Information on a Subpoena
1. Defendant's name
2. Witness's name and address
3. Case number
4. Date of the hearing
5. Time person requested should be there
6. What exactly is going on (trial, hearing, etc)
7. The Judge assigned to the case
8. Which courtroom and on what floor.
9. To reach the prosecutor assigned, please click here.
This will take you to the court room assignments. Also note our phone number is
listed on the page in case there are any questions with the subpoena you have
received. Please have this information available before calling our office; we will ask for it.
If you are unable to contact the prosecutor assigned to the case, and have any additional
questions, please contact the Prosecutor Division’s Executive Assistant, Tiffany Kinder at (614) 645-8910 or
Have Questions About The Court Process?
The public records search at the Municipal Court's website may further assist you
by using the following link. http://www.fcmcclerk.com/Pa/pa.php.
Public records search will provide you with more detailed information on the case
(such as charges, date filed, etc).
INTRODUCTION TO FRANKLIN COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT
If you are reading this, you have probably been subpoenaed as a witness in a criminal
case. We would like to tell you a little bit about what that means.
First, in every criminal case there are at least two sides: the Prosecution
(represented by prosecuting attorneys), and the Defendant (usually represented by
one or more defense attorneys). The Prosecution represents the State of
(or one of its cities or counties) and its people. That means that even though you
may be the victim of a crime, you are not represented by the prosecuting attorney;
you are considered a witness in the criminal case. Also, the prosecuting attorney
makes the ultimate decisions about how and when to proceed with the case, although
your thoughts and feelings are taken into consideration.
Second, according to our Constitution, every defendant in a criminal case has the
right to a jury trial on any crime that carries the possibility of jail time. What that means for you, is that you
will have to come to court at least twice (for a pretrial date and then for a jury
trial date), and probably several more times.
It is important to understand that because of the number of cases heard in
our court on a daily basis most cases have several jury trial dates before they
are resolved. As a witness, you will
be required to appear at all of those court dates.
In the case of Minor Misdemeanors (such as Speeding, Failure to Keep an Assured
Clear Distance Ahead, Failure to Yield, etc.), which do not carry the possibility
of incarceration, the case is set for trial by a Judge (called a Court Trial) much
more quickly. In contrast to cases
set for jury trial, these cases typically have only one court date so you must be
present and prepared for trial on the first date you are subpoenaed.
Third, every defendant also has the right to confront witnesses testifying against
him. That means that witnesses must
be present, testify in open court under oath and be subject to cross-examination. Therefore, it is not usually
possible to present testimony in the form of written witness statements given to
the police, prior recorded testimony (such as a deposition) or having someone else
testify as to what they were told.
That means that you must appear personally at every court date and be prepared to
YOUR DAY IN COURT
Now let’s talk about what happens when you actually get to court.
The case for which you are subpoenaed will be heard by one of fifteen judges
in the Franklin County Municipal Court building.
All of the criminal cases handled by this court are misdemeanors.
A misdemeanor in
is a crime punishable by no more than six months in jail and/or not more than a
$1,000 fine. Misdemeanors are considered
less severe than felonies.
A criminal misdemeanor (other then a Minor Misdemeanor) takes the following course:
Crime, Arrest, Arraignment, Pretrial and Jury Trial.
Cases can also be set for a variety of hearings which usually occur between
Pretrial and Jury Trial. They can also
be set for a Sentencing Hearing after a conviction.
You may check the status of an open criminal case in Franklin County Municipal
Court at any time by going to www.fcmcclerk.com/pa/pa.php. Below is a chart showing the progression
of a criminal case through the misdemeanor criminal justice system.
The first time the case will appear before a judge is at Arraignment.
At Arraignment, the defendant enters a plea (often Not Guilty) and, if appropriate,
the judge sets bond. You may come to
a defendant’s arraignment if you wish, but your appearance is not required and you
will not be subpoenaed. If you choose
to appear, you may request the Court to issue a Temporary Protection Order (TPO)
that will require the defendant to have no contact with you throughout the life
of the case. TPO’s are only awarded
in certain types of cases (typically offenses of violence).
After Arraignment, a criminal case is assigned to a judge for trial, and that judge
usually presides over the case until it is concluded.
It is at this point, you have probably been subpoenaed as a witness. Judges hear several criminal cases a
day; sometimes ninety or more. This
means multiple cases are set at the same time.
It is important to understand that just because you have been subpoenaed
to appear at
, the case will not necessarily be heard at that time.
You should be prepared to wait.
Also, a judge’s docket is in alphabetical order; the defendant’s place on the docket
does not reflect the order the case will be heard.
