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2000 Procedures for Receiving Subpoenas

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The procedures in this section are followed at a DFPS office upon receipt of a subpoena, or a request to aide in identifying an employee subject to a subpoena.

2100 Receiving Inquiries About Whom to Serve

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

When a DFPS employee receives a request (by phone, e-mail, or in person) from someone seeking to identify the correct employee to serve with a subpoena, the employee must remember that all DFPS case records are confidential by law and statute. Disclosing that a case even exists to someone who is not entitled to such information is a violation of confidentiality.

If an employee knows, without question, that the person making the request is entitled to the information (for example, if the requestor is a properly identified police officer the employee recognizes), the employee may provide the information.

The preferable approach, however, is to refer the person to the Records Management Group’s Customer Support office. Customer Support was established to respond to such inquiries and has the expertise needed to confirm whether a person is entitled to information.

Records Management Group

Customer Support Office

Tel: 512.929.6764 or toll free: 877.764.7230

2200 When a Subpoena Is Delivered in Person

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

DFPS seeks to cooperate fully with the service and fulfillment of all subpoenas properly served. The preferred method of delivery is when a process server hands a subpoena directly to the person named on the subpoena or to the person designated as the custodian of records.

A subpoena that is delivered in person does not require a signature on any document. No person may accept a subpoena for someone else.

At no time may a DFPS employee attempt to avoid being served a subpoena, if he or she is:

  •  specifically named in the subpoena; or

  •  has been assigned to fill the role as custodian of records.

2210 Greeting a Process Server Who Delivers a Subpoena in Person

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

When a process server arrives to serve a subpoena at a DFPS office, the receptionist:

  •  attempts to contact the employee using the standard operating procedure used when any person requests to see a staff member; and

  •  takes the next action described in the table below, below based on the result of the receptionist’s attempts to contact the employee.

If the process server …

then the receptionist …

  •  asks for an employee who works in the building; and

  •  the employee answers and is in the building when the receptionist calls the employee …

asks the employee to come forward.

  •  asks for an employee who works in the building, and;

  •  the employee is currently teleworking …

  •  requests the name and contact phone number of the process server and;

  •  explains to the process server that the named employee will contact them and arrange to meet and accept the subpoena, and;

  •  contacts the employee and provides them with the contact information for the process server.

  •  asks for an employee who works in the building; and

  •  the employee does not answer when the greeter calls …

  •  informs the process server that the employee did not answer; and

  •  provides the server with a contact card for the Records Management Group (RMG)’s Customer Support office (in 1100 Definitions, see Contact Card for Customer Support).

After providing the card, the receptionist either:

  •  provides the server with the office and mobile phone numbers for both the employee and the employee’s supervisor; or

  •  explains that the server may contact RMG to obtain the office and mobile phone numbers for the employee and supervisor by using the information on the contact card.

  •  asks for an employee who does not work in the building …

  •  informs the process server that the employee does not work in the building; and

  •  provides the server with a business card for RMG’s Customer Support office (in 1100 Definitions, see Contact Card for Customer Support ).

After providing the card, the receptionist either:

  •  provides the server with the correct office address and the office and mobile phone numbers for the employee and the employee’s supervisor; or

  •  explains that the server may contact RMG to obtain the correct office address and the office and mobile phone numbers of the employee and supervisor.

  •  asks for an employee who no longer works for DFPS …

  •  explains to the server that it does not appear that anyone with that name works for DFPS;

  •  explains that the subpoena cannot be accepted, since it does not name a current employee; and

  •  provides the server with a business card for RMG’s Customer Support office and explains that RMG can identify the appropriate person to be named on a new subpoena. (In 1100 Definitions, see Contact Card for Customer Support.).

  •  explains that he or she is there to serve a subpoena to the custodian of records, but does not identify the custodian by name …

  •  explains to the server that the custodian must be identified; and

  •  provides the server with a business card for RMG’s Customer Support office and explains that RMG can identify the custodian for them. (In 1100 Definitions, see Contact Card for Customer Support.)

2220 The Role of the Person Served When a Subpoena Is Delivered in Person

2221 Employee Is In the Building

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

If the person named in the subpoena is present in the building, the person named accepts the subpoena. The employee must NOT sign anything, even if requested to do so by the process server, because it may not be clear what is being signed. If necessary, the employee contacts a regional attorney.

2222 Employee Is Teleworking

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

If the person named in the subpoena is teleworking, the person named;

  •  receives from the receptionist the contact information of the process server.

  •  contacts the process server and arranges a time and place to accept the subpoena.

The employee must NOT sign anything, even if requested to do so by the process server, because it may not be clear what is being signed. If necessary, the employee contacts a regional attorney.

2230 After a Subpoena Is Accepted

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

Once the subpoena has been accepted, the employee takes the following steps, depending on whether a payment (cash, check, or money order) is included with the subpoena:

If …

then the person served …

  •  a payment is attached to a subpoena;

AND

  •  the process server requests a receipt …

  •  fills out Form 8109 Receipt and Routing Slip for a Subpoena Payment;

  •  makes a copy; and

  •  gives the copy to the process server, as a receipt.

no further interaction with the process server is required; however, the person served must route the payment to RMG, according to the steps outlined in 2500 When a Payment Is Received With a Subpoena.

  •  a payment is attached to the subpoena;

BUT

  •  the process server does not request a receipt …

no further interaction with the process server is required; however, the person served must route the payment to the Records Management Group (RMG), according to the steps outlined in 2500 When a Payment Is Received With a Subpoena.

  •  no payment is attached to the subpoena …

no further interaction with the process server is required.

