A Victim-Witness Program within a United States Attorney's Office works predominately with the victims and witnesses of indicted (charged) cases. This office is committed to ensuring that victims and witnesses of federal crimes are afforded their rights, and to help victims find services to assist them in recovering from crime. In that effort, the following information and resources are offered.
If you are a witness for the United States government and have questions regarding the status of the case in which you are involved, you may contact the case agent or the Assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case.
Witnesses who appear on behalf of the United States government are entitled to an attendance fee and reimbursement of certain related travel expenses. Generally, a witness is entitled to a $40.00 appearance fee for each day's attendance and reimbursement of travel by the least expensive method reasonably available. Witnesses should contact the Victim-Witness Unit at (219) 937-5500, for further information regarding travel regulations.
A witness subpoenaed to court may be asked to wait for a period of time before being called to testify. For this reason it is a good idea to bring some reading material or handwork to occupy waiting time.
It is a Federal offense to threaten, intimidate, harass or mislead a witness in a criminal proceeding. If you are a witness and are being threatened, or feel that you are being harassed because of your connection to the case, you should immediately notify the federal law enforcement agency conducting the investigation or the United States Attorney's office. In emergency situations, always contact your local law enforcement (911) first.
United States District Court
Northern District of Indiana
5400 Federal Plaza
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Fort Wayne Division
1300 S. Harrison Street
Fort Wayne, IN
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South Bend Division
204 S. Main Street
South Bend, IN
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YOU WILL BE ASKED TO PRESENT A PHOTO IDENTIFICATION TO ENTER THE COURTHOUSE, AND CELLULAR PHONES AND PAGERS ARE NOT PERMITTED INSIDE.
The Office for Victims of Crime's (OVC) Resource Center provides victim-related information to criminal justice practitioners, researchers, policymakers and crime victims. Individuals can obtain information about available services on a state-by-state basis.
*** “The links here are provided for information only. The Department of Justice does not endorse the organizations or views represented by these sites and takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over, the accuracy, accessibility, copyright or trademark compliance or legality of the material contained on these sites. All disclaimers of Endorsement apply.”
OVC web site
National Organization for Victim Assistance (NOVA)
National Center for Victims of Crime
Indiana Attorney General's Office Victim Advocacy Program
Indiana's Violent Crime Compensation Fund
Federal Trade Commission
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
INDIANA'S VICTIM OF VIOLENT CRIME COMPENSATION FUND
If you are a victim of a violent crime, and you have expenses as a result of the crime which are not otherwise covered by insurance, you may be eligible for assistance from this fund. Generally, you will have180 days from the date the crime occurred to file an application. If you would like further information regarding this fund and how you may apply, you may either contact the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Violent Crime Compensation Division at 800-353-1484, or click on the Internet link (www.in.gov/cji) