Demarest v. Manspeaker

RESPONDENT: Manspeaker
LOCATION: The Department of Health and Human Services

DOCKET NO.: 89-5916
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1990-1991)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

CITATION: 498 US 184 (1991)
ARGUED: Nov 06, 1990
DECIDED: Jan 08, 1991

James E. Scarboro - on behalf of the Petitioner
Michael R. Lazerwitz - on behalf of the Respondent

Facts of the case


Media for Demarest v. Manspeaker

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 06, 1990 in Demarest v. Manspeaker

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - January 08, 1991 in Demarest v. Manspeaker

William H. Rehnquist:

I have the opinion of the Court to announce in Demarest versus Manspeaker in No. 89-5916.

The petitioner in this case was an inmate in a state prison, who testified in a Federal Criminal Trial pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum, which is the Latin meaning for a writ that you use to get a prisoner to testify.

Ordinarily, you just issue a subpoena for person that is in civilian life, so to speak.

But for a prisoner, you have to get a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum that is directed to the warden of the prison.

The petitioner testified and he requested witness fees for his testimony in accordance with Section 1821 of the judicial code, which entitles witnesses in attendance of a federal trial to receive $30 a day for their services.

The District Court and the Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit denied petitioner's request for a fees on a ground that Section 1821 did not authorize the payment of witness fees to prisoners.

The language of 1821, however, contains no exception for prisoners who testify pursuant to a writ of habeas corpus ad testificandum.

By its terms, a provision applies to all witnesses in attendance except for detained alien.

Because congresses language is clear, the fact that administrative agencies have not paid witness fees to prisoners in the past is not controlling.

We therefore, reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals, our opinion is unanimous.