LEE COUNTY, Fla. – A Cape Coral woman contacted Call for Action after she kept receiving subpoenas on her doorstep that were not for her.
The woman asked she remain anonymous because the subpoenas left at her involved criminal cases, so we are calling her Tiffany for the purpose of this story. Tiffany said she moved into her home in February. Shortly after, she found a subpoena left at her front door.
“It was left in the door. Everyday when I would come home, I would come in through the garage door and open the front door and the subpoenas would fall out,” Tiffany said. “The first one I received, I read it and I called to let them know…that police officer didn’t live here any longer because he was the previous tenant. They said it would be taken care of.”
The subpoenas were for a Fort Myers police officer, who had recently moved to Tampa for a new job. Tiffany did not know how to get a hold of that officer, so she said she called the State Attorney’s Office, who issued the subpoena; the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and even the Fort Myers Police Department.
After that initial call she said she had with the State Attorney’s Office, she thought the issue had been resolved. But then, she received another subpoena.
“[I] called the number again and they said it would taken care of…Then two or three weeks after that, I received a third subpoena for another person for the same officer,” she said.
One subpoena was for a case involving James Reshard Campbell. Campbell has been in and out of the Lee County jail 17 times for various charges, including battery and drug possession. His most recent arrest was for having a firearm as a felon. Campbell entered into a plea agreement, so the officer did not have to appear in court.
Another subpoena was for a case involving Lynetta Deann Williams. She has been arrested in Lee County seven times. Her current case is still pending, and a trial date has not been set.
Meanwhile, Tiffany said each time she received a subpoena for one of these cases, she worried the officer had no idea.
“It’s a little unnerving that it has taken this much effort to get something so important taken care of,” Tiffany said. “I would be afraid that if he [the officer] didn’t show to court that a potential criminal would be back on the streets.”
The State Attorney’s Office said that would never happen because they have witness locators, who are responsible for finding witnesses.
“What they do is they begin calling witnesses and saying we need you and we’re going to need you at such and such a date and such a such a time. When they would have reached out to this officer, they would have immediately said ‘hey he’s not there.’ We then put our witness locators onto it and as is specifically this case, it took them 20 minutes and we found him,” said Larry Justham, the Lee County Felony Division Chief with the State Attorney’s Office.
But local attorney Michael Noone said lawyers typically want to be as prepared as possible and that includes knowing where your witness lives.
“In any case, communication with your witness is important. If there is no communication and you haven’t had contact with your police officer and you don’t know what the police officer is going to testify, you can be caught off guard,” Noone said.
After Call for Action contacted the State Attorney’s Office, they said they had corrected the officer’s address and Tiffany would stop receiving subpoenas intended for him. They also said this should have been a quick fix the first time, but they did not have a record of Tiffany calling. But Tiffany insists she called them three times, hoping her call would help the State Attorney track down the right person. We followed up with the officer and he confirmed he had been contacted the by the State Attorney’s Office.