I was injured in an automobile accident on January 24, 2013. I was driving through the intersection of Alcosta Blvd and Bollinger Canyon Road with the green light, when a vehicle running the red light on Bollinger T-Boned my car resulting in 4 broken ribs and a three day stay at San Ramon Valley Medical Center.
In October, 2014 I received Subpoena as a witness in the trial of the person who hit my car a-year-and-a-half ago. The first Subpoena was for October 8, 2014 at 8 am in Martinez. That trial was postponed to November 5th, also 8 am.
I'm not a morning person, and it is hard enough for me to wake up at 8 am much less drive to Martinez in morning traffic. Even though I was not seriously injured in the accident, I am more skittish about driving now, especially on the Freeway.
I did not want to drive early in the morning on the day after Election Day. I called DA's office to see if the trial could be postponed. The accused was also requesting a delay, and the November 5th date was rescheduled. I have not received a Subpoena with the new date yet.
I asked the DA if they couldn't just give the young man who hit my car community service as an alternative to a trial. She said driving under the influence, in this case marijuana, is a serious offense. I asked my attorney if I could write a deposition about what happened instead of having to be there. He said I have to be there to be cross-examined by the accused's attorney.
The right to a speedy trial and interrogation of witnesses is in the 6th Amendment of the Constitution:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
The Subpoena states in all caps and bold: "DISOBEDIENCE OF THIS SUBPOENA MAY BE PUNISHABLE BY A FINE, IMPRISONMENT, OR BOTH. A WARRANT MAY BE ISSUED FOR YOUR ARREST IF YOU FAIL TO APPEAR."
But I'm the victim in this accident. Yet if I don't drive myself 23 miles to Martinez by 8 am, I'm subject to arrest. That doesn't seem like a fair system.
I need a way to get to Martinez when the trial is rescheduled, because I really don't want to drive myself. In fact I don't want to drive anywhere lately. I drove to the Nob Hill Market last week at 4:30 pm. I left about 5:30 and it was already dark out. It was hard for me to drive home, which is only a little over one mile.
I don't know when the trial will be rescheduled, but my lawyer said witnesses are required on the second day of the trial. Often the trial is settled on the first day and there is no need for a second day. Still I wouldn't know that until the day before I'm supposed to be there. This is not a good system for a witness or a victim.
So far this trial isn't very speedy either. The accident happened almost two years ago. Some of the delays were requested by the Defendant. The victim is not included in the speed of the trial. Maybe we need another amendment for victim's rights.