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If I am a subpoenaed witness for a trial is it true that I am barred from watching the proceedings.

Portland, OR |

I have been informed that since I have been subpoenaed as a hostile witness for the prosecution in an upcoming trial in Portland Oregon I will not be permitted to be a spectator during the trial. Is this true?
Thank you

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Filed under: Criminal defense
Attorney answers 3


When a criminal trial first starts, both sides usually want to invoke the "rule." This means that the rule of sequestration of witnesses should be applied, and this means that no witness should be in the courtroom when other witnesses are testifying. Sometimes, after the witness has testified, he or she might be allowed to remain in the courtroom, but this would defeat recalling that witness in rebuttal. Talk to the attorney who is calling you as a witness about this.

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Most likely, yes. In Oregon, one of the sides must request the witness exclusion rule. It doesn't just happen automatically. But if you have been told by the prosecution that you will be excluded, you can pretty much bet that the prosecutor will request the exclusion.

Especially if you are a hostile witness. What the prosecution will want to avoid is your watching any testimony, and then tailoring your testimony to undermine their case. They want you to testify without any knowledge of what any other witness said. If your story is contradicts other witness' stories, it won't be because you listened to what they said, and changed anything. It will just have happened based on your differing recollections.

Dear Asker: This answer does not constitute legal advice, and I am not your attorney. No attorney-client relationship is established between me and you by my answering your question. You can receive general information about the law here on Avvo to help you understand it better, but if you want actual legal advice, call an attorney for a private, confidential consultation.


If the prosecution considers you hostile, then most likely you are "friendly" with someone on the defense side. So if you are close to someone, why not talk to them about the case now before you don't get to watch the trial.



good idea and I am doing that