Prosecutor

Victim Assistance

Victim Advocate 1                                                                                                                                                                                                

An encounter with the Criminal Justice System may be confusing and traumatic, especially when you are the victim of a crime.  Our Office wants to help you by providing information and assistance throughout the criminal process.  Our advocate will be a liaison between the Prosecutor's Office, you (the victim) and law enforcement, and will provide information such as upcoming court dates, accompany you to court or hearings, answer questions and provide referrals to various services available to you.  We can also provide you with assistance in obtaining restitution for lost or damaged property, medical bills and counseling services as provided by law.  We can also assist you in filling out an application to the Indiana Violent Crime Compensation Fund if applicable.  It is our goal to provide you with as much information as possible to make this an easy process in a sometimes difficult situation.  We hope this will relieve some of the apprehension and concerns that a victim may experience.

MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the Greene County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Advocacy Program is to advocate for and promote the rights and interest of victims, families and communities affected by crime in all facets of the criminal court system while addressing their needs caused by the trauma of victimization. It is through this mission statement that our program is designed and implemented with an expected result of facilitating the healing process of all victims.

ADVOCATE: Vickie Aydt  (victimadvocate@co.greene.in.us)

The role of the victim advocate is to provide you, the victims with information to help you understand the process of the criminal justice system, the status of your case, explain your rights as a victim, answer any questions and sometimes just someone you can talk to.  The advocate will attend meetings between you and the Prosecutor and can attend court trials, hearings or depositions as requested by you.  Making sure the advocate has your most recent contact information is crucial in keeping you informed on your case.  The advocate can also refer you to other outside services that you may need, Hamilton Center, Family Life Center, Middle Way, Greene County General, legal services and any other community based services in and out of the county as needed.

VICTIM RIGHTS

Victims of crime, as defined by law, shall have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice process; and, as defined by law, to be informed of and present during public hearings and to confer with the prosecution, to the extent that exercising these rights does not infringe upon the constitutional rights of the accused.

BASIC CRIMINAL JUSTICE PROCESS

♦ Arrest - When a crime is committed and law enforcement is called, it is their job to investigate the crime, this usually includes interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence.  If the investigating officer determines that probable cause exists, the officer may arrest the suspect at the time of the offense, or the officer can arrest the suspect if a warrant has been issued for the suspect's arrest, after the investigation is complete and criminal charges have been filed.

♦ Charge - Once the officer completes his investigation, he or she will send over their case report and any supporting documentation to the Prosecutor for review.  Once the Prosecutor reviews all the information, he or she will determine what charges, if any, may be filed.  The State is responsible for filing criminal charges, not the victim.

♦ Misdemeanor - A lesser offense than a felony (simple battery, criminal mischief, first-time theft).  Maximum sentence of one year, with alternative sentencing options available.

♦ Felony - A crime more serious in nature than those designated as misdemeanors (sexual assault/rape, some battery offenses, criminal confinement, burglary, murder).  Potential punishment is greater than one year.

♦ No Contact Order - In a criminal case, if the suspect has been arrested, the Prosecutor may request a No Contact Order be issued by the Court at the Initial Hearing.  This means that the suspect may not call, write, have a third party contact, or physically contact the victim or any other party whom the judge orders the suspect to have "no contact" with.  It is usually placed as a condition of the suspect's bond.  Any violation of this order could result in new charges (Invasion of Privacy) being filed against the suspect.  A No Contact Order stays in effect while the criminal case is pending and through probation.  Once the case is closed, either by plea or guilty verdict, the order may continue while the suspect is on probation.  If the case is closed through a dismissal or Not Guilty Verdict, the No Contact Order is vacated at that time.  If the suspect was not arrested or charged, a victim will need to file for a Protective Order.

♦ Protective Order - A victim of domestic violence, dating violence, family violence, stalking or sexual assault may choose to file for a Protective Order which is a civil order filed with the Court.  A Protective order is a separate petition filed in civil court independent from a criminal case.  You can either contact the Middle Way Office in Bloomfield at 812-384-8769 to help you fill out the paperwork or you may go online to http://www.co.greene.in.us and go to Departments/Clerk and on the left-hand side is a category marked "Topics of Interest" and the Protective Order site is listed.  Once you fill in the paperwork, you will need to take it to the Clerk's Office to file.  It will then be up to the Court as to whether it is granted or not.  You may have both a No Contact Order and a Protective Order at the same time.

♦ Petition to Revoke Bond - Once a suspect is arrested, he/she can post bond to get out of jail with certain provisions.  If the suspect violates any of those provisions, a Petition to Revoke Bond may be filed against them and the Court can order the suspect to remain in jail until the case goes to trial.

