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 TMKinder@columbus.gov.

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 Ohio (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 give testimony.

 

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 Ohio 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.

 

I-------------------I-------------------I-------------------I-------------------I-------------------I

Crime                    Arrest                    Arraignment            Pretrial                   Motion                   Jury              

                                                           Hearing                  Trial     

 

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 9:00 am , 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: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2930.  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 amount.

 

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: http://www.columbuscityattorney.org/prosecution-assignments.aspx.

 

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 here: www.fcmcclerk.com.  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: http://www.columbuscityattorney.org/prosecution-assignments.aspx.   

 

Where can I park?

There are two parking garages attached to the Courthouse Complex.  However, they typically fill up quickly (by 8:30am on most week days).  Other alternatives include surface lots, parking meters, and the former City Center 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 to appear.

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.