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Tim RutkowskiDear Huron County Citizen:

I am sorry if you have become the unfortunate victim of a crime.

I recognize that you may be unfamiliar with court procedures and the law. To help you overcome your concerns and to answer questions you may have, I encourage you to read this page on this website and contact me, or my Crime Victim Advocate if the crime happened here in Huron County. The staff here will do all they can to help you.

My Advocate is in the office, during normal business hours to serve you. Please feel free to call whenever you need help with, or more information about, your rights as a crime victim.

Sincerely,

Timothy J. Rutkowski,
Huron County Prosecuting Attorney

For more information about your rights,
click on the topic title below and read the description.

Victim Assistance and Possible Compensation

We realize being a victim of crime is often a stressful experience. To make you feel more comfortable with the criminal and juvenile justice systems' procedures that follow your report of the crime, the Crime Victim Advocate is in the Prosecuting Attorney's Office to provide the following services:

  • Information and assistance in applying for Michigan Crime Victim Compensation.
  • Information about emergency services such as food, clothing and a place to live.
  • Referrals to other community agencies that may provide counseling or other services.
  • Information about the court, its procedures and case progress.
  • A person to accompany you to court when you ask for assistance.
  • Assistance with victim impact statements.
  • Arrangements for the return of personal property that was recovered by the police or held as evidence of the crime.
  • Information and assistance in seeking court-ordered restitution for losses you suffered because of the crime.

CRIME VICTIM ADVOCATE

Office of the Huron County Prosecuting Attorney


Huron County Building
250 E. Huron, Suite 103
Bad Axe, Michigan 48473-1317
Phone: (989) 269-9255
Fax: (989) 269-2744
Office Hours: Monday - Friday
8:30 a.m.-Noon; 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

The Michigan Crime Victim Compensation Act may provide financial assistance to crime victims who are injured, lose earnings or support because of a crime. The Crime Victim Advocate will answer any questions you might have concerning the Act and provide the forms necessary to make a claim.


To be eligible for compensation:


  • You must be a resident of the State of Michigan.
  • The crime must have happened in the State of Michigan.
  • The crime must have been reported to the police within 48 hours and the victim must cooperate with the investigation.
  • The person must have a $200 or greater out-of-pocket medical expense and /or loss of two continuous weeks of earnings or support. (Waived for disabled or retired persons and for emergency room expenses for sexual assault victims.)
  • In the case of death, a family member may file a claim.
  • Expenses or losses that are covered by personal insurance or that can be paid by another source will not be covered.
  • PROPERTY LOSS IS NOT COVERED,
  • A claim must be filed within one year from the date of the crime or one year of the death of the victim. (Sexual assault cases must be filed within one year from date of reporting,)

Testifying in court may be a new experience for you that is both stressful and inconvenient, but our system of criminal justice depends on you. Your patience and cooperation make the system work.


Suggestions for your day in court:


TELL THE TRUTH. The single most important advice we can give is: Tell the truth.


DRESS NEATLY. It is important that you look appropriate in court.


BE PREPARED. Think about the questions you will probably be asked and the answers you will give to them.


STICK TO THE FACTS. The judge or Jury wants to hear only the facts as you know them to be, not what someone else has told you.


RELAX, SPEAK CLEARLY. You have nothing to fear when giving truthful answers. When you are asked questions give the Judge or ]ury your answer as clearly as possible.

Your Rights Under Michigan Law

A crime victim is defined as someone who has suffered direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional harm as the result of a commission of a crime; or if that person is deceased, then the decedent's spouse, child, parent, guardian, sibling, or grandparent (in that order) is considered the victim.

The Michigan Constitution, Article I, section 24, enumerates the rights of crime victims, and is intended to allow victims to be compensated fairly for their suffering. The provision states that victims of crime shall have the following rights:


  1. The right to be treated with fairness and respect for their dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
  2. The right to timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused.
  3. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused throughout the criminal justice process.
  4. The right to notification of court proceedings.
  5. The right to attend trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend.
  6. The right to confer with the prosecution.
  7. The right to make a statement to the court at sentencing.
  8. The right to restitution.
  9. The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.