Cases that are being resolved (either by a plea of Guilty or No Contest to
the original charge or as part of a plea bargain) are heard first as it only takes
a few minutes to enter the plea. Trials
begin after all the other cases are resolved because they are much more lengthy
proceedings. Cases set for trial begin
in order of age with the oldest case going first.
As mentioned above, trials are complex and often lengthy hearings which typically
last between three and five days.
After a case has been resolved by a plea or a conviction at trial, the judge sentences
the defendant. Sentencing is the penalty
phase of a criminal case during which a defendant may be ordered to go to jail,
pay a fine, be put on probation, etc.
The judge is the only person responsible for sentencing a defendant; a prosecutor
may make recommendations to the judge and a defense attorney may offer mitigation,
or reasons why the sentence should be less severe, but the final decision is up
to the judge.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM
Now that we have laid out your responsibilities, let’s talk about your rights. If you are the victim in a criminal
case, you have several rights under O.R.C. 2930.06 and 2930.12.
Copies of those statutes can be found here:
These rights include the right to be notified of all court dates in the criminal
proceeding, the right to be informed of any amendment or dismissal of the charges,
and the right to make a statement to the judge at the time of sentencing (called
a victim impact statement). In certain
cases, you may also ask the judge to order the defendant to pay restitution, or
payment for damages caused by the defendant’s conduct.
This does not include money lost for time off work, money for pain
and suffering or punitive damages.
Also, restitution is not available in cases involving Minor Misdemeanors.
It is the judge’s decision whether or not to award restitution and in what
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
I received a subpoena and I can not make the upcoming court date, what do I do?
You need to contact the prosecutor handling the case as soon as possible.
A list of prosecutors, including the courtroom to which they are
assigned, can be found here:
What happens if I do not come to court?
Failure to appear at the time and place indicated on your subpoena may result in
your being held in contempt of court.
A warrant for your arrest will be issued and, upon your arrest, a hearing will be
scheduled for you to appear before the judge and explain why you did not appear. If you are found to be in contempt of
court, you can face jail time and/or a fine.
I received my subpoena after the court date, what do I do?
Due to the high volume of cases we handle, inclimate weather, problems with your
mail service, etc. subpoenas may arrive late on some occasions.
You will not be held responsible for any failure to receive a subpoena that
was beyond your control. If you would
like to know what happened with the case, you may check on the status of the case
at any time by visiting the Franklin County Municipal Court Clerk’s website found
If the case was continued to another date when you are unavailable, please
contact the assigned prosecutor.
I have moved.
How can I change my address?
Please call the assigned prosecutor’s Legal Assistant.
They can change your address to ensure you continue to receive subpoenas. A list of Prosecutors and there assigned
Legal Assistants can be found here:
Where can I park?
There are two parking garages attached to the Courthouse Complex.
However, they typically fill up quickly (by
on most week days). Other alternatives
include surface lots, parking meters, and the former
parking garage. All of these are located
relatively close to Franklin County Municipal Court.
Also, please consider that you may be in court for several hours and plan
accordingly. Once in court, if you
need to attend to parking, please tell the courtroom prosecutor before you leave.
Can I be “on call” for my upcoming court date?
That depends on the prosecutor handling your case and your individual situation. Some prosecutors will excuse a witness
from appearing under certain circumstances, unless or until they are called by phone
and told to appear. Every prosecutor
will handle this situation differently.
It is important that you speak to the individual prosecutor handling your case and
pay close attention to what he or she tells you.
With that said, please consider the following:
1.) Being placed “on call” is the exception,
rather than the rule.
2.) Only the prosecutor handling your
case may place you “on call,” and only after you have spoken with them directly.
3.) If you are placed “on call,” you
must be available throughout the day.
If the prosecutor is unable to reach you, you will be treated as though you failed
4.) The prosecutor will not typically
know if you are needed until the day of the court date.
Therefore, you must be available to appear within a short time of being contacted
on the day for which you have been subpoenaed.
That may mean leaving in the middle of work, school, etc.
What can I expect if my case goes to trial?
As mentioned above, most trials will begin in the afternoon after the other cases
on the docket have been resolved. If
your case goes to trial, the assigned prosecutor will explain exactly when you will
be needed and what you will be expected to provide.
Understand that jury trials typically last between two and five days, and
you may be required to give testimony on multiple days.
However, if the case is tried to a judge (a court trial) then all testimony
will likely be done the same day.
Do I need to bring anything with me to Court?
This is very case specific. The prosecutor
assigned to your case will request any necessary information from you.
However, let them know about any evidence you have obtained on your own such
as photographs, damage estimates, etc.
My case was dismissed, can I have it reopened?
No. Once a case is dismissed, it can
almost never be re-opened.