WHAT TO EXPECT AND WHAT TO DO
How You Know You Are Supposed To Attend A Hearing
The Prosecutor's Office has subpoenas issued to direct certain witnesses to attend hearings. These subpoenas are served on witnesses by the Sheriff's Office. Some witnesses will be notified that they need to attend a hearing either by receiving a phone call or a letter from the Prosecutor's Office.
If you receive a subpoena make sure you keep it. It contains valuable information, such as the case to which the subpoena applies, when the hearing is and where to go.
Where To Go And When
A subpoena states when and where the witness needs to appear for the court hearing. If the person is contacted by phone or letter, the staff member from the Prosecutor's Office who made contact with the witness will notify them of the time and place to appear.
Subpoenaed witnesses need to report to the Nez Perce County Courthouse located at 1230 Main Street, Lewiston, Idaho at least 15 minutes prior to the time of the hearing or trial. The courtrooms are located on the second floor of the Nez Perce County Courthouse. Please contact the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office at 208-799-3073 either the morning of or the day before the scheduled hearing or trial.
If your hearing or trial is scheduled to begin on Monday morning, you should call to confirm it is still going the Friday before. Checking in with the Prosecutor's Office is important because many times the hearings and trials are continued or delayed without sufficient time to notify the witnesses.
Bring The Subpoena To The Courthouse
Witnesses should bring their subpoena with them to the Courthouse. The subpoena needs to be presented to the Clerk of the Court to be reimbursed for their travel and get paid their witness fee. It can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days for the witness to receive the reimbursement check.
Consider Bringing Something To Do
Witnesses should consider bringing something to do in case there is a delay in testifying. For various reasons, court hearings may not begin at the exact time indicated on the subpoena. Furthermore, a witness may have to wait while other witnesses testify in the same case.
Meeting With Prosecutors Prior To The Hearing
Unfortunately, the prosecutors do not have time to contact and talk to every witness prior to issuance of a subpoena or prior to the hearing date. If you have questions about the subpoena contact the Prosecutor's Office as soon as possible. Please try to have your subpoena available when you call.
The Prosecutor's Office will attempt to answer your questions and address any concerns prior to the hearing. At most hearings, the prosecutor may be discussing a possible resolution to the case with the defense attorney immediately prior to and all the way up until the time the hearing starts. For that reason, please contact the prosecutor handling the case as soon as you know you have a question to avoid the possibility of not having enough time getting your questions answered.
Who Will Be In The Courtroom
Everyone has a right to be in the courtroom unless excluded by the presiding judge. The reasons judges typically exclude people from the courtroom is if they are going to be
Failure To Appear (Or Obey A Subpoena)
It is considered a contempt of court for a witness to ignore a subpoena and fail to appear. The Court can fine or jail the witness for contempt of court. In addition, the judge can require the witness to pay the costs of the parties or the court which are caused by the failure of the witness to attend the hearing.
If the witness is important enough to the case, the prosecutor's office can request that the court order the witness to post a bond or sit in jail as a material witness until they have testified pursuant to Idaho Code 19-821, Idaho Code 19-823 and Idaho Criminal Rule 46.1.
If You Have Questions
If there are any questions that you have that are not answered by this web site, please contact the Prosecutor's Office as soon as possible.
PREPARING TO TESTIFY
Many people are, naturally, nervous about testifying. The Prosecutor's Office will work with the witness to address any concerns the witness may have. Either the prosecutor or Victim/Witness Coordinator handling the case will discuss testifying with the witness. If requested, the Victim/Witness Coordinator will walk the witness through the courtroom and familiarize them with the court process and procedures. Visiting the Courthouse and becoming familiar with the surroundings can go a long way towards calming nerves on the day of the hearing.
Avoid talking to other witnesses about your testimony. This opens up the witnesses to accusations of making up a false version or collaborating to get their stories "straight."
See information provided in the Nez Perce County Prosecutor’s Office brochure.
PROBLEMS WITH EMPLOYMENT AND SCHEDULING CONFLICTS
If a witness is having problems with their employer or with a scheduling conflict, they should contact the Prosecutor's Office immediately.
HARASSMENT AND INTIMIDATION OF WITNESSES
Idaho Code 18-2604 makes intimidating or harassing a witness a crime. If you are a witness who is being harassed or intimidated about testifying in a criminal matter or know a witness who is being harassed or intimidated, please contact the law enforcement agency that investigated the case that the witness is testifying in and/or the Prosecuting Attorney's Office as soon as possible.