These rights are set forth in more detail in statutory forms by the “Michigan Crime Victim’s Rights Act,” where the rules for restitution are set out, including guidelines for notification of the victim upon release of the criminal, as well as other provisions.
A victim's rights are essentially the same whether the crime is committed by an adult or by juvenile, with the exception that if restitution is ordered to be paid when a crime was committed by a juvenile, the juvenile's Parents may be held responsible for payment.

(The Below Topics are In Order As They Occur)

Rights Which Automatically Occur

  1. Within 24 hours of your initial contact with a law enforcement agency, such as a police department or the Huron County Office of the Sheriff, that agency must give you the following information:

    1. The availability of emergency and medical services.
    2. The address of the Crime Victim's Compensation Board and the availability of benefits.
    3. The Prosecuting Attorney's address and telephone number for information about your rights as a victim.
    4. A notice that, if you are not notified of an arrest in your case, you may call the investigative law enforcement agency for a report on the status of your case.
  2. Property you own that has been seized by the police during their investigation must be promptly returned to you. This does not include property that is contraband (illegal goods), property whose ownership is disputed or weapons used in the crime. You also may not receive property the Prosecutor may certify needs to be retained as evidence for court proceedings until the case is over.
  3. The court may order at the end of the trial that the defendant has to pay you or the victim's estate for the physical, financial or emotional harm that you, the victim, suffered because of the crime. You need to begin now to keep a record of any expenses you have had because of the crime.
  4. Within 24 hours of the defendant's arraignment in District Court, the investigative police agency must give you the Sheriff 's telephone number. You then have the right to call the Sheriff's Office to find out if the defendant has been released from custody on bail or otherwise. If you are a victim of a juvenile offense and the juvenile is placed in a juvenile faculty, the Prosecuting Attorney must give you the telephone number of the facility and notice that you may con tact the facility to determine whether the juvenile has been released from custody.
  5. Within seven days of the defendant's arraignment in District Court, but not less than 24 hours before the preliminary examination of the defendant in court, the Prosecutor must give you:

    1. The information in this brochure.
    2. A statement of the steps involved in prosecuting a criminal case.
    3. Information about the Crime Victim's Compensation Act.
    4. Recommended actions to take if you are subjected to threats or intimidation.
    5. The name of the Prosecutor's Office person to contact for information.
    6. With juvenile cases, this notice must be given within 72 hours of the Prosecutor filing a petition to invoke the court's jurisdiction.

Rights Available Upon Your Request
  1. If the defendant threatens you or your family with physical violence or intimidation, call the police, then notify the Prosecutor's Office immediately. The Prosecutor may ask the court to revoke the defendant's bail and return the person to jail while awaiting trial.
  2. If you have reason to fear that the defendant may bring acts or threats of violence against you or your family, you should notify the Prosecutor's Office immediately. The Prosecutor may ask the court to protect you from having to disclose your address, place of employment or other personal identification.
  3. You have the right to ask the Prosecutor to give you notice of any court proceedings and schedule changes.
  4. You have the right to ask the Prosecutor to consult with you about how the criminal case is proceeding.
  5. You have the right to ask the Prosecutor to confer with you prior to the selection of a jury and prior to the trial of the defendant.
  6. You have the right to ask the Prosecutor to give you notice of:
    1. The crimes for which the defendant has been convicted.
    2. Your right to make a written or verbal statement for use in the defendant's pre-sentence investigation report. Your statement may include:
      1. Any physical, psychological or emotional harm you suffered.
      2. Any economic loss or property damage you suffered.
      3. What you feel is owed in restitution and whether you have applied for or received compensation for your loss.
      4. What you think would be an appropriate sentence for the crime.
    3. The availability of your statement to the defendant, unless the court has agreed that it does not need to be disclosed to the defendant.
    4. The address and phone number of the probation officer who is preparing the pre-sentence investigation report.
    5. Your right to make a verbal statement at the time and place of the defendant's sentencing.
Rights Which Automatically Occur
  1. The Prosecutor may ask the court for a speedy trial, if you are a victim of criminal sexual conduct or child abuse. This may also occur in cases where the victim is 65 years or older, or when the victim has a disability that inhibits that individual's ability to attend court or participate in the proceedings.
  2. The Prosecutor's office will provide you, the victim, with a waiting area for court proceedings separate from that provided the defendant. If this is not physically possible, the Prosecutor will keep your contact with the defendant to the barest minimum.
  3. Your employer may not threaten to discharge or discipline you when you are required to attend court.
  4. You have the right to be present throughout the defendant's trial. But if you are going to be a witness, the court may exclude you from the courtroom until you testify.

