New Electronic System Brings Harris County Subpoena Process Into 21st Century

At the podium is Harris County District Clerk Chris Daniel.
A new system allows Harris County prosecutors to electronically subpoena witnesses to testify in criminal court. This is expected to save not just paper but also time and taxpayer money.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office is processing between 450 and 500 subpoenas per month. Sheriff Adrian Garcia says that takes up a lot of time and effort by staff who could work on other matters instead. Like the deputies responsible for safety in courtrooms.

“Prior to this process, these deputies would have to go do paperwork and sometimes leave some courtrooms potentially a little less safe. That will change.”

With the new system called eSubpoena, staff from the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and the District Clerk’s Office will also be freed up for other tasks.

Now attorneys can file subpoena requests online and most of the processing is done digitally. In addition to mail and fax, subpoenas can now also be served by e-mail.

Harris County Sheriff Adrian GarciaChris Daniel is the Harris County district clerk.

“We’re being more efficient with the time of the personnel in the courts. And ultimately that means that we’re getting to justice faster. And as they say, ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’”

The new system is expected to reduce the number of deputies working on processing subpoenas every day from 37 to one and cut processing time from two to three days to same-day service.

Some of the savings will come from reduced costs for paper, printing and delivery. According to the agencies involved, no jobs will be cut.

 

Bio photo of Florian Martin

Florian Martin

Reporter/NewsLab Coordinator

Florian Martin is the KUHF NewsLab Coordinator. While guiding and overseeing interns, he works on his own stories and is always on call to cover breaking news and other media events...