Subpoenas are documents issued by the court (usually the clerk) requiring someone to appear at a certain time and place, or produce documents in lieu of their appearance. The power to subpoena is limited to parties to litigation. Therefore, you cannot merely request a subpoena to be issued because you want documents. You must file a lawsuit in order to acquire subpoena power. Before you file anything though, you should consult with an attorney.
Depending on the information sought, you could make a request directly to the source (e.g. "may I please have copies of _____"), or, depending on the nature of the entity (e.g. governmental or private), and the nature of the information sought, you may be able to get the documents you seek through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
If there is a court case, the clerk of the court will issue a subpoena for you for free, although, you will need toserve the document the correct way. If there is no case, you can have a freedom of information act request issued.
Hope that helps.
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