Frequently Asked Questions

I have been subpoenaed; do I have to come to court?
Yes. A subpoena is a court order compelling one to appear on the date and time stated therein, therefore your appearance is mandatory.

What happens if I don’t come to court?
If you fail to appear on a subpoena without being formally dismissed, you may be found in contempt of court and a bench warrant may be issued for your arrest.

What if someone tells me I don’t need to come to court?
Only the Court or the Prosecutor may dismiss you from your subpoena. Be sure to call the Witness Line after 5:00 PM the evening before you are to appear to verify that the case is still going as scheduled.

What if I don’t have transportation to get to court?
If you foresee a transportation issue, please contact the Witness Unit as soon as possible to discuss possible arrangements/accommodations.

How do I update my address and/or phone number with the Prosecutor’s Office?
You may email the Witness Unit or call the Witness Unit at (810) 985-2434 with any updates to your phone number and/or address.

Why am I needed as a witness? I didn’t see the crime occur.
You may feel that what you know about the case is not important. What you know, no matter how small, could be very important to the case. If you do not know why you are testifying in a certain case please call the Assistant Prosecutor who is handling the case or the witness coordinator; they can explain why you are needed.

Will the Prosecutor talk to me before the court hearing?
While the Prosecutor will make every attempt to talk to you before any hearing that may result in a plea or hearing in which you will testify, the courtrooms are a very busy place with many hearing taking place every day. If you have a question or concern please call the Victim Rights office prior to your hearing so we can get your question answered as soon as possible.

What if I am threatened?
Witnesses are very rarely threatened. However, if you are threatened or harassed in anyway, make sure to document what happened and call the police agency who investigated the case immediately so that action can be taken. In an emergency please call 911.

What if I receive a call from the Defense Attorney?
The Defense Attorney (the Defendant’s Attorney) may call you and want to talk to you about the case against his/her client. You do not have to talk to him/her if you do not want to. If you have questions or do not feel comfortable talking to the Defense Attorney on your own please call the Assistant Prosecutor handling the case and they can answer your questions or be with you at the time of the interview.

Will I have to testify in front of the Defendant?
The Defendant must be present in court to hear the case against him. First the Assistant Prosecutor will ask you questions and then the Defense Attorney will ask you questions.

How long will I be at court?
It depends upon many factors. The time it takes you to testify may not take long; most of the time you will just be waiting for your turn to testify.

Who will be with me in court?
You are able to bring friends or family members with you. You will more than likely wait with other witnesses on the case outside of the court room or in our waiting area. It is also possible that one of our Victim’s Rights Advocates will wait with you and/or go into the court room if you request one to do so.

What if my employer won’t let me come to court?
If you are lawfully subpoenaed to court, an employer cannot prevent court attendance. When appropriate, our Witness Unit will contact your employer to discuss the importance of your role as a witness. We can also provide you with a note on our letterhead confirming the date and time of when you were in court.

What if I cannot attend on the date stated on the subpoena?
If you notice a scheduling conflict, contact the Witness Unit as soon as possible.

Can other people view my testimony?
The courtrooms are a public area. They are very rarely closed, and only upon order of the court. Testimony can generally not be given via telephone or deposition.

Will my case be handled by Mr. Wendling?
Mike Wendling is the elected St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney, so his name appears on most criminal court documents, and our office correspondence. However, he may not be personally handling the case in court. There are 13 assistant prosecutor in our office, one of them may be handling your case. Please call our Victim’s Rights Unit with your questions and concerns. We will either answer your questions and if we can not, we will find the answer, or direct your call.

I am a witness but I am also the Victim of the case. Is there someone I can talk to?
Our Victim’s Rights Unit’s number is (810) 985-2301. A Victim’s Rights Advocate can answer questions you have about the court process and/or your rights. You may also find more information here.

I was subpoenaed by the defendant, not the prosecutor.
Our office helps witnesses the Prosecutor has subpoenaed to court. Not witnesses subpoenaed by the defendant. It is possible that you may receive a subpoena from both parties.

What if I need an interpreter?
Please call someone in the Witness Unit so that we can set up an interpreter for you.

Will I be paid?
Yes. After you are finished in court, you need to give your subpoena to the Assistant Prosecutor. The prosecutor will write how long you were there and your round trip mileage on your subpoena. The subpoena is then sent to the controller’s office for payment to be sent out in the form of a check to the address on your subpoena.

You will receive $6.00 for a half day and $12.00 for a full day in court. You will also receive $0.10 for each mile it took to get to and from court.

If you forget or lose your subpoena, a subpoena voucher is available at the Prosecutor’s Office or the Victim’s Rights Unit that can be completed for you.

Witness fees are only paid if your case is listed as going on the Witness Line the night before your case is scheduled to go to court. If you fail to call and come to court to find that your case was not going we will not be able to pay you a witness fee.

Does the court have a dress code?
Yes. Prohibited attire includes, but is not limited to the following: shorts, cutoffs, sleeveless t-shirts, slippers, bare midriffs, tank and halter tops, spandex pants and tights. Individuals wearing improper attire will be asked to leave the courtroom.

Where is the Marine City District Court?
The 72nd District Court of Marine City is located at 2088 South Parker, Marine City, MI 48039.

Contact Information

St. Clair County Prosecuting Attorney
201 McMorran Blvd., Suite 3300
Port Huron, MI 48060

Phone: (810) 985-2400
Fax: (810) 985-2424
Email: Prosecuting Attorney

Photos courtesy of the Port Huron Times Herald and St. Clair County Sheriff's Department

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