Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Program

117 East High Street, Suite 234
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050
Phone:  740-393-3404
Fax:  740-393-3405

Victim Advocate

Diana L. Oswalt, Director
dianaoswalt@co.knox.oh.us

 

 

The Knox County Prosecutor's Office wish to make the experience of crime victims with the criminal justice system as comfortable and understandable as possible. For this reason, the Knox County Victim Assistance Program was created.

The mission of the Victim Assistance Program is to provide crime victims with the information and emotional support necessary to make their way through the process of seeking justice. Our services are free of charge, confidential, and provided only at the victim's request.

The Victim Assistance Program works to ensure that victims' rights are enforced and protected. As a part of this work, we make every effort to personally and promptly inform interested victims about charges filed, hearings scheduled and the outcome of those hearings.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:

Knox County Prosecuting Attorney Victim Assistance Program
117 East High Street, Suite 234
Mount Vernon, Ohio 43050

Phone:  740-397-3404
Fax:  740-397-3405

ARE YOU A VICTIM?

A crime victim is an individual who suffers physical, financial or emotional harm as the result of the commission of a crime. A victim includes an individual who has suffered the death of a loved one as the result of a violent crime

THE RIGHTS OF A VICTIM

All crime victims have a right:

  • to be treated with dignity and compassion.
  • to protection from intimidation and harm
  • to be informed concerning the criminal justice process
  • to information about the offense charged, arrests, bond, and services available to them
  • to information from and meaningful discussions with the prosecutor
  • to attend criminal court hearings
  • to participate in criminal proceedings without jeopardizing their jobs
  • where applicable, to apply for compensation through the Ohio Court of Claims

Notification Rights

Victims of felony crimes, upon request, have a right to be timely notified:

  • of the date, time and place of all hearings
  • of the results of all court proceedings, including convictions, dismissals, sentences, appeals and early release hearings

Victims may choose someone else to get these notices, or not to receive notices.

Right to be Heard at Sentencing

If a defendant is convicted, victims of felony crimes have a right:

  • to complete a victim impact statement regarding how the crime has affected them, physically, financially and emotionally
  • to make a statement at sentencing about the impact of the crime

UNDERSTANDING THE STEPS OF A PROSECUTION

INITIAL APPEARANCE: (usually held within 72 hours of arrest): A court hearing at which the defendant (the person charged with the crime) is informed of the charges and of constitutional rights. Bond is also set. It is not necessary for the victim to be present.

PRELIMINARY HEARING: A hearing, much like a trial, at which witnesses are called to testify about the crime. The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is enough evidence to prove the defendant PROBABLY committed the crime charged. This decision is made by the Mount Vernon Municipal Court Judge. If the Judge finds that there is enough evidence, or PROBABLE CAUSE, then the case is bound over to the Knox County Grand Jury.

GRAND JURY: A secret proceeding in which evidence is presented to nine jurors by the prosecutor to determine which charges, if any, to prosecute. These charges are called an INDICTMENT.

ARRAIGNMENT: A court appearance at which a defendant pleads either guilty or not guilty to the indictment. Bond will also be set or reexamined. The arraignment usually takes place within 2 weeks after grand jury. On the advice of their attorneys, almost all defendants plead not guilty at the arraignment.

PRETRIAL CONFERENCE: A meeting between the prosecutor and the defense attorney during which the evidence and legal issues are discussed. The possibility of a guilty plea is also discussed.

TRIAL: A trial takes place if the defendant does not plead guilty. A defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt by all twelve jurors (or the judge if the defendant chooses not to have a jury trial).

SENTENCE: Decided upon by the judge after considering nature of the crime, the background of the defendant and the impact on the victim.

APPEAL: Usually filed only after a trial, a procedure in which legal issues are reviewed to make sure the trial was fair. No witnesses are required.

SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE VICTIM ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

  • Notification of court hearings including the date, time, and courtroom
  • Information about the progress of the case, including appeals and release hearings
  • Support and advocacy throughout the criminal justice process
  • Provision of a secure waiting area during court proceedings
  • Accompany to court hearings
  • Familiarize victims with trial procedures before they testify in court
  • If applicable to the case, assistance in the filing of claims for compensation in the Ohio Court of Claims
  • Confidential referrals to any appropriate medical, counseling or social service agency
  • Provision to elderly crime victims of services appropriate to their special needs
  • Assistance in the reasonable return of property being held as evidence by law enforcement agencies
  • Assistance in completing victim impact statements