U.S. ATTORNEY’S VICTIM AND WITNESS SERVICES
● Provide information about the status of the case;
● Provide referrals for victims to crisis intervention, counseling and other assistance services;
● Provide information on victim compensation to victims of violent crime;
● Provide notification, upon request, to the employer of the victim/witness if cooperation in the prosecution of the crime causes absence from work;
● Provide information about submitting written victim impact statements and seeking restitution, and provide information about making verbal victim impact statements at the sentencing;
● Accompany victims to court for trial and sentencing;
● Register victims with the Federal Bureau of Prisons Victim/Witness Notification Program; and,
● Provide logistical information and assistance to witnesses with respect to directions, transportation, parking, witness fees and travel reimbursement; assistance with airline and lodging arrangements is provided for out-of-state witnesses;
● Upon the request of a victim or witness, assistance will be provided in notifying his or her employer if cooperation in the prosecution of the crime causes an absence from work.
In addition to these services, there are a variety of community based programs are available to respond to the immediate needs of crime victims and to assist victims with the emotional impacts of crime. These programs offer a range of services to crime victims including: crisis intervention and 24-hour crisis help lines; individual and group counseling; grief support; emergency shelter and transitional assistance; and legal advocacy. The services are offered free of charge or on a sliding scale fee basis. The types of programs available include domestic violence shelters and assistance programs, homicide bereavement programs, child witness to violence programs, rape crisis centers, and programs for non-English speaking victims. Federal crime victims are eligible for assistance through these programs. The U.S. Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Specialist can assist crime victims locate victim service providers in your community.
Witness Fees and Travel Reimbursement
Witnesses receive written travel and reimbursement instructions from the U.S. Attorney's Office at the time a subpoena is issued or a witness is instructed by the Assistant U.S. Attorney to appear. If you are a witness and you did not receive the written travel instructions, call the U.S. Attorney's Office to request this information prior to making any travel arrangements. When contacting the U.S. Attorney's Office, ask to speak to the travel coordinator for the Assistant U.S. Attorney who requested your testimony. The name and contact information of the Assistant U.S. Attorney is located on the bottom right side of the subpoena.
A fact witness is a person whose testimony consists of the recitation of facts or events. Fact witnesses are entitled to a witness fee of $40.00 a day. Federal employees are not entitled to the $40.00 witness fee. Witnesses are not reimbursed for lost wages or lost business profits due to their absence from work. Reimbursement for travel expenses is limited to the government rates established by the U.S. Government Services Administration. Witnesses should request a Fact Witness Reimbursement Form before leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Witnesses are required to travel by public transportation or by the most economical means of travel. Receipts are required for all parking expenses, regardless of the amount. Travel by privately owned vehicles is reimbursed at the government rate for mileage. Gasoline expenses are not reimbursed in addition to mileage. Travel by taxicab is not permitted. Only out of state witnesses who travel to and from the airport and between the hotel and the federal court house may travel by taxicab.
A flat fee for meals and incidental expenses (M&IE) is provided to out of state witnesses required to remain overnight for consecutive days of testimony. One-half of the M&IE fee is provided for the incoming and outgoing travel days, and the full M&IE amount is provided for each day in between. In state witnesses do not receive an allowance for meals or incidental expenses.
Witnesses are not reimbursed on the day they appear in court. A reimbursement check will be mailed to the witness. Allow 5 weeks for delivery of the check from the date the necessary paperwork is received in the U.S. Attorney's Office.
If Victims or Witnesses Are Threatened or Harassed
If you are a victim or witness in a federal case and you are threatened or harassed because of your cooperation in the case, there are remedies available. If a threat is made to you, it should be reported to the appropriate law enforcement officials. If the situation is immediate, call 911 for assistance. You should report threats or harassment to the federal investigating agent (or agency) with whom you have had prior contact. The federal investigative agent will evaluate the situation and discuss available protective measures with you. There are penalties for harassment and other threats. It is important to report incidences of harassment or threats as soon as possible.