MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Subpoenas can be used to require someone to testify, or even hand over documents. It's a power that could become vital for the impeachment hearings of Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley. But there are questions on exactly how much subpoena power lawmakers have in the matter.
Joe Espy, who represents Gov. Bentley at the hearings, does not believe the committee has subpoena power.
"No, it does not, and it is not an opinion," Espy said. "They do not, and I don't think they believe they do."
The Alabama Constitution provides the power to issue subpoenas.
"They probably have the right to issue a subpoena, but it does not appear they have any enforcement provisions," Espy explained.
The lack of enforcement could create major issues, as it could hurt the ability of the House Judiciary Committee to force people to testify.
Espy said the governor's office plans to cooperate with the special counsel. However, Espy warned there are some documents which could be involved in a grand jury investigation that could be off limits.
Time will tell if subpoenas are needed in the impeachment hearing, but without the threat of one, it could very well limit the ability of the state to compel testimony.