Proposed Ohio Legislation Expands the Power to Issue Investigative Subpoenas to City Law Departments

February 26, 2014 By Government Services Practice Group
Legal Update

Under H.B. No. 383, Representatives in the Ohio House of the 130th General Assembly, propose to amend the Ohio Revised Code to authorize the prosecuting attorney of a county or chief legal officer of a municipal corporation to issue an investigative subpoena for any criminal offense. Currently, only the prosecuting attorney of the county, or any judge or magistrate, may cause subpoenas to issue for any person to give information concerning a felony.  The proposed legislation allows the issuance of an investigative subpoena to include the chief legal officer of a municipality and it reduces the severity of the offense requirement for such issuance from a felony to any criminal offense. 

Under current law, after a felony has been committed, and before any arrest has been made, the prosecuting attorney of the county, or any judge or magistrate, may cause subpoenas to issue, returnable before any court or magistrate, for any person to give information concerning such felony. The subpoenas must require the witness to appear forthwith. Before he or she is required to give any information, the witness must be informed of the purpose of the inquiry, and that he or she is required to tell the truth concerning the same. The witness is then sworn and examined by the prosecuting attorney or the court or magistrate under oath, subject to the constitutional rights of the witness. The examination is taken in writing in any form, and is filed with the court or magistrate taking the testimony. R.C. 2935.23.

For more information about this legal update, please contact Stephen Smith, Philip HartmannAdrian Frederick, or any attorney in Frost Brown Todd's Government Services Practice Group.

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