(a) A subpoena may be served by any person, except that the defendant may not serve a subpoena in the criminal action to which he or she is a party, but a peace officer shall serve in his or her county any subpoena delivered to him or her for service, either on the part of the people or of the defendant, and shall, without delay, make a written return of the service, subscribed by him or her, stating the time and place of service. The service is made by delivering a copy of the subpoena to the witness personally.
(b) (1) If service is to be made on a minor, service shall be made on the minor’s parent, guardian, conservator, or similar fiduciary, or if one of them cannot be located with reasonable diligence, then service shall be made on any person having the care or control of the minor or with whom the minor resides or by whom the minor is employed, unless the parent, guardian, conservator, or fiduciary or other specified person is the defendant, and on the minor if the minor is 12 years of age or older. The person served shall have the obligation of producing the minor at the time and place designated in the subpoena. A willful failure to produce the minor is punishable as a contempt pursuant to Section 1218 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The person served shall be allowed the fees and expenses that are provided for subpoenaed witnesses.
(2) If the minor is alleged to come within the description of Section 300, 601, or 602 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, and the minor is not residing with a parent or guardian, regardless of the age of the minor, service shall also be made upon the designated agent for service of process at the county child welfare department or the probation department under whose jurisdiction the child has been placed.
(3) The court having jurisdiction of the case shall have the power to appoint a guardian ad litem to receive service of a subpoena of the child and shall have the power to produce the child ordered to court under this section.
(c) If any peace officer designated in Section 830 is required as a witness before any court or magistrate in any action or proceeding in connection with a matter regarding an event or transaction which he or she has perceived or investigated in the course of his or her duties, a criminal subpoena issued pursuant to this chapter requiring his or her attendance may be served either by delivering a copy to the peace officer personally or by delivering two copies to his or her immediate superior or agent designated by his or her immediate superior to receive the service or, in those counties where the local agencies have consented with the district attorney’s office, marshal’s office, or sheriff’s office, where appropriate, to participate, by sending a copy by electronic means, including electronic mail, computer modem, facsimile, or other electronic means, to him or her personally, or to his or her immediate superior or agent designated by the immediate superior to receive the service. If the service is made by electronic means, the peace officer named in the subpoena, or his or her immediate superior or agency designated by his or her immediate superior shall acknowledge receipt of the subpoena by telephone or electronic means to the sender of origin. If service is made upon the immediate superior or agent designated by the immediate superior, the immediate superior or the agent shall deliver a copy of the subpoena to the peace officer as soon as possible and in no event later than a time which will enable the peace officer to comply with the subpoena.
(d) If the immediate superior or his or her designated agent upon whom service is attempted to be made knows he or she will be unable to deliver a copy of the subpoena to the peace officer within a time which will allow the peace officer to comply with the subpoena, the immediate superior or agent may refuse to accept service of process and is excused from any duty, liability, or penalty arising in connection with the service, upon notifying the server of that fact.
(e) If the immediate superior or his or her agent is tendered service of a subpoena less than five working days prior to the date of hearing, and he or she is not reasonably certain he or she can complete the service, he or she may refuse acceptance.
(f) If the immediate superior or agent upon whom service has been made, subsequently determines that he or she will be unable to deliver a copy of the subpoena to the peace officer within a time which will allow the peace officer to comply with the subpoena, the immediate superior or agent shall notify the server or his or her office or agent not less than 48 hours prior to the hearing date indicated on the subpoena, and is thereby excused from any duty, liability, or penalty arising because of his or her failure to deliver a copy of the subpoena to the peace officer. The server, so notified, is therewith responsible for preparing the written return of service and for notifying the originator of the subpoena if required.
(g) Notwithstanding subdivision (c), in the case of peace officers employed by the California Highway Patrol, if service is made upon the immediate superior or upon an agent designated by the immediate superior of the peace officer, the immediate superior or the agent shall deliver a copy of the subpoena to the peace officer on the officer’s first workday following acceptance of service of process. In this case, failure of the immediate superior or the designated agent to deliver the subpoena shall not constitute a defect in service.
(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 59, Sec. 6. (SB 1474) Effective January 1, 2017.)
Last modified: October 25, 2018