Robert S. Willett, District Attorney
VICTIM RIGHTS CRIMES
Murder, Manslaughter and Homicide
Sexual Assault (Adult or Child Victim)
Sexual Exploitation of Children
Violation of Protection Order - Sexual Assault Case
Crimes Against At Risk Adult or At Risk Juveniles
Careless Driving Resulting in the Death of Another Per50n
Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident that Results in the Death of Another Person
Ethnic Intimidation or Bias Motivated Crime
Retaliation, Intimidation or Tampering of a Victim, Witness, Judge or Juror
Human Trafficking (Adult or Child Victim)
First Degree Burglary
Any attempt, conspiracy, solicitation or, accessory to the above listed crimes
If a victim is deceased or incapacitated, these rights may be exercised by the victim’s spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent. grandchild, significant other, or other lawful representative.
YOUR RIGHTS AS A CRIME VICTIM
The following is a summary of the rights guaranteed by the Victim Rights Act (VRA). For a complete listing of your rights, please refer to C.R.S. 24-4.1-301 through 24-4.1-304 or you may contact the District Attorney’s Office.
• To be treated with fairness, respect and dignity and to have a swift and lair resolution of your case.
• To be informed of and present for al critical stages of the Criminal Justice Process.
• To be present and heard in court for any bond reduction, reduction or charges, disposition, sentencing or continuances.
• To talk with the Deputy District Attorney before the case is resolved or goes to trial and to be informed of how it is resolved.
• To prepare a Victim Impact Statement and to be present at sentencing.
• To have restitution ordered.
• To pursue a civil judgment against anyone who has committed a crime against you.
• To be informed of post-conviction release or modification hearings.
• To get your property back quickly after it is no longer needed for prosecution.
• To be free of intimidation, harassment or abuse.
• To be informed of the status of the case and any scheduling changes or cancellations, if known in advance.
• To be informed of Victim Compensation.
• Upon request, to be informed when a person accused or convicted of the crime is released from custody, is paroled, escapes or absconds.
• Upon written request to be Informed of and heard at any reconsideration of sentence.
• To be informed of the process for enforcing complaints with victim’s rights.
• To be informed of the results of any HIV testing that is ordered and performed.
To view, at the discretion of the District Attorney, all or a portion of the presentence report from the Probation Department.
• The right to know if an offender is referred to Community Corrections.
• The right to be informed of the filing of a petition by the perpetrator of the offense to terminate sex offender registration.
GOING TO COURT
• Cases are often resolved without the victim having to testify.
• You may get a subpoena to testify, if this happens can the Victim Assistance Program and someone will talk with you about what may happen in court
• You should not be fired or disciplined for coming to Court or being involved with the Prosecution of your case. We can talk with your employer or school official about your appearances in Court
• You can see the Courtroom before your scheduled court date.
• If you have to testify, a separate waiting area win be provided so the defendant will not have contact with you.
• There can be a condition on the defendant’s bond that he/she cannot have any contact with you. If this condition is violated, can your local Law Enforcement agency and the Victim Advocate assigned to your case.
• If you have questions or concerns regarding security, please call the Victim Advocate.
For more information regarding restraining orders, please contact your local Courthouse and/or the Victim Assistance Program.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS USED IN THE COURT SYSTEM
Arraignment/First Appearance: The process whereby a defendant is brought before the court and is told what his/her rights are and the charges against him/her. At this point a plea of guilty or not guilty is entered. The defendant can request a jury trial at this time.
Bond/Bail: After a person has been arrested, he/she has a constitutional right to bond or bail. The consideration for bond is determined by the probability that the defendant will return for his/her hearing and trial. The amount of bond or bail reflects the seriousness of the crime, the type, amount and conditions of the bond are set by the Court.
Continuance: A continuance is a postponement of a hearing or trial to a later date. A continuance can be requested by either the Prosecution (District Attorney) or the Defense but can only be granted by the Court. The defendant is guaranteed a speedy trial by the Constitution, therefore a continuance can only be granted beyond the speedy trial date if the defendant waives that right
Motions Hearing: A “motion” is a legal document in which the Prosecutor or defense attorney asks the Judge to rule on some aspect of the case (for example, prohibiting the use of evidence or requiring one side to release information to the other side). At a motions hearing, each side can present arguments for or against the motions and call witnesses to support their positions after which the Judge Rules.
Preliminary Hearing: Preliminary Hearings are held in felony cases to determine if there is probable cause to believe that the offense was committed by the defendant “Probable Cause” means a greater than 50% chance the crime was committed by the defendant and is a much less burden of proof than required at trial. If, during a preliminary hearing, probable cause is not established, the charges are dismissed and the defendant is released.
Pre-Trial Conference: A pre-trial conference is a process used in the court system to reach a disposition in a case before the case goes to trial. At this time, plea negotiations may take place in an effort to have the defendant plead to the charges against him/her.
Restitution: State law allows the prosecutor to request restitution (repayment for a victim’s tosses) as part of the sentence of any defendant who is found guilty of a crime. If you have losses due to the crime (such as repair costs, medical bills or stolen/damaged property) you must provide the Victim Assistance Program with information and documentation on your out of pocket expenses.
Sentencing Hearing: After the defendant has pled guilty or has been found guilty by a jury or the court, a sentencing hearing is scheduled. This hearing is set approximately six (6) six weeks after an entry of plea or trial. It is at the sentencing hearing that the victim Impact Statement and Pre-Sentencing Report (PSI) are submitted and the Judge makes a decision on what penalty will be assessed against the defendant
Sequestration: A sequestration order is a court order to exclude witnesses from the courtroom while another witness testifies. Witnesses are ordered not to talk to the defendant(s) or witnesses about the case.
Subpoena: A subpoena is an official court order requiring you to appear in court at the time and place indicated.
Trial: The purpose of a trial is to determine n the evidence presented has proven beyond a reasonable doubt’ that the defendant committed the crime charged. The defendant’s guilt or innocence will be determined by either a Judge (court trial) or a Jury (jury trial).
We hope that this information has helped you in understanding the Court System.
HOW TO BE AN EFFECTIVE WITNESS
Always tell the truth
Do not memorize
Answer the question
Understand the question before answering
Do not lose your temper
If you hear an objection, stop talking
Be prepared to wait
Look at the Jury
The defendant’s attorney or investigator may attempt to contact you to discuss the case. You are under no legal obligation to speak with him/her. It is your choice as to whether or not you wish to discuss the case with Defense Counsel.
In some cases, the District Attorney or one of her Deputy District Attorney’s will request an informal conference/meeting with the victim/witness involved. The purpose of the conference/meeting is to introduce the District Attorney or Deputy District Attorney to the State’s victim/witness and clarify points or testimony. The conference/meeting will provide you with an opportunity to ask questions and express your interests in the case and the upcoming hearing. You are not legally required to attend such meetings, however attendance is recommended. The purpose of such meetings is to provide you with a clear understanding of the need for your complete cooperation in the case and your appearance in Court, as well as help the District Attorney prepare for the case.