2240 Submitting the Subpoena to Legal Services for Assessment

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

Once the interactions with the process server are concluded, the employee named in the subpoena immediately:

  •  submits the subpoena to Legal Services by:

  •  creating a scanned copy of the subpoena;

  •  attaching the scanned copy to an e-mail;

  •  typing Subpoena Personally Served into the subject line of the e-mail;

  •  sending the e-mail to the region’s subpoena mailbox, which is monitored by DFPS Legal Services (in 1100 Definitions see Regional Subpoena Mailbox); and

  •  placing the original subpoena in the client’s external case file. If the subpoena does not relate to a specific client’s case, the person named consults with Records Management Group about where to file it.

  •  advises his or her supervisor:

  •  that he or she has been served with a subpoena; and

  •  that the subpoena has already been sent to Legal Services for review.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the person served to fulfill the requirements of the subpoena, following a review and advice from DFPS Legal Services. If the person served does not receive instructions in a timely manner, he or she is responsible for contacting the regional attorney’s office.

2300 Receiving a Subpoena by Mail or Facsimile (Fax)

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

DFPS seeks to cooperate fully with the service and fulfillment of all subpoenas that are properly served. A subpoena received by mail or fax requires special handling and assessment to determine whether it has been properly served. Forwarding a faxed or mailed subpoena to Legal Services does not mean that DFPS has accepted the subpoena or that it was properly served.

See also the flow chart How to Route a Subpoena Received by Mail or Fax.

What Not to Do

The person who first receives the subpoena by mail or fax:

  •  does NOT try to contact the person named on the subpoena; and

  •  does NOT sign, fax, or send back anything signifying acceptance or acknowledgement of the subpoena.

However, it is appropriate to sign for the delivery of a package received by mail, if the courier (for example, Lone Star, USPS, or UPS), not the process server, requires it. Acknowledging receipt of the package must not indicate acceptance of the subpoena.

These instructions must be followed precisely as acknowledgement or acceptance of an improperly served subpoena will render it properly served.

What to Do

When a subpoena is received by fax or mail, the DFPS staff person who first receives the fax or opens the mailed envelope follows the procedures explained in the table below.

If If a subpoena is received …

then the person responsible …

in the mail …

  •  scans everything that was in the mailed package or envelope, including any payment (cash, check, or money order) that is included (see 2500 When a Payment Is Received With a Subpoena)

  •  scans the front of the package or envelope to show the address, return address, and date mailed, when possible;

  •  confirms that the scan was successful (that is, that all of the pages were scanned and that all are legible);

  •  attaches the scanned version to an email;

  •  enters Subpoena Received by Mail in the email’s subject line;

  •  sends the email to the subpoena mailbox for that region (in 1100 Definitions see Regional Subpoena Mailbox);

  •  deletes the scan from the Scan Documents folder;

  •  places the original documents and envelope in a pending folder; and

  •  awaits further instructions from Legal Services or the Records Management Group (RMG).

as a fax through the RightFax system …

  •  attaches the electronic version of the fax to an email;

  •  enters Subpoena Received by Fax in the email’s subject line;

  •  sends the email to the subpoena mailbox for that region (in 1100 Definitions see Regional Subpoena Mailbox); and

  •  deletes the original faxed subpoena from the RightFax system to prevent it from being sent to Legal again.

as a fax on an independent fax machine  …

  •  scans the entire fax;

  •  confirms that the scan was successful (that is, that all of the pages were scanned and that all are legible);

  •  places the original in a trash bin designated for confidential material;

  •  attaches the scanned version to an email;

  •  enters Subpoena Received by Fax in the email’s subject line;

  •  sends the email to the subpoena mailbox for that region (in 1100 Definitions see Regional Subpoena Mailbox); and

  •  deletes the scan from the Scan Documents folder.

2400 Fulfilling the Requirements of a Subpoena

2410 Subpoenaed Individual

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

The DFPS employee who is the subject of the subpoena works with Legal staff to fulfill the subpoena’s requirements

2420 Legal Assessment

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

DFPS attorneys assess subpoenas received and:

  •  contact the attorney that issued the subpoena to discuss and negotiate any areas of concern, including proper service, timeliness, and entitlement (motions may be filed or other actions taken as deemed appropriate);

  •  provide instructions for compliance to the person Legal Services determines is responsible for fulfilling the subpoena’s requirements; and

  •  provide direction to the Records Management Group (RMG)’s Entitlement and Redaction Office, if the subpoena requires the release of case records.

2430 Replacing Subpoenaed Individual

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

If the subpoenaed employee and the employee’s supervisor believe another person should fulfill the subpoena’s requirements, the employee consults with Legal Services.

If it is determined another DFPS employee should fulfill the subpoena’s requirements, then:

  •  the newly designated employee works with Legal staff to fulfill the subpoena’s requirements;

  •  legal staff ensure the employee who was originally subpoenaed is released from the subpoena’s obligations.

2500 When a Payment Is Received With a Subpoena

DFPS Subpoena Policy January 2012

Money, in the form of cash, a check, or a money order, is often included when a subpoena is served. The money is a payment made by the issuing attorney to the person named in the subpoena to compensate the person for his or her attendance in court, or for providing records, or both.

If money is attached to a subpoena when a DFPS employee is served, the employee named in the subpoena:

  •  fills out Form 8109 Receipt and Routing Slip for a Subpoena Payment; and

  •  forwards the form and money to the Records Management Group (RMG), following the detailed instructions in Form 8109-INS Providing a Receipt for and Routing a Subpoena Payment.

Although the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, §22.001, calls for a witness to receive $10 per day while attending court, the Texas Government Code, §659.005(b), prohibits a state employee who appears as a witness in an official capacity from accepting that payment. The money is therefore routed to RMG, counted and documented, and then routed to DFPS Accounts Payable.

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