For help with issuing and serving a subpoena in Wisconsin:
A subpoena in Wisconsin must be issued to a potential witness with “reasonable notice.” Upon service of subpoena, opposing counsel have 10 days time to object to the subpoena, or if date of testimony is within ten days of subpoena service, petitioning attorney must have opposing counsel’s waiver of objection.
Federal Court Cases
Attorneys for the parties to litigation in Federal Court cases can create and have served their own subpoenas. No need for assistance from any Federal or State court in Wisconsin. Make a check payable to the witness in the amount of $40, plus 44.5 cents/mile for the round trip for the witness to the deposition site. Check with the local district clerk to verify current rates. Locate a process server (see below) to have your subpoena served.
State court cases venued outside of Wisconsin
Follow the below instructions to have a Wisconsin resident subpoenaed. References below to “circuit court judge” refers to the Chief Judge in Milwaukee County, or any circuit court judge in the state of Wisconsin, most preferably one within the county in which the witness to be subpoenaed resides.
Please contact the clerk of courts office in the county involved for specific local rules.
A commission must be issued by the out-of-state court of jurisdiction to the circuit court judge or Chief Judge (Milwaukee County). Typically, the attorney taking the deposition petitions his or her court or judge to issue a commission to our judge in the county of the witness’s residence thereby empowering him or her to issue a subpoena for the witness’s appearance. The document should state the parties, who they are, and that the witness is necessary for the case to proceed.
2. Petition for Issuance of Subpoena
This is a request for the circuit court judge or Chief Judge to issue a subpoena, authorized by the above commission. The petition should contain reference to your state’s statutes regarding deposition testimony reciprocal with Wisconsin Statutes 887.24, 887.25 and 887.26. An attachment of your state statute is required.
3. Order for Issuance of Subpoena
This is the document prepared by the petitioning attorney and presented to the circuit court judge or Chief Judge for his or her signature, thereby ordering the issuance of the subpoena. Any additional request for production of records or duces tecum is to be included in the subpoena itself, not this document. The Wisconsin court does not have jurisdiction over requests beyond the issuance of an out-of-state subpoena.
[s. 885.02(1)] This is the actual subpoena, signed by the person requesting the deposition (usually the petitioning attorney), which is then presented to the process server for service on the witness. This document may contain requests for records production or duces tecum. [s. 885.02(2)]
5. Submit Subpoena
Send all four documents (original plus two copies) to the circuit court judge’s office. Please include a self-addressed, stamped, envelope for return of the signed copies.
Arrange for local counsel or a process server to deliver all four of the above documents (original plus two copies) along with a check made payable to the Milwaukee County Clerk of Courts in the amount of *$168 to room 104 at the Milwaukee County Courthouse. At that point, a case file will be opened in Milwaukee County. Counsel or process server will next be directed to the Chief Judge’s office, with the Circuit Court file, for the required signatures.
6. Arrange Witness Payment
After accomplishing the above steps, make out a check payable to the witness for $5 [regular depo, s. 814.67(1)(a)1] or $16.00 [video/evidentiary depo or court appearance, s. 814.67(1)(am)] plus .20/mile [s.814.67(1)(c)] for the round trip for the witness to the deposition site or circuit court.
7. Serve Subpoena
Arrange for service of the subpoena and witness fee check through the sheriff’s department or a process server. Contact the local sheriff’s department or the process service mentioned below to verify their current service rates. (The courts do not provide service of subpoenas – this is arranged for by the petitioning party.)
State Process Service
6767 W. Greenfield Avenue
P.O. Box 14039
Milwaukee, WI 53214
Milwaukee County has a case filing fee of $158.50. Outlying counties may have lesser or no fees. Check rates in the county where the witness resides.