  »  Uncategorized  »  Subpoenas Wis. Stat. Section 885.11
Apr 30, 2012 Comments Off on Subpoenas Wis. Stat. Section 885.11 bernardo

When someone gets a subpoena in the mail they usually wonder what happens if I don’t show up? Statute 885.11 spells that out pretty clearly:

(1) A person failing to comply is liable to the aggrieved party for all damages occasioned by the failure. Wis. Stat. § 885.11(1).
(2) The court may issue an attachment to bring the noncompliant witness to court. Wis. Stat. § 885.11(2).
(3) An inexcusable failure to comply is contempt of court, which may be punished by a fine not exceeding $200. Wis. Stat. § 885.11(3).
(4) As an additional penalty for contempt, a witness without an excuse for noncompliance may be fined all the costs of apprehension. If the witness shows a reasonable cause for noncompliance, the party who caused the witness to be apprehended will pay the costs. Wis. Stat. § 885.11(4).
(5) The court may strike the pleading of a party who fails to comply. Wis. Stat. § 885.11(5).

The real question for a practicing attorney is generally how likely is a court to actually sanction a witness who doesn’t show up?  Usually if someone doesn’t show up for a trial, the trial will take place, then be over.  Will the other party really move for sanctions?  Maybe, it depends how important the witness is.  I haven’t seen it personally, but I am sure it has been done.  Obviously you should show up and if you don’t, then 885.11 explains what can happen.  If you are friendly to the party that subpoenaed you there may even be an even less chance that sanctions are awarded against you.  Usually a court has the power sua sponte to hold you in contempt, but again I haven’t seen that.  It seems from the reading of the statute that a witness who does not show up will not automatically have anything happen to them.  Someone will actually have to make a motion.  In preliminary hearings I have had victims not show up, I haven’t seen victims have sanctions against them yet.