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General Information/Frequently Asked Questions for Witnesses

Where Do I Go?

Federal Courthouses are located in four different cities in the Western District of Kentucky. You can go to the Court Locations Page to get directions and see a map. The main U.S. Attorney's Office is located at 717 W. Broadway in Louisville. Your subpoena will indicate where and when the court proceeding will take place. However, as the court date approaches, you may be notified by the U.S. Attorney’s Office staff or the case agent as to the exact location, date and time you will be needed.

PLEASE NOTE: Witnesses are not allowed to enter the courtroom until they are called upon to testify. Therefore, it is important that you be in the witness waiting room next to the courtroom when it is time for you to testify. You should report to the U.S. Attorney’s Office staff or to the case agent that you are present.

Where Can I Park?

There are public parking lots and meters adjacent to each of the courthouses. You will be reimbursed for parking expenses, but we recommend you park in the parking lots due to the fact that we WILL NOT reimburse you for any parking tickets you may receive.

How Long Will I Be In Court?

It is impossible to predict how long witnesses will testify at trial. It is important that you arrange your schedule to permit maximum flexibility. You may have to wait to testify for several hours or more. You may want to bring reading materials, or something else to occupy your time, while you wait to testify.

What Should I Do With My Children?

Try to find a relative, friend, or neighbor to care for your children. However, you should make sure that he/she has a flexible schedule, due to the fact that you don't know when you will be released from your subpoena.

Will I Have To Bring Anything With Me?

If you need to bring anything as evidence, you will be instructed to do so in the subpoena or by the Assistant U. S. Attorney.

Is Food Available?

There is a snack area located in the basement of the Louisville courthouse and there are several restaurants located near all four of the federal courthouses.

Will I Be Paid For My Time Spent As A Witness?

You will receive $40.00 for each day you are required to be in court or attend a pretrial conference, including travel days. YOU WILL NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR LOST WAGES. If you live outside the city where the courthouse is located, you will be reimbursed for mileage if you drive to court.

If you reside more than 50 miles from the Courthouse, you are entitled to stay overnight. The U.S. Attorney's Office can make prepaid airline and hotel arrangements for you. If you choose to drive rather than fly, you will be reimbursed for the least expensive mode of transportation. You need to keep track of your mileage from your home and the airport or mileage from your home to the courthouse. If you incur taxi cab expenses over $25.00, a receipt is required for reimbursement. A receipt is required for all parking expenses. If you travel to Court and return home the same day, you will not receive a meal allowance. If you are required to stay overnight, you will receive allowable per diem rates for meals and incidental expenses. Our office staff will provide a form for you to sign regarding reimbursement when you report to testify. You should receive payment by mail within 7 to 14 days.

What If I Am Threatened By The Defendant Or Others?

Threatening a witness is a separate federal crime and a matter which we take very seriously. Actually, it happens far less often than you would think. In emergency situations call the police immediately. In other instances, contact the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case, the Victim-Witness Coordinator, or the case agent.

What About My Employer?

Many witnesses question how to approach their employer about their absence from work during their testimony. If requested, we will contact your employer and outline your responsibility as a subpoenaed federal witness. Employers may not retaliate against you because of your absence.

What If The Defendant's Attorney Or Investigator Asks To Talk To Me?

You have the right to decide whether you want to discuss the case with any attorney or investigator for either the United States or the defense. Be sure you know who you are talking to when you discuss the case. Don't be afraid to ask for identification. If you decide to speak about the case, tell the truth.

What Will Happen If I Fail To Appear?

If you fail to appear, you may be cited for contempt of court. An arrest warrant could be issued.

Compensation for Witnesses

There are several different categories of witnesses, and compensation depends on which category applies:

Witnesses who are not federal employees: If you are a witness who is not employed by the federal government or the military, you will receive a witness fee for each day that you are required to attend court in connection with the case, including time spent waiting to testify.

Witnesses who are federal government employees or military personnel: The United States Attorney's Office will assist you in advising your employer that you are required to be present in court. This will enable you to receive your regular salary, notwithstanding your absence from work. You will not collect a witness fee in addition to that salary.

Out-of-town witnesses residing 50 miles or more from the court location: If you are an out-of-town witness, you may receive reimbursement for certain travel expenses in addition to the daily witness fee. Out-of-town witnesses may contact a representative from the Victim-Witness Unit who can help make travel and lodging arrangements.

Local witnesses: In addition to the daily witness fee, if you reside within 50 miles of the court location, but outside the city where the courthouse is located, you are entitled to mileage reimbursement if you drive to court. If you drive to court, you are also entitled to reimbursement for parking, wherever you reside.

How do I receive my reimbursement?

At the conclusion of their testimony, witnesses complete a witness voucher to make a claim for fees and expenses. Generally, a check for all fees will be mailed to the witness by the U.S. Marshal's office when the case is over.

Updated December 16, 2014

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