♦ Deposition - A deposition is sometimes requested by the defense attorney once the case is filed to clear up any questions he/she may have before proceeding to trial.  This is an opportunity for the defense attorney to question the victim or witnesses, as to events which occurred in the case out side the presence of the Judge and/or Jury.  The victim and/or witness is sworn to tell the truth by a court reporter who will record and transcribe the proceeding.  This usually takes place at the prosecutor's office or defense attorney's office, but sometimes at the jail if the suspect is incarcerated and wants to be present.  The suspect has the right to be present but cannot say anything to the victim/witness during the deposition. The role of the Prosecutor is to make sure you are not asked any questions which are impermissible.  The Prosecutor may or may not ask questions at a deposition, depending on the responses given.  The Prosecutor can call the victim or witnesses in at any time to speak with them.

♦ Pre-Trial Conference - A meeting between the Judge, Prosecutor, Defense Attorney and sometimes the suspect to determine the status of the case.  This is usually held in the Judge's Chambers and is not open to the public.

♦ Court Trial - A hearing held in front of the Judge who will determine the guilt or innocence of the suspect.

♦ Jury Trial - A hearing held in which 6 or 12 people will determine the guilt or innocence of the suspect.

♦ Sentencing - Once a suspect has plead guilty through a negotiated plea agreement, or been found guilty by the Court or by a jury trial, the suspect will be sentenced.  If the suspect has plead by means of a Negotiated Plea Agreement, the sentence is either a set sentence determined by the Prosecutor or a sentence left to the discretion of the Court.  In felony cases, the victim has the right to be present at the sentencing hearing and make a victim impact statement to the Court before the sentence is handed down.  The advocate will advise you as to when the sentencing hearing is to allow you time to either write out a statement or attend the hearing.

♦ Victim Impact Statement - The victim has the right to give a victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing.  The statement should include the emotional, physical and financial impact of the crime on the victim.  Sometimes this is also requested as part of the Pre-Sentence Investigation which is a report the Court orders after a suspect is found guilty of a felony charge and is completed by the Probation Department.  It is best if you are going to make a verbal statement to write down what you want to say so you can read it at the hearing.  Testifying can sometimes be very stressful and you may forget certain details you want the court to know.

♦ Negotiated Plea Agreement - This is an agreement between the Prosecutor and the suspect and their attorney, whereby the suspect agrees to plead guilty to a crime without having to go to a trial.  The punishment may be established in the agreement but can also be left up to the Judge.  Even though some  people may not like Negotiated Plea Agreements, they insure a conviction without putting the victim through a trial.  It also avoids a possible jury acquittal and lengthy appeals.

♦ Restitution - Restitution can be ordered by the Court or through a Negotiated Plea Agreement in a case.  Restitution in a criminal justice system means payment by a suspect to the victim for the harm caused by the suspect's wrongful acts.  Restitution in the criminal system can cover expenses related directly to the crime; i.e. repair or replace a door or window, insurance deductible, medical expenses as a result of a battery, replacement of loss or damaged property.  Documentation (bill or receipt) is required by the Court in determining the claim for restitution.

♦ Violent Crime Compensation Fund - The Victim Compensation Division of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute assists victims, or sometimes their dependents, with medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost wages and outpatient counseling as a direct result of a violent crime.  There are several requirement to determine if you are eligible and the victim advocate may assist you in this process.

♦  Indiana VINElink - is an automated victim information and notification service for Indiana County jails.  It also is a free service and will notify you as to when a suspect posts bond or is being released from the county jail.  You may register through www.vinelink.com or by calling 1-866-959-VINE.  You can also let the officer know at the time of the investigation that you want to be notified or by contacting the advocate at the Prosecutor's Office at 812-384-4998.

♦ Indiana SAVIN - Indiana SAVIN stands for Statewide Automated Victim Information and Notification.  The Indiana SAVIN program is a free, automated service that provides crime victims with vital information and notification 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for a suspect who is servicing a sentence through the Department of Correction.  It will give you suspect information and allow you to register for notification of a change in suspect status, such as release from prison.  You may register through www.indianasavin.in.gov or by calling 866-891-0330.  You can also contact the advocate at the Prosecutor's Office at 812-384-4998.

♦ SANE - Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).  If you are the victim of a sexual assault and you are over the age of 14, you may go to the Greene County General Hospital for a sexual assault examination performed by a SANE.  This is a free service to any victim of sexual assault.  A forensic examination will be completed by a SANE as well as collecting evidence, taking photographs and referring the victim to any additional services he or she may need.  As a victim, you have the right to choose to report the crime or not report the crime.  It is always best to report a sexual assault, not only for your safety, but also for the safety of other victims.  However, if you choose not to report, the sexual assault kit is held for 1 year in the event you change your mind.  If you choose not to report, the kit is given an anonymous number and no one will know who the victim is unless you decide to report.  If you are under the age of 14, you will need to be seen by a SANE at Riley Hospital and by law, the crime will be reported to law enforcement.

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Prosecutor's Office (more)
I E Main St
Bloomfield, IN 47424
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  • Phone: (812) 384-4998
  • Other: (800) 897-5487
  • Fax: (812) 384-2001
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  • Office Hours:
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