Crime victims have a right to be notified about:
Plea negotiations and agreements
Changes in court schedules, date, time and place of sentencing
Decisions made not to prosecute a domestic assault or harassment case
Final disposition of the case
The release of the offender from prison or an institution
Crime victims have a right to participate in the prosecution, including the right to:
Crime victims have a right to protection from harm:
Tampering with a witness is crime
Victims/witnesses do not have to give their address in open court
Right to a secure waiting room
Employers may not dismiss or discipline victims/witnesses when they are called to testify in court
Crime victims have a right to apply for financial assistance:
CRIME VICTIM ASSISTANCE
As the recent victim or witness of a crime, you will soon experience firsthand the process of the criminal justice system. You will play an important role in the process. Without the cooperation and assistance of victims and witnesses, it is impossible in our society to hold criminals accountable. The Morrison County Attorney's Office has recognized that too often victims and witnesses are the forgotten people in the criminal justice system. We are committed to giving voice to victims' and witnesses' concerns and needs.
The Morrison County Attorney's Office provides information and assistance to victims and witnesses who play a vital role in the criminal justice system. The victim/witness program ensures that victims of crime receive written notice of their legal rights and timely notice of court appearances. The County Attorney's Office strives to keep crime victims fully informed of all important developments in their cases and affords them the opportunity to express their concerns and to have their questions answered. The County Attorney will seek restitution for losses suffered by crime victims. The victim/witness program provides victims with information on community resources and referrals to other agencies or organizations, if needed.
Morrison County Attorney's Office Victim/Witness Coordinator: Patty Branchaud 320-632-0287
STEPS IN THE LEGAL PROCESS
The court process is often lengthy and confusing. The following is a general outline of the criminal prosecution states. Individual cases may vary.
First Appearance ~~ at this hearing bail is set, conditions of release are ordered and, if the defendant qualifies, a public defender is appointed.
Omnibus Hearing ~~ at this hearing the defendant can ask the Court to determine if there is sufficient evidence to proceed with the case and if the evidence against the defendant was obtained in a lawful manner. The defendant will also plead guilty or not guilty. If the plea is not guilty, a pre-trial hearing is set.
Pre-Trial Hearing ~~ at this hearing plea agreements are negotiated. The victim's presence is not required, but is encouraged. If a defendant pleads guilty, sentencing may be on the same day. If defendant pleads not guilty in any case, trial date is set.
Trial ~~ at a trial witnesses testify about the facts of the case. A trial can be with or without a jury. The victim will be required to testify if the case goes to trial.
Sentencing ~~ if the defendant is found guilty, the judge imposes punishment which can include jail or prison time, fines, community service, restitution to the victim, probation, counseling or treatment programs, etc. The victim is encouraged to attend and give a Victim Impact Statement.