A criminal charge or even an arrest does not necessarily mean a sure conviction. Because of the many rights bestowed by the Constitution, the accused must be given their day in court. During the trial, one of the rights that the accused should be aware of is their right to compulsory process. This means that they, through the court’s enforcement, can compel persons to testify on their behalf.
Like all rights, the right to compulsory process is empowering. It helps the accused minimize the prejudice against them. Once invoked, all persons are required to honor it. Discussed in the subsections that follow are scenarios wherein the right to compulsory process will have been violated or misconstrued. The accused and their counsel should be mindful of these possibilities.
A witness who fails to show up.
Suppose you are accused of murder. You did not do it, but because of some freak circumstance, many of the pieces of evidence presented by the prosecution seem to point to you. During the time that the crime was allegedly committed, you were actually in bed with a woman who is not your wife. Because the right to compulsory process bestows on you the right to compel witnesses to testify on your behalf, the woman can be sent a subpoena by the court.
She will have to present herself during trial and give her testimony. Failure to do so will result in the court issuing a bench warrant, and the woman will be arrested so that she can attend your trial. A judge who refuses to send a subpoena or issue the bench warrant can be charged for violating your right.
A judge intimidates your witness, resulting in their refusal to give a useful statement
Suppose the court is successful in summoning your witness, and she is now on the witness stand. Even before she could introduce herself and speak of her involvement with you, the judge already made insinuations about a probable alienation of affection case that can be filed against her by your now aggrieved wife.
This resulted in her keeping mum about significant aspects of what would have been a favorable narrative, at least as far as the case at bar is concerned. The judge, in this example, has violated your right to compulsory process by intimidating and ultimately silencing your witness.
You have a ‘surprise’ witness
Quite frankly, ‘surprise’ witnesses are fictional. They are great and appealing for TV dramas but they are illegal in real life. To ensure fairness for both parties, all persons that either party wants to present as their witness must be identified before the trial starts. No court will easily allow either party to present a witness without proper and reasonable notification to all concerned.
So that your rights are protected and effectively promoted, you must get the most suitable lawyer to represent you. If you are from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, The Law Office of Kevin M. Kennedy PLLC is always ready to help. If you live anywhere else, you can easily find a lawyer in your area by performing a Google search and then checking the reviews of the lawyers you’d consider.