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Compulsory Process

The method employed by which a person wanted as a witness, or for some other purpose, in a civil or criminal action is forced to appear before the court hearing the proceeding.

Compulsory process encompasses not only a subpoena, which is a command to appear at a particular time and location to provide testimony upon a certain matter, but also a bench warrant, which is a written order commanding a law enforcement officer to seize the person named and bring that person into court.

The SIXTH AMENDMENT to the Constitution provides that the accused in criminal prosecutions shall have the right "to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor."

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