Court Clerks Can't Issue Subpoenas, Court Rules

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A court clerk does not have the authority to issue a subpoena for a John Doe hearing, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled.

The court of appeals had granted a writ of mandamus to allow Adrian Hipp to have subpoenas issued for a John Doe hearing.

Justice Bradley ruled that "a John Doe judge has exclusive authority to subpoena witnesses in a John Doe proceeding."

Bradley ruled that allowing the clerk of court to issue a subpoena would confer authority on someone other than the judge.

"It would in essence dilute the John Doe judge's power," Bradley wrote.

Bradley did not rule on the issue of whether a John Doe judge must subpoena every witness that a John Doe petitioner requests.

"We save that issue for another day," Bradley wrote.

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