Victim Witness Services
The Victim Witness Services Unit for the United States Attorneys Office, District of Maine, provides services, support and education to victims and witnesses of federal crimes. Staff is committed to ensuring that victims and witnesses are treated with fairness and respect and receive information and assistance for relevant services. Some of these services include notification of significant court events, referral to appropriate support services, reasonable protection from the accused, help determining and requesting restitution and the return of property and information concerning the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment and release of the offender. Witnesses, upon request, will be notified of significant court events, convictions and sentences. Witnesses are offered support through trial, preparation of travel arrangements and special services as appropriate.
ON THIS PAGE:
- Who We Are
- What We Do
- Victim Rights
- Federal Cases Involving Juvenile Suspects
- Restitution and Victim Compensation
- Questions and Answers About Restitution
- If a witness in a federal matter is threatened or harassed
Victim Witness Program Brochures
- Information and Assistance for Federal Crime Victims and Witnesses*
- Victim Impact Statements: Know Your Rights
* These brochures are available in Spanish, French, Khmer, Vietnamese, Arabic, Portuguese, Somali and Mandarin. If you wish to receive a brochure, contact Heather Putnam at firstname.lastname@example.org or (207) 780-3257.
* Estos folletos están disponibles en español. Si desea recibir un folleto, comuníquese con Heather Putnam en email@example.com o al (207) 780-3257.
* Ces brochures sont disponibles en français. Si vous souhaitez recevoir une brochure, contactez Heather Putnam à firstname.lastname@example.org ou (207) 780-3257.
* ខិត្តប័ណ្ណទាំងនេះមានជាភាសាខ្មែរ។ ប្រសិនបើអ្នកមានបំណងចង់ទទួលបានខិត្តប័ណ្ណ សូមទាក់ទង Heather Putnam តាមរយៈ email@example.com ឬ (207) 780-3257។
* Các tài liệu này có sẵn bằng tiếng Việt. Nếu bạn muốn nhận tài liệu quảng cáo, hãy liên hệ với Heather Putnam tại firstname.lastname@example.org hoặc (207) 780-3257.
* هذه الكتيبات متوفرة باللغة العربية. إذا كنت ترغب في تلقي كتيب، فاتصل بهيذر بوتنام على email@example.com, (207) 780-3257.
* Estas brochuras estão disponíveis em português. Se você deseja receber uma brochura, entre em contato com Heather Putnam pelo e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org ou (207) 780-3257.
* Buug-yarahan waxa lagu heli karaa Soomaali. Haddii aad rabto inaad hesho buug yar, kala xidhiidh Heather Putnam at email@example.com ama (207) 780-3257.
* 這份小冊子有普通話版本。如果您希望收到這份小冊子， 可聯繫 Heather Putnam (西瑟 普南), 請發送電子郵件至 firstname.lastname@example.org 或撥打電話號碼: (207) 780-3257。
* 这份小册子有普通话版本。如果您希望收到这份小册子， 可联系 Heather Putnam (西瑟 普南), 请发送电子邮件至 email@example.com 或拨打电话号码: (207) 780-3257。
In order to open the above brochures you must have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® installed on your computer.
You may obtain a free copy of Acrobat® Reader® through http://www.adobe.com.
Who We Are
United States Attorney's Office (Portland)
Fax: (207) 780-3304
United States Attorney's Office (Bangor)
Fax: (207) 945-0319
What We Do
The staff of the Victim Witness Services Unit provides support, services and information to victims and witnesses of crime.
Through this unit, victims of crime will receive:
- Information and support in obtaining necessary services
- Notice of upcoming court hearings and the outcome of those hearings
- Notice of bail hearings and the opportunity to present concerns to the court
- Assistance with travel and hotel arrangements, if necessary, when under subpoena
- The opportunity to confer with an attorney for the government as is appropriate
- Information concerning protection from the accused
- An invitation and assistance to submit victim impact information prior to sentencing
- Assistance determining and requesting restitution
- Information concerning the Victim Compensation Fund
- Support throughout any court proceedings
- Information concerning the conviction, sentence and release date of the defendant
Some of the services are accomplished by mail, phone or e-mail. Some services must be done in person. Many notifications are received through the Victim Notification System (VNS). This automated phone system provides information concerning historical and scheduled court events, sentencing information, federal facility designation and potential release dates about a particular defendant. Victims of federal crime can receive this information by mail, through the automated phone system (1-866-DOJ-4YOU), email, fax or phone or on the web at www.notify.usdoj.gov.
Disabilities, Challenges and Accessibility:
The victim witness staff makes every effort to accommodate any special needs that victims or witnesses may have to comfortably participate in the prosecution of a case. This includes the use of interpreters, issues of physical accessibility and transportation. It is important that the staff be made aware of any special needs as soon as possible to ensure the most comfortable accommodation possible.
The rights of victims of federal crime are defined in the Crime Victims Rights Act.
If you are a victim and believe you have not been accorded your rights under the Crime Victims Rights Act by this office, you may file an administrative complaint, as provided under 28 CFR §45.10. You may download an administrative complaint form, or you may request it be mailed or faxed to you. The completed form should be mailed to:
United States Attorney's Office
Attn: Todd Lowell, Assistant U.S. Attorney
100 Middle Street, 6th Floor East
Portland, ME 04104
For more information, please visit the Office of the Victims' Rights Ombudsman.
NOTE: In order to open the administrative complaint form mentioned above you must have Adobe® Acrobat® Reader® installed on your computer. You may obtain a free copy of Acrobat® Reader® through http://www.adobe.com.
Federal Cases Involving Juvenile Suspects
Federal law curtails the type of information the federal government may disclose to a victim of a juvenile offense regarding juvenile proceedings. Therefore, you may not be able to receive updates about the progress of this matter in the same manner that you would if an adult was being prosecuted. However, at the request of the victim, we can provide information of the final disposition (e.g., the adjudication and sentence) after the conclusion of any proceeding against a juvenile. Therefore, to be notified of any such final disposition, this office must receive a written request.
Although our office is somewhat limited when disclosing information concerning a juvenile proceeding, the victim is NOT limited in submitting information to us. The victim has the right to submit any information about how this crime affected him/her and his/her family and to provide views about appropriate disposition of the matter. If you are a victim of a juvenile federal offense, and you wish to do so, please send your comments to the Victim Witness Services Unit. Your comments will be forwarded to the appropriate party.
Restitution and Victim Compensation
Under federal law, restitution is mandatory for many types of crimes. It is important for those victims who may be entitled to restitution to keep a record of their losses, medical expenses, property damage and counseling expenses, with receipts when possible. This information will be needed by the probation department if someone is convicted and ordered to pay restitution. Restitution collection is enforced by the Financial Litigation Unit. If you have questions about restitution payments and disbursements, please call the financial litigation unit at (207) 945-0373. You will need the name of the defendant. Restitution ordered in criminal cases does not cover pain and suffering. As a practical matter, restitution collection is limited by the resources of the defendant. If you become aware of any change in the economic circumstances of the defendant, please call our Financial Litigation Unit. The liability to pay restitution issued under the Mandatory Victim Restitution Act lasts 20 years plus any period of incarceration or the death of the defendant.
Some or all of your loss may consist of property or monies that is recovered by the investigating agency. These will be returned to you as quickly as is possible without jeopardizing the case. Often, one must wait until appeals are exhausted before evidence is returned.
Questions and Answers About Restitution
Restitution may be ordered by the court at the time of sentencing. Restitution must be ordered by the court in certain types of crimes:
- A crime of violence
- A crime against property, under United States Title 18, including fraud and deceit
- A crime of sexual abuse
- A crime of sexual exploitation or other abuses against children
- A crime of domestic violence
- A crime of telemarketing fraud
If restitution is ordered, the defendant will send payments to the Clerk of Courts who will keep track of the balance owed and disburse money. Usually, individual victims of crime are paid before insurance companies, federal agencies and state governments. If your insurance company covered any or all of your loss please record the name of the insurance company, address, contact person and claim number for our office.
Sometimes restitution can be agreed to in a plea agreement between the defendant and the government. A judge can order restitution when he or she finds that it is appropriate.
The Inmate Financial Responsibility Program (IFRP) allows prisoners to work in the prison industry and earn wages-very low wages. The IFRP requires that 50% of these wages are applied to restitution and fines. This is a voluntary program. An inmate cannot be forced to participate. The money is forwarded to the Clerk of Courts who will then make disbursements to victims.
No. The United States Attorney's Office will enforce the restitution imposed by the judgment in a criminal case as attorneys for the United States of America. While this enforcement benefits you as a victim of a crime, neither the United States Attorney's Office nor the Department of Justice, or any employee thereof, is your attorney. The United States Attorney's Office will not seek your consent to any action it may undertake to pursue enforcement of the restitution order.
The Financial Litigation Unit of the United States Attorney's Office will continue to attempt to collect the restitution for a period of 20 years from the time of sentence plus any incarceration time. It is your responsibility to make sure our office and the Clerk of Courts have updated contact information for you. A victim named in a restitution order may obtain an Abstract of Judgment from the Clerk of the United States District Court and record or register the Abstract in accordance with state law to obtain a lien against the property of the defendant in the same manner and to the same extent and under the same conditions as a judgment of a court of general jurisdiction of the state in which the loss was incurred. The United States Attorney's Office cannot consult with you regarding your individual rights to pursue civil litigation against a defendant. You may wish to consult with a private attorney to obtain information about your ability to proceed against a defendant to recover losses or damages you sustained as a result of this crime.
If you are the victim or family member of a victim of a violent crime and suffered physical or mental harm, you may be eligible for funds through the Victim Compensation Fund. This fund provides reimbursement for medical, counseling, dental and funeral expenses, lost wages and lost support in eligible cases. In Maine, this fund is administered through the Maine Attorney General’s Office. Each state, including Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Guam and the Marianna Islands have victim compensation programs. Each program is a little bit different and compensates differently. If you were a victim or a family member of a victim of a violent crime that occurred in another state, you can learn more about that program through the National Association of Crime Victim Compensation Boards. If you were a victim of a violent crime in another country, you can learn more about international programs at the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime web site.
If a witness in a federal matter is threatened or harassed
If anyone threatens you or you feel that you are being harassed because of your cooperation with a case, there are remedies available. Your safety is paramount. If something happens that places you in fear, immediately call your local law enforcement. Then contact the investigating agent or the Victim-Witness Assistance staff. They are available to discuss additional protective measures with you such as temporary restraining orders and re-location. In addition, there are penalties for harassment and other threats. Therefore, for your safety, it is important that you report incidences of harassment and/or threats as soon as possible.