Rights Which Automatically Occur

  1. The defendant may not earn any money from the sale of his or her perceptions of the crime until:
    1. You have received all of the restitution or payment owed to you u by the defendant that was ordered by the court.
    2. All civil judgments against the defendant have been satisfied.
    3. The costs of the defendant's incarceration have been repaid to the state or county.

Rights Available Upon Your Request
  1. You have the right to ask the Prosecutor to notify you of the final disposition of the case.
  2. You have the right to ask the Sheriff's Office or the Michigan Department of Corrections to give you notice of:
    1. The defendant's earliest possible release date, if the defendant is sentenced to more than 90 days. (This request may only be made once.)
    2. The defendant's transfer or pending transfer to a minimum-security prison along with that facility's address.
    3. The defendant's release or pending release to a community placement center.
    4. Any reduction in the defendant's minimum sentence because of the Prison Overcrowding Emergency Powers Act.
    5. The defendant's escape.
    6. Your right to personally address or submit a written statement for consideration by the Parole Board 30 days before the Parole Board considers the defendant's release or parole.
    7. The Parole Board's decision.
    8. 90-days advance notice before the defendant is actually discharged from prison.
    9. Notice of a public hearing regarding a reprieve, commutation or pardon by the Governor.

MICHIGAN CRIME VICTIM NOTIFICATION NETWORK (MCVNN)

MCVNN is a free, confidential, computer-based service that provides two important services to victims of crime – information and notification regarding crimes committed in Michigan. It is available in English and Spanish.

For defendant or inmate custody status and court information, call 1-800-770-7657 and follow the automated prompts. You may also press "0" anytime during the call to speak to a representative.


Callers use basic information, such as prisoner number or name, to search the network database. The network will anonymously provide the caller with offender status, and information on upcoming court events/custody and hearings.

In addition, crime victims may choose to register for automated telephone notification when an offender has a change in custody status throughout the criminal justice process.


You will be notified about the following events: Release, Transfer, Escape, Death, and Court events.


Registration is confidential. The prosecuting attorney and the Michigan Department of Corrections will help crime victims register for notification. The only information required from you is a telephone number which is kept secure and confidential.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT MCVNN

To locate an offender in a county jail or state prison or to receive court information, any person may call the network hotline directly from a touch-tone phone at 1-800-770-7657. Once connected, follow the automated prompts given by the network. The Michigan Crime Victim Notification Network is available in English and Spanish.

To receive network notification of change in court schedules, crime victims may register with their prosecuting attorney. To receive network notification of a change in custody status for offenders housed in state prisons, crime victims may register with the Michigan Department of Corrections.


Anyone may register to receive network notification of change in custody status for offenders housed in county jails by calling 1-800-770-7657.


In all cases, registration is confidential.

If you choose to register for notification, you will receive a PIN (Personal Identification Number). The PIN is a four-digit number that you choose which will he kept secure and confidential. Select a number that is easy for you to remember and write it down. After you get a notification call from the network, enter your PIN using the touch-tone numbers on your telephone. That will let the network system know that you have received the message.

What if I am not at home or my phone is busy when I receive notification? The network is designed to allow every opportunity for you to be notified. If there is no answer or the line is busy, calls will continue for a minimum of 24 hours. The network will leave a mess age on an answering machine, but will continue to call for 24 hours or until the PIN is entered.

Yes, but each registration must be done separately and requires a PIN.

This program is designed to provide you with quick and easy access to information and to assist you in preparing for an offender's release. It is important for you to protect yourself once you are notified of an offender's release.

The Michigan Crime Victim Notification Network is a free service of the Michigan Department of Community Health, Crime Victim Services Commission, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Corrections, Department of Attorney General, Prosecuting Attorneys Coordinating Council, Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan and the Michigan Sheriff's Association.


All costs are paid by assessments collected from convicted criminal defendants.