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The Victim-Witness Assistance Program

The Federal Victim-Witness Assistance Program’s goal is to ensure that victims of federal crimes are treated with fairness and respect for the victims’ dignity and privacy. This program carries out the mandates of the Federal Victim and Witness Protection Act of 1982, the Crime Control Act of 1990, the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the Justice for All Act of 2004, and the 2011 Attorney General’s Guidelines. These victim-witness assistance and protection laws and guidelines apply to all victims and witnesses of federal crimes who have suffered physical, financial, or emotional trauma. In compliance with these mandates, we provide a variety of notification and assistance services to victims of and witnesses to federal crimes.

Complaints alleging that a Department of Justice employee violated or failed to provide rights to a crime victim must be submitted within 60 days of the victim’s knowledge of a violation but not more than one year after the actual violation. Complaint forms are available below or by contacting the Victim-Witness staff.

Case Updates

In general, the Government attempts to identify each victim in a given case, and to provide those victims with the information relevant to the case through the Department of Justice’s Victim Notification System. In cases where, due to the number of victims involved, or for other reasons, such notification is impracticable, the Government may use other methods to communicate with victims, including posting relevant information online.  Click on the links below for more detailed information about specific cases:

United States v. Jonathon William Click

United States v. Brian Robert Sodi

A trial is scheduled before Judge Virginia Hopkins on August 6, 2018, 09:00 AM at Hugo L Black US Courthouse, Birmingham, AL for the case which involves defendant(s) Brian Robert Sodi.

United States v. James Holston

United States v. Lia Kristen Mitchell

United States v. Patrick Charles Bishop

A crime victim has the following rights:

1. The right to be reasonably protected from the accused.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding.

5. The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.

6. The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law.

7. The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay.

8. The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.

These rights are enumerated in a federal law. See 18 U.S.C. § 3771. We will make our best efforts to ensure you are accorded these rights. You can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to these rights.


The Victim-Witness contact information is:


Tonja R. Benninger, Victim-Witness Specialist
1801 4th Avenue North
Birmingham, Alabama 35203
Phone: (205) 244-2093
Fax: (205) 244-2180

Federal Crime Victims’ Rights Information
Federal Fact Witnesses Information

Updated July 8, 2021

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