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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Challenges. New Solutions


            Phoenix - U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo announced that several individuals were honored for outstanding service to crime victims in an awards ceremony hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office on April 25, 2013.  These awards were presented in conjunction with the observance of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, April 21-27, 2013.  This year’s theme, “,” focuses on the need to be innovative and flexible in our efforts to assist and serve each and every victim in need of hope and help.

            The recipients of this year’s awards were Navajo Nation Officer Vernon Begay for his courage and bravery; The Colorado River Indian Tribes Multi-Disciplinary Team; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Special Agents William “Cody” Nuckles and Greg Kelly; U.S. Postal Inspector David Birch, and U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim Witness Specialist Mary Williams.

            “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is deeply committed to assisting victims of federal crimes, ensuring they are afforded their rights under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, protecting them from further harm, and helping them reshape their futures,” said U.S. Attorney John S. Leonardo.  “This week is a time to raise awareness about the rights and needs of crime victims, the challenges victims face in the recovery process, and the positive impact of those who provide services and support to victims.”

            The U.S. Attorney’s Office also honored families who lost a loved one to a crime of violence.  Victims recognized during the ceremony included Sergeant Darrell Curly of the Navajo Nation, Mat Stauffer, Jr. of the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation, and Lorena Mae Martin of the Navajo Nation.  

            The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (CVRA), enacted in 2004, grants victims in federal criminal proceedings certain enforceable rights, including the right to be reasonably heard at public court proceedings and to receive full and timely restitution as provided by law.  The District of Arizona has a dedicated Victim Witness Unit that serves federal crime victims across the District’s 15 counties.  Members of this unit notify victims of significant case events through the Department of Justice’s Victim (DOJ) Notification System (VNS) and help victims to understand their rights.  Such notice enables victims to participate in court proceedings and make their voices heard. According to Department of Justice Statistics, in Fiscal Year (FY) 2012, the U.S. Attorneys’ offices provided notice of over 12.2 million case events, including notices regarding criminal charges filed, plea hearings, bond hearings and sentencing hearings. 

            Notification of significant case events leads to increased victim participation in court proceedings and accompanying victims to court provides support and guidance during these proceedings.

            In addition to notification and court accompaniment, the District of Arizona’s Victim Witness Unit provides essential services to victims, such as making referrals for counseling, securing temporary housing, and assisting victims with compensation resources.  These services provide tools victims need to reshape their futures.

            Further information about National Crime Victims’ Rights Week is available at


For more information on the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Arizona, visit

Updated January 7, 2015