California Witness Fees Increase for Government Employees In 2013


Beginning January 1, 2013, the witness fee for government employees in California has increased from $150.00 to $275.00 per day.  This is the fee that must be tendered with service of a subpoena to a qualifying witness listed in California Government Code (“GC”) section 68097.2, including California Highway Patrol, Police, Fire, and certain County & State workers.

The bill raising these fees was sponsored by the California Highway Patrol because the $150 witness fee rate was established back in 1986 when costs and salaries were much lower.

All fees must be must be paid at the time of service and should be made payable to the agency for which the government employee works. If the cost of the actual appearance is greater than the initial deposit of $275, then the agency will bill for the difference.  If the cost of the witness is less than the deposited amount, then the agency will issue a refund. For additional information, click - Legislature bill AB2612

A California court recently addressed the issue of – the attorney or the client— must pay witness costs for subpoenaed peace officers if the actual expenses exceed the deposit.  In Maddox v. City of Costa Mesa (4th Dist., Div. 3, 2011), the court decided the fees were the responsibility of both the attorney and the client.

Under GC section 68097.2, subdivision (d),  the court explained, “(i)f the actual expenses should later prove to be more than the amount deposited, the difference shall be paid to the public entity by the party at whose request the subpoena is issued.”

The Maddox court considered the phrase “the party at whose request the subpoena is issued” including its location in the statutory scheme governing securing testimony of peace officers and certain other public employees.  The court compared this language to similar procedural statutes providing that a “party” may make a certain motion or may seek discovery. “When counsel prepares the request for a subpoena, both the litigant and counsel are the ‘party at whose request the subpoena is issued.’”

The court concluded that the language “the party” in this statute “means both the litigant and the litigant’s attorney; either would be responsible for reimbursing the public entity its costs.” The court added that “(n)othing in this opinion affects the attorney’s ability to reach an agreement with the client for paying, forwarding, or reimbursing costs.

Preparation of  Subpoenas can be a time consuming process. This is due to varying local court rules in every state and even at the county level.

Our firm has the expertise of  in State and Out-of-State Subpoenas for Deposition or Trial and for Records.

We are very familiar with every court requirement for issuing subpoenas throughout California and nationwide. We can assist you in issuing subpoenas for both records and depositions and thereafter arrange for prompt service of the subpoena upon the witness. For more information, call Direct Legal Support, Inc. at 800-675-5376.