District Attorney
 

Rights of Crime Victims and Witnesses

Crime Victims’ Rights

Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin State Statutes identifies the following as the rights of all victims of crime in the State of Wisconsin.

As a crime victim, or family member of a homicide victim, you have a right:

  • To be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect for his or her privacy by public officials, employees, or agencies. This paragraph does not impair the right or duty of a public official or employee to conduct his or her official duties reasonably and in good faith.
  • To have his or her interests considered when the court is deciding whether to grant a continuance in the case.
  • To attend court proceedings, subject to any sequestration order. The court may require victims to exercise this right by telephone or other available means, if the victim is incarcerated, under arrest, or committed to a treatment facility, and the victim does not have a representative.
  • To be provided with appropriate intercession services to ensure that employers of victims will cooperate with the criminal justice process and the juvenile justice process in order to minimize an employee's loss of pay and other benefits resulting from court appearances.
  • To be accompanied by a service representative in certain cases.
  • To request an order for, and to be given the results of, testing to determine the presence of a communicable disease or HIV in certain cases.
  • To not be the subject of a law enforcement officer's or district attorney's order, request, or suggestion that he or she submit to a test using a lie detector when he or she claims to have been the victim of a sexual assault.
  • To be informed about the process by which he or she may file a complaint and about the process of an inquest if he or she is the victim of an officer-involved death in certain cases.
  • To not have his or her personal identifiers, and including an electronic mail address, used or disclosed by a public official, employee, or agency for a purpose that is unrelated to the official responsibilities of the official, employee, or agency.
  • To be provided a waiting area.
  • To have his or her interests considered by the court in determining whether to exclude persons from a preliminary hearing.
  • To not be compelled to submit to a pretrial interview or deposition by a defendant or his or her attorney.
  • To have reasonable attempts made to notify the victim of hearings or court proceedings.
  • To have reasonable attempts made to notify the victim of petitions for sentence adjustment.
  • Upon request, the opportunity to confer (talk) with the district attorney or his/her designee concerning the case and possible outcomes of the prosecution, including potential plea agreements and sentencing recommendations. This right does not limit the obligation of the district attorney to exercise his/her discretion concerning the handling of any criminal charge against the defendant. This conference may take place by telephone or in person.
  • To a speedy disposition of the case in which they are involved as a victim in order to minimize the length of time they must endure the stress of their responsibilities in connection with the case.
  • Upon request, the opportunity at sentencing to make an oral statement or a written statement to be read in court, relevant to sentencing.
  • To attend a hearing on a petition for modification of a bifurcated sentence and provide a statement concerning modification of the bifurcated sentence.
  • To attend a hearing on a petition for modification of a term of probation and provide a statement to the court concerning modification of the term of probation.
  • To have information concerning the impact of a delinquent act on the victim included in a court report and to have the person preparing the court report attempt to contact the victim.
  • To have the person preparing a presentence investigation make a reasonable attempt to contact the victim and to view the sentence recommendation and any victim information included on the presentence investigation report. And, subject to the limits, view portions of a presentence investigation report prepared that relate to the crime upon the victim.
  • To have the court provided with information pertaining to the economic, physical and psychological effect of the crime upon the victim and have the information considered by the court.
  • To request that the court order restitution, and to enter a civil judgment for unpaid restitution.
  • To receive protection from harm and threats of harm arising out of their cooperation with law enforcement and prosecution efforts, and to be provided with information as to the level of protection available. .
  • To apply for crime victim compensation. For an application, ask your victim witness advocate in the DA's Office or call 1-800-446-6564. Crime Victim Compensation does not cover property loss.
  • To have any stolen or other personal property expeditiously returned by law enforcement agencies when no longer needed as evidence.
  • To have district attorneys make a reasonable attempt to notify the victim regarding conditional releases.
  • To have reasonable attempts made to notify the victim concerning actions taken in a juvenile proceeding.
  • Upon request, to receive information about the outcome of the case.
  • To complain to the Department of Justice concerning the treatment of crime victims and to request review by the crime victim’s rights board of the complaint. Their number is (608) 267-9340.

Rights of Witnesses

Witnesses of crimes have the following rights:

  • To request information from the district attorney about the final disposition of the case.
  • To be notified that a court proceeding to which they have been subpoenaed will not go on as scheduled, in order to save the person an unnecessary trip to court.
  • To receive protection from harm and threats of harm arising out of their cooperation with law enforcement and prosecution efforts, and to be provided with information as to the level of protection available.
  • To be informed of financial assistance and other social services available as a result of being a witness of a crime, including information on how to apply for the assistance and services.
  • To not have his or her personal identifiers and including an electronic mail address, used or disclosed by a public official, employee, or agency for a purpose that is unrelated to the official responsibilities of the official, employee, or agency.
  • To be informed of the procedure to be followed in order to apply for and receive any witness fee to which they are entitled.
  • To be provided a waiting area.
  • To have any stolen or other personal property expeditiously returned by law enforcement agencies when no longer needed as evidence. If feasible, all such property, except weapons, currency, contraband, property subject to evidentiary analysis and property the ownership of which is disputed, shall be returned to the person within 10 days of being taken.
  • To be provided with appropriate intercession services to ensure that employers of witnesses will cooperate with the criminal justice process and the juvenile justice process in order to minimize an employee's loss of pay and other benefits resulting from court appearances.
  • To be entitled to a speedy disposition of the case in which they are involved as a witness in order to minimize the length of time they must endure the stress of their responsibilities in connection with the matter.
It is important that you contact the Victim Witness Advocate assigned to your case for the information about how to exercise these rights.
To file a complaint of discrimination, contact:
Office of Crime Victim Services (800) 446-6564
Office of Civil Rights (800) 368-1019, ocrmail@hhs.gov
Victim-Witness Services, Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office (414) 278-4667

MILWAUKEE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY

821 W. State St., Room 405
Milwaukee, WI 53233

Phone: (414) 278-4646
Email

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