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September 2, 2014
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Phone: (814) 333-7455
Fax    : (814) 336-4225


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Victim / Witness Program

VICTIM / WITNESS PROGRAM

The Crawford County Victim / Witness program was established to assist victims and witnesses of crime. It is our goal to ensure that your rights are met, and that your concerns and needs are addressed. The Victim / Witness Program is your link to the Criminal Justice System.


"Being a victim of crime can be a very traumatic event.  This web page is being provided to you in an effort to inform and prepare you for what may lie ahead regarding the case that you are involved in.  The main objective of this program is to alleviate the trauma and frequently devastating effects of crime on the lives of victims and their families. We have found that victims who are kept informed are better able to cope with the anxiety that can arise from participation in the criminal justice system.

In order for criminal cases to be prosecuted successfully, it is vital that we have your patience and cooperation.  Please feel free to contact our office any time that you have a question or concern about your case."

Francis J. Schultz, Esq.
District Attorney



VICTIM’S RESPONSIBILITIES
In order for you to receive information and/or notice concerning your case, you must provide a valid address and telephone number to the requesting agency. You are also responsible for providing timely notice of any changes in that information. The information you provide is confidential and may not be disclosed to any person other than a representative of a law enforcement agency, prosecutor’s office or corrections agency without your written prior consent. The victim’s responsibility falls to the parent or legal guardian for child victims and to a surviving family member in the case of a homicide.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Will I be subpoenaed to Testify?  If the defendant pleads NOT GUILTY, his/her case will be scheduled for Trial. You will receive a subpoena from the officer handling your case.

How long will this process take?  From the time the suspect is arrested to the time he/she would go to trial or plead guilty could take up to a year depending on the Courts schedule and case load. PLEASE BE PATIENT.

Do I need to hire an attorney?  No. It is not necessary for you to hire an attorney. The District Attorney’s Office will represent your interests during all criminal proceedings.

PROGRESS OF A CRIMINAL CASE

* VICTIM / WITNESS PRESENCE MAY BE REQUIRED *




Will I be paid for my time and mileage?  IF you are subpoenaed to testify you will be paid $5.00/day and .7˘/mile for all mileage out of the City of Meadville. You will not be reimbursed for any time or mileage for meetings with the District Attorney or Victim/Witness Coordinators.

Where can I park?  Metered parking is available around Diamond Park. Metered and Free Parking is available on adjacent side streets.

TIPS FOR TESTIFYING

You may be required to testify to the facts regarding a crime. Below are some suggestions which may help you feel more relaxed and confident about testifying:

  1. Dress neatly. A neat appearance and proper dress in court are required. (i.e. No shorts or tank tops)

  2. Do not volunteer information. Answer only the question that has been asked. Only tell what you know -- THE TRUTH.

  3. Avoid jurors during recess. Do not approach a juror even on a matter which does not concern the trial. Avoid talking about the case in the courthouse, or anywhere that you may be overheard.

  4. Do not memorize your testimony. Be yourself and speak in your own words.

  5. Do not guess. Give positive, definite answers whenever possible. Avoid saying "I Think" or "I Believe" if you are certain about your answer. If you are asked a question and you do not know the answer, do not be afraid to say "I Don't Know." If you are asked a question and you do not remember because the event occurred long ago, it is perfectly acceptable to say "I Don't Remember."

PRELIMINARY HEARING

This is a proceeding before the District Justice where the Commonwealth must establish a Prima Facie Case.  This simply means that there is enough evidence to hold the case for trial.  The purpose of a preliminary hearing is not to determine guilt or innocence.  As a victim/witness, you will be questioned under oath by both the District Attorney and counsel for the defendant.  If a Prima Facie Case is established, the District Justice will rule that the defendant’s case must proceed to the Court of Common Pleas (located at the Crawford County Courthouse in Meadville, Pennsylvania), for further court appearances.  This is what is described as being “bound over” to the next term of criminal court.


PAYMENT FOR TIME AND MILEAGE

For trial appearance: The District Attorney’s Office will pay a victim or witness $5.00/day and 7˘per mile for all victims.


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