I think it’s safe to say that most people don’t come home from vacation and find that the sheriff’s department has been trying to serve a subpoena on them.
Specifically, what my husband found was a card from a deputy sheriff in the Judicial Process Department of the Sheriff’s Office with a note on it that said, “Dr. Coleslaw. Call me” and a cell phone number.
My actual last name is extremely uncommon. We think it’s a misspelling of an Italian word that itself is not a common name, although more common than mine. I’ve met maybe one person with that last name, and the only people I know with my last name are related to me by birth or marriage. That’s one reason I’ve kept the name through two marriages.
So despite the wrong title, I assumed that whatever papers were being served were for me, but since we arrived home at dinnertime Saturday, I decided calling the deputy could wait until this morning.
I called soon after I brought the cats home from the vet’s office, where they had been boarding. I reached a voicemail message that asked for my name, number, and address, which I gave. I had to run two more quick errands, but was home for the rest of the day, expecting a call, if not a knock on the door. I did get calls: from the salesman telling me our new sofa is ready for delivery, and from my husband checking in on my day, but no deputy. I called again around three, got the same voicemail, and left my information again. I got another call from my husband, checking in to see if I’d heard anything and to pass along some work related news, but no deputy. I noticed numbers for the sheriff’s office on the card and called one of them. After some back and forth with the receptionist, I was switched to a man, maybe a supervisor, in the Judicial Process office who kept calling me “hon” and assured me that he would have the deputy call me. “Hon” also informed me that I was being served with a subpoena in a court case.
Shortly thereafter, the deputy called, and apologized for not calling earlier. The department has been having trouble with their phones. He didn’t have the subpoena handy, because after three tries to deliver it, while I was on the road, he sent it back to the court, as is protocol. As he remembered, however, I was being subpoenaed to testify in a murder case. “You’re a doctor, right?” he asked.
I explained that not only am I not a doctor, but that I do not have any first hand information of any murder case and cannot imagine why anyone would solicit my testimony. The deputy decided that I was not the person the subpoena was meant for and said that if it was reissued, he would send it back with an explanation that that person does not live at my address.Then he asked, “Do you know a doctor with your last name?”
“I don’t know anyone else in the state of Louisiana with my last name,” I told him.
So the issue seems to be resolved, as far as my participation, anyway. I hope that if they need this person’s testimony, he or she can be found. It occurred to me after I hung up that perhaps the doctor’s name is the Italian word that my father always believed our family name was derived from. I thought about calling the deputy back, but since he no longer had the subpoena, I wasn’t sure it was necessary.
Besides, they’re the investigators. I’ll let them figure it out.