Victim Witness Assistance
Victims of crime may experience feelings of confusion, frustration, fear and anger. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana and the Victim/Witness Unit is dedicated to making sure that victims of federal crimes and their family members are treated with compassion, fairness and respect.
On October 30, 2004 the Justice for All Act of 2004 (JFA) was enacted. Title one of the Act establishes the rights of crime victims and is codified at Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771. While many of the victims’ rights enumerated were previously found in Title 42, United States Code, Section 10606, the JFA modified the list of rights for crime victims and added enforcement mechanisms.
Federal Crime Victims’ have rights as set forth in the Justice for All Act of 2004:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused.
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding.
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
- The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement.
- The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims' Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice.
We will make our best efforts to ensure you are accorded the rights described.
You can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to these rights, Section 3771(c)(2).
The U.S. Department of Justice has created the Victim Notification System (VNS). This system notifies victims of crimes of the various court proceedings held in each case. Through VNS there is now the Victim Internet System (VIS) where victims may now go on the internet with their PIN number and access the following information regarding the case status. Victims of federal crimes will be notified of the following court proceedings.
Once a case reaches the prosecution stage of the criminal justice process, all victims will be provided notification concerning the status of the case. Unless the victim specifically requests not to be notified, the following notifications will be made.
- the arrest of a suspected offender;
- the nature of the charges against a suspected offender;
- the scheduling of each court proceeding that you are either required or entitled to attend;
- the pre-trial release on bail or detention status of a suspected offender;
- the acceptance of a plea of guilty or nolo contendere or the rendering of a verdict after trial;
- the sentence imposed on an offender; and
- the notice of appeal.
CRIME VICTIMS’ COMPENSATION
Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement
Crime Victims Reparations Program
• Applications can be obtained from:
Any Louisiana Sheriff’s Office - Each Parish Sheriff’s Office has a designated contact person in his office who can assist you. You can also contact this office for assestance.
Completed applications are to be returned to the Sheriff’s Office in the Parish where the crime occurred.
If in doubt, call the Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement, Crime Victim’s Reparations Board at 1-866-6VICTIM or (225) 925-4437.
• Application Requirements:
The crime must have occurred in Louisiana or in a state or country with no compensation program.
You must have reported the crime to law enforcement officials within 72 hours unless there was a valid reason for later reporting.
You must file the application within one year from the date of the crime unless there was good cause for filing late.
You must provide the required information on the application.
Your losses must not be reimbursable from any other source such as insurance, sick or annual leave, social security, Medicare, Medicaid, civil suit or restitution. If you have access to any of these or other resources, you must use those first.
You must cooperate with the reasonable requests of law enforcement officials.
• Reimbursable Expenses:
As a result of injury:
- for personal injury; medical, hospital, dental, nursing, physical therapy, psychiatric care, or mental health counseling;
- actual loss of past earnings because of a disability resulting from the personal injury;
- care of children enabling a victim or the spouse, but not both, to engage in gainful employment.
As a consequence of death:
- funeral, burial or cremation expenses;
- loss of support to one or more dependents not otherwise compensated for personal injury loss;
- care of children enabling the surviving spouse or legal guardian of deceased victim’s children to engage in lawful employment, where that expense is not otherwise compensated for personal injury loss;
- counseling or therapy for any surviving family member of the victim or co-habitor of such victim.
• From catastrophic loss of your home by arson.
• Expenses of the victim associated with the collection and securing of crime scene evidence.
GENERAL VICTIM RESOURCES
National Resource Numbers
• National Organization for Victim Assistance
• National Center for Victims of Crime
• Childhelp USA National Hotline
• Mother’s Against Drunk Driving
• National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
• National Domestic Violence Hotline
• National Fraud Information Hotline
• National Resource Center on Child Abuse & Neglect
• National Resource Center on Child Sexual Assault
• Parents of Murdered Children
• Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network
Federal Resource Numbers
• U.S. Attorney’s Office - Eastern District of Louisiana
• U.S. Attorney’s Office - Middle District of Louisiana
• U.S. Attorney’s Office - Western District of Louisiana
• Federal Bureau of Investigation - Victim/Witness Specialist
State and Local Resource Numbers
• Children’s Bureau
• Crescent House Shelter (non emergency)
• Family Services of Greater New Orleans
• Greater New Orleans Hotline
• Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (LCADV)
• Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program
504-837-5400 or 1-800-738-9000
• Metropolitan Women’s and Children Center
• Project S.A.V.E. (Legal Services for Victims of Domestic Violence)
• Safe Harbor Battered Women’s Program
• Sara Center (Sexual Assault Recovery Assistance)
• St. Bernard Battered Women’s Program
• Statewide Domestic violence Crisis Line
Victim Service Links
Federal Trade Commission – Identity Theft
FBI’s Crimes Against Children Program - www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/crimesmain.htm
National Association of Crime Victims Compensation Boards - www.nacvcb.org
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children - www.missingkids.com
National Center for Victims of Crime - www.ncvc.org/
National Organization for Victim Assistance - www.trynova.org
OVC Online Directory of Crime Victim Services - ovc.ncjrs.gov/findvictimservices
Office of Violence Against Women - www.usdoj.gov/ovw/
GENERAL WITNESS INFORMATION
If you have been notified that your are required to appear as a witness for the Government in a case being handled by the Eastern District of Louisiana and you will be traveling from outside of our local area, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit at 1-866-896-2579 regarding you travel and lodging arrangements. You should not make travel arrangements yourself.
You will be reimbursed for the following expenses:
Meals & Incidentals: The allowance for meals & incidental expenses is $71.00 for each full day and $35.50 for each travel day.
Taxi/Shuttle: You will be reimbursed for transportation to/from the airport. A receipt is needed for this reimbursement. If you drive to the airport in your hometown, we will reimburse you $0.575 cents per mile. We will pay airport parking with a receipt. Rental cars are not reimbursable.
Witness Fee: $40.00 each day we require you to be here, including required travel days.
After you have testified, you will need to fill out a voucher available from the Victim/ Witness Unit. Within 4-6 weeks of receiving your signed voucher, the U.S. Marshal’s office will mail you a check to cover your reimbursable costs and witness fees.
If you have a medical or family condition that requires special consideration, please contact the Victim/Witness Unit or Assistant U.S. Attorney who subpoenaed you immediately.
You will be paid a $40.00 witness fee for each day you are required to come to court or our office for a pre-trial conference. Mileage is reimbursed at $0.575 cents per mile; parking will be reimbursed if you furnish a receipt. We do not pay parking tickets. You must sign a witness voucher, available from the Victim/Witness Unit. You will receive your check within 4-6 weeks.