What Is Expected of Me as a Citizen When a Crime Is Committed?
You are expected to report the crime and to testify as to what happened. A major purpose of the criminal justice process is to protect citizen victims. Your cooperation is vital.
A citizen who is a victim of a crime or who sees a crime committed has a duty to report the crime and cooperate with the prosecution. Without citizen cooperation, criminals will go free since the courts may not have the evidence to see that they are justly punished. When criminals go free, experience tells us that chances are they will commit more crimes causing more innocent people to suffer. This can be stopped only if citizens cooperate. As a famous statesman, Edmund Burke, said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Reporting Additional Information
Often victims and witnesses learn additional information important to the pending case. Please give this information immediately to the investigating police officers and prosecutor. The Victim Witness Services Division can assist you in contacting the attorney assigned to your case.
A subpoena is a court order directing a person to appear in court on a certain date and time. Failure to appear may result in an arrest warrant, fines and jail. Report to the District Attorney's Office before court. You will receive two copies of the subpoena. Sign your name on the back of one and return it to us immediately in the envelope provided. This copy is required for the payment of witness fees. Contact the victim advocate listed on the subpoena if you have any questions or concerns.
Where Do I Go?
The courthouse and the Criminal Justice Facility are located next to each other on the West side of 9th Street, between Wells Street and State Street. The Safety Building is located on the East side of 9th Street, directly across the street from the Criminal Justice Facility, and across MacArthur Square from the Courthouse.
Courthouse: 901 North 9th Street
Criminal Justice Facility: 949 North 9th Street
Safety Building: 821 West State Street
There are court rooms in all three of these buildings. If you have a subpeona, bring it with you. It tells you the building and the room number where you should go.
Are There Bus Services Available?
The Milwaukee County Transit System has many bus routes serving the downtown area that provide convenient transportation to the Courthouse-Safety Building area. These include bus routes 10, 12, 20, 23, 30, and 31, which are shown on the map.
If you need further bus information, call the Information Service of the Transport Company at (414) 344-6711.
Is Parking Available?
Street parking in the area is scarce and it is limited to one hour. There are several parking lots near the Criminal Justice Complex. They are shown as black boxes with white print on the map on this brochure.
Whom Should I Report to in the Courtroom?
Please report promptly to the police officer in charge of your case or to the assistant district attorney in the courtroom. They need to know where you are when the case is called before the judge.
What if the Defendent's Attorney or Investigator Asks to Talk to Me?
As a witness you are expected to be an impartial spokesperson for the facts as you know them. So, you are not a witness for one side or the other, but for the truth.
The defendant’s attorney or an investigator for the defendant may want to talk to you about the case and are permitted to do so. Many defendants have a public defender for their attorney, so the request may come from the Public Defender’s Office.
You have the right to decide whether you want to discuss the case with the defendant’s attorney or his/her investigator. If you choose to talk to them, you also have the right to request that a police officer or assistant district attorney be with you during the interview.
Be sure you know who you are talking to when you discuss the case. Always ask for identification form any person who wants to talk to you about the case. If you have any questions, call Victim/Witness Services at (414) 278-4667.
How Can I Find out Where a Criminal Court Case Is Being Held, the Result of the Case, or Other Information?
Call Victim/Witness Services at (414) 278-4667. They will need to know the defendant’s name and the case number if you know it.
This information is also available from the Clerk of Courts Office, Room 117, Safety Building, (414) 278-4538.
Will I Be Paid for My Time Spent as a Witness?
If you appeared on a case, notify the Clerk of Courts Office, Room 117, Safety Building, (414) 278-4538.
Witnesses receive $17 for each day that you appear in court. To receive your fee for your court appearances I court (actual testimony on the witness stand is not required), you must call the Clerk of Courts Office three to five days after the court case has been completed to verify your address.
Please tell the clerk the defendant’s name and the court case number if you know it. The defendant’s name and the court case number appear on the top portion of your subpoena. Once the case if completed and you have applied for witness fees, the Clerk of Courts Office will mail your witness fee check to you.
How Do I Get Property Returned That Has Been Retained as Evidence?
You will be notified by the police when your property is no longer needed as evidence in the case. You may then go and pick it up. Call the police officer who is handling your case, or Victim/Witness Services at 414-278-4667 if you have any questions.
How Can I Be Compensated for Losses I Suffered as a Result of a Crime?
Check with your insurance company. Your insurance policy may provide coverage for personal injury or property loss due to a crime.
If you have medical expenses, or have lost wages as a result of a crime, and these expenses will not be reimbursed by insurance or public funds, you may be eligible to have these losses reimbursed under the State of Wisconsin Victim Compensation Act. You can get application forms and more information from the police officer in charge of the case or by calling Victim/Witness Services at (414) 278-4667.
If you report the crime and the offender is tried, found guilty, and is placed on probation, the court may order the offender to make restitution, that is to pay for the cost of your injuries or damages, through the Probation Department.
Where Can I Go if I Need More Help?
The Victim/Witness Services staff will be glad to help you. If you have other questions or problems please call (414) 278-4667 or stop in Room 615 of the Safety Building, 821 West State Street.
If your contact information changes, notify the Victim Witness Services Division of any change in your address or phone number.
If you receive any threats or other form of intimidation from your cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors, call 911 immediately. Also report the incident to the Victim Witness Services Division.
If you have concerns about your rights or the assistance you receive, contact a Victim Witness Supervisor at (414) 278-4667, and they will be happy to assist you. You can also contact the Department of Justice, Office of Crime Victim Services, P.O. Box 7951, Madison, WI, 53707-7951, (608) 264-9497 or (800) 446-6564.