What is a criminal subpoena?

A criminal subpoena is an order for testimony, documents, or other tangible things to be produced to a specific person (typically a party of the criminal court case) at a specific place and time.

Criminal subpoenas are governed by Vermont Rule of Criminal Procedure 17. Rule 17 states:

(a) For Attendance of Witnesses; Form; Issuance. A subpoena must be issued by the clerk, a judge, or a member of the Vermont bar. It must state the name of the court and the title, if any, of the proceeding, and must command each person to whom it is directed to attend and give testimony at the time and place specified therein. A subpoena issued by a clerk or a judge must be issued signed but otherwise in blank to a party requesting it, who shall fill in the blanks before it is served. All subpoenas must include notice as required in paragraph (c)(2) below.
(b) Defendants Unable To Pay. The court must order at any time that a subpoena be issued for service on a named witness upon an ex parte application of a defendant upon a satisfactory showing that the defendant is financially unable to pay the fees of the witness and that the presence of the witness is necessary to an adequate defense. If the court orders the subpoena to be issued the costs incurred by the process and the fees of the witness so subpoenaed shall be paid in the same manner in which similar costs and fees are paid in cases of a witness subpoenaed in behalf of the state.
(c) For Production of Documentary Evidence and of Objects. A subpoena may also command the witness to whom it is directed to produce the books, papers, documents or other objects designated therein. Such a subpoena may not be directed to an individual defendant. The court on motion made promptly may quash or modify the subpoena if compliance would be unreasonable or oppressive.

(1) Subject Matters ofSubpoena: Electronically Stored Information: Motions to Quash. A command to produce evidence or to permit inspection, copying, testing, or sampling may be joined with a command to appear at trial or hearing or at deposition, or may be issued separately. A subpoena may specify the form or forms in which electronically stored information is to be produced. A person commanded to produce and permit inspection, copying, testing, or sampling of books, papers, documents, or tangible things, or of designated electronically stored information or inspection of premises need not appear in person at the place of production or inspection unless commanded to appear for deposition, hearing, or trial. Upon a motion to quash a subpoena, the court may direct that books, papers, documents, or objects designated in the subpoena be produced before the court at a time prior to the trial or prior to the time when they are to be offered in evidence for an in camera review.
(2) Protection ofPersons Subject to Subpoenas. A party or an attorney responsible for the issuance and service of a subpoena must take reasonable steps to avoid imposing undue burden or expense on a person subject to that subpoena. A person who has been subpoenaed to produce and or permit inspection, copying, testing, or sampling may within 14 days after service file written objection or a motion to quash. The subpoena must provide notice of the person’s right to object or to seek to quash, and the procedures for doing so. In the event of an objection, all parties have the right to be heard. If objection has been made, the party seeking the materials will not be entitled to inspect and copy the materials except pursuant to a court order. When a party seeks access to a person’s school records or to any other records of a person which are by law confidential, the party must provide written notice to the other party that the records have been requested prior to the service of any subpoena requesting the records.
(d) Service. A subpoena may be served by the sheriff, by his deputy, by a constable, or by any other person who is not a party and who is not less than 18 years of age. Service of a subpoena shall be made by delivering a copy thereof to the person named.
(e) Place of Service. A subpoena requiring the attendance of a witness at a hearing or trial may be served at any place within the state.
(f) For Taking Deposition; Place of Examination.

(1) Issuance. Proof of service of notice to take a deposition as provided in Rule 15(b) constitutes sufficient authorization for the issuance of subpoenas for the persons named or described therein.
(2) Place. A resident of this state shall not be required to travel to attend an examination more than 50 miles one way, unless the court otherwise orders. A nonresident of the state may be required to attend only within 50 miles from the place of service or at such other convenient place as is fixed by an order of court.
(g) Contempt. Failure by any person without adequate excuse to obey a subpoena served upon him may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the subpoena issued.
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