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Does a minor WITNESSS, at the age of 17, HAVE TO show up at a statutory rape case's prelimenary hearing against a teacher?

Long Beach, CA |
Attorney answers 5


As a minor the custodial parent should be served a Subpeonas to appear in court. In terms of should you appear you can call. As the prosecutor can go based upon the officers testimony only if someone from the law enforcement took your sons statement.

The failure to appear could result in a bench warrent being issued but often an officer will just go and get your son.

I hope that helps.


First, were you subpoenad to appear? If so, then yes you have to show up. Yes, technically an officer could testify for you at the PH, but the DA probably wants to put you on the stand and have you testify. But before you go into court, talk with the DA and tell him/her what's on your mind.

Mr. Feasel is a former prosecutor in San Mateo County (CA) with over 10 years of criminal law experience. Nothing stated on this site shall in anyway be construed as legal advice, or as creating any attorney/client relationship. If you would like to hire Mr. Feasel to further investigate your situation, feel free to contact him thru this site.


If served with a subpeona, the 17 year old must appear.


If the minor witness was served with an order to attend or what used to be known as a subpoena, yes. Failure to show up can result in a warrant being issued and the witness arrested. Last year in Sacramento County, a female minor who was subpoenaed for a rape case refused to show up for court. The DA had to dismiss the charges and refile. The second time around, he had her arrested and held in custody as a material witness until the date of trial. There was an uproar from the local defense bar and media, but the judge ordered her held anyway. She ended up testifying at trial and the defendant was convicted.


A detective could testify under Proposition 115 at the preliminary hearing. However, both the prosecutor and defense attorney may not want this. Both sides have their own reasons for wanting to hear from the minor directly at preliminary hearing, and it will also help in resolving the matter prior to trial if they "know how much the case is worth." This is hard to assess if they are only listening to an officer testify to hearsay.

If the minor is personally served with a subpoena, like any other witness, he or she is required to appear. Usually a parent or guardian must also be served.

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