18 USC § 3144
Release or detention of a material witness
October 30, 2020

If it appears from an affidavit filed by a party that the testimony of a person is material in a criminal proceeding, and if it is shown that it may become impracticable to secure the presence of the person by subpoena, a judicial officer may order the arrest of the person and treat the person in accordance with the provisions of section 3142 of this title. No material witness may be detained because of inability to comply with any condition of release if the testimony of such witness can adequately be secured by deposition, and if further detention is not necessary to prevent a failure of justice. Release of a material witness may be delayed for a reasonable period of time until the deposition of the witness can be taken pursuant to the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure.

References in Text

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, referred to in text, are set out in the Appendix to this title.

Prior Provisions

A prior section 3144, act June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 821, related to cases removed from State courts, prior to repeal in the revision of this chapter by section 203(a) of Pub. L. 98–473.


1986—Pub. L. 99–646 substituted "subpoena" for "subpena" and inserted "of this title".

Effective Date of 1986 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 99–646 effective 30 days after Nov. 10, 1986, see section 55(j) of Pub. L. 99–646, set out as a note under section 3141 of this title.

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