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California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1991

Legal Research Home > California Laws > Code of Civil Procedure > California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1991

1991.  Disobedience to a subpoena, or a refusal to be sworn, or to
answer as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition when
required, may be punished as a contempt by the court issuing the
subpoena.
   When the subpoena, in any such case, requires the attendance of
the witness before an officer or commissioner out of court, it is the
duty of the officer or commissioner to report any disobedience or
refusal to be sworn or to answer a question or to subscribe an
affidavit or deposition when required, to the court issuing the
subpoena. The witness shall not be punished for any refusal to be
sworn or to answer a question or to subscribe an affidavit or
deposition, unless, after a hearing upon notice, the court orders the
witness to be sworn, or to so answer or subscribe and then only for
disobedience to the order.
   Any judge, justice, or other officer mentioned in subdivision (c)
of Section 1986, may report any disobedience or refusal to be sworn
or to answer a question or to subscribe an affidavit or deposition
when required to the superior court of the county in which attendance
was required; and the court thereupon has power, upon notice, to
order the witness to perform the omitted act, and any refusal or
neglect to comply with the order may be punished as a contempt of
court.
   In lieu of the reporting of the refusal as hereinabove provided,
the party seeking to obtain the deposition or to have the deposition
or affidavit signed, at the time of the refusal may request the
officer or commissioner to notify the witness that at a time stated,
not less than five days nor more than 20 days from the date of the
refusal, he or she will report the refusal of the witness to the
court and that the party will, at that time, or as soon thereafter as
he or she may be heard, apply to the court for an order directing
the witness to be sworn, or to answer as a witness, or subscribe the
deposition or affidavit, as the case may be, and that the witness is
required to attend that session of the court.
   The officer or commissioner shall enter in the record of the
proceedings an exact transcription of the request made of him or her
that he or she notify the witness that the party will apply for an
order directing the witness to be sworn or to answer as a witness or
subscribe the deposition or affidavit, and of his or her notice to
the witness, and the transcription shall be attached to his or her
report to the court of the refusal of the witness. The report shall
be filed by the officer with the clerk of the court issuing the
subpoena, and the witness shall attend that session of the court, and
for failure or refusal to do so may be punished for contempt.
   At the time so specified by the officer, or at a subsequent time
to which the court may have continued the matter, if the officer has
theretofore filed a report showing the refusal of the witness, the
court shall hear the matter, and without further notice to the
witness, may order the witness to be sworn or to answer as a witness
or subscribe the deposition or affidavit, as the case may be, and may
in the order specify the time and place at which compliance shall be
made or to which the taking of the deposition is continued.
Thereafter if the witness refuses to comply with the order he or she
may be punished for contempt.

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Last modified: March 17, 2014