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do I need a subpoena?

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  • do I need a subpoena?

    I am doing a misdemeanor investigation and I would like to be able to get access to some customer records from businesses that I believe would freely cooperate with me. My question is, can they consent to open their records or do I need a subpoena because of customer privacy issues? I know I'm not going to be getting a bunch of subpoenas for a misdemeanor investigation. I'm not going to get into details but there are no medical records involved (which I know are privileged).

  • #2
    It really depends on the business owner or manager. My guess is that they won't give you any info without a subpoena.

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    • #3
      if they consent you're fine...the subpoena is a court order to force them to turn over the info. if they cooperate you won't need it
      Perseverate In Pugna

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      • #4
        Ditto: if they hand it over it's not your problem. If not then you need the court order.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Narco944 View Post
          if they consent you're fine...the subpoena is a court order to force them to turn over the info. if they cooperate you won't need it

          Yep yep yep
          sigpic

          I don't agree with your opinion, but I respect its straightforwardness in terms of wrongness.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by safadoretornado View Post
            I am doing a misdemeanor investigation and I would like to be able to get access to some customer records from businesses that I believe would freely cooperate with me. My question is, can they consent to open their records or do I need a subpoena because of customer privacy issues? I know I'm not going to be getting a bunch of subpoenas for a misdemeanor investigation. I'm not going to get into details but there are no medical records involved (which I know are privileged).
            I basically agree with my colleague's replies. If any of the records you desire contain confidential information, a subpeona might be the way to go. Why not check with your local Prosecutor for some help on the issue?

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            • #7
              Why not check with your local Prosecutor for some help on the issue?
              Bingo.

              The Pro will be the one introducing it, he should have the call on how you get it.

              M-11
              “All men dream...... But not equally..
              Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it is vanity;
              but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men,
              for they act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.....”

              TE Lawrence

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              • #8
                Originally posted by PhilipCal View Post
                I basically agree with my colleague's replies. If any of the records you desire contain confidential information, a subpeona might be the way to go. Why not check with your local Prosecutor for some help on the issue?
                There is no "custom-business" privilege. There is no constitutional protection for this type of information. The business owner can give it freely. He might have some contractual obligations with his customers about giving info out to other business and such but he can't resist a subpoena for the most part. That is if business owner refuses to cooperate then you would need a subpoena (duh).

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                • #9
                  Get with YOUR commonwealt attorney or DA. Generally speaking you don't need a subpoena duceus tecum for such records unless the boss refuses to give them to you, then you do.
                  "Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. The MARINES don't have that problem." ....Ronald Reagan

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                  • #10
                    I agree with everyone else. What you might consider is do you plan on using the information gathered in order to apply for a paper or is it just for you to know who it is and after more investigation verify that info., thus your able to assure the shop keeper no one will have to know they ever gave up the info. Or is your intention to use the info gather to get a search warrant/warrant for you criminal.

                    My previous experience, the big chain stores (ie sprint, verizon) require a court order, however, the little guys have local love for the police because we are always helping them. The big guys give us little love because we are always asking them for info and nothing else.
                    perception is the mother of all [email protected]#$ ups
                    O Landfill two, you are twice the man Landfill one was. Y, thank you ma'am

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