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Prisoners Not Entitled to Witness Fees

Prisoners are not entitled to witness fees, U.S. District Judge Michael Reagan recently held.

Christopher Lekas, a prisoner at the Dixon Correctional Center in Dixon, Illinois, testified via video feed from prison in a civil rights action. After testifying, Dixon filed a motion requesting witness fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1821 based on the Supreme Court’s decision in Demarest v. Manspeaker, 498 U.S. 184 (1991).

The court denied the motion. In response to the Demarest decision, Congress passed the Incarcerated Witness Fees Act of 1991. The Act prohibits the payment of fees or allowances to “any witness who is incarcerated at the time that his or her testimony is given,” the court held. See: Powers v. Jaimet, 2008 U.S. Dist. Lexis 37296.

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Related legal case

Powers v. Jaimet