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Johnny Depp Subpoenaed to Testify in Murder Case

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on April 15, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

In a plot that seems straight out of a movie, Johnny Depp has been subpoenaed to testify in a murder case.

Nancy Lekon is accused of killing a pedestrian in Los Angeles by running her down and dragging her for a mile. Lekon's attorney wants Depp's testimony to help prove her client is insane because Lekon claims she was in a relationship with the actor at the time of the alleged homicide, according to TMZ.

So does Depp have to take the witness stand?


Subpoenas are court-ordered demands. Usually, subpoenas are used to get evidence or to get a party to appear in court or to a deposition.

Once a subpoena is issued by the court, it must be served upon an individual. This means that you're giving the person you want to have testify in court notice that they must appear. In general, a subpoena can be served by delivering it to the party in person or sending it through certified mail.

In California, service of a subpoena will be satisfied when the witness acknowledges that he received the subpoena either by telephone, mail, or in person.

According to TMZ, Depp was served the legal documents at the premiere of his movie "Transcendence" in Hollywood.

Does Depp Have to Testify?

Since a subpoena is a court order, failure to comply or appear can result in civil or criminal contempt charges. Penalties for contempt can either be fines or even jail time.

So it seems like Depp will have to testify unless his attorney can prove to the court that the request for him to appear is overbroad or unduly burdensome. A good start on that argument would be that he apparently has no relation to Lekon or anyone in the case.

Lekon's attorney wants Depp to testify because her client allegedly believes that she was in a relationship with Depp and was on her way to meet him when she ran down the pedestrian, TMZ reports. Lekon's attorney wants to show the jury that her client is delusional as a defense against her murder charge.

At this point, it's unclear when Depp will appear in court, but Lekon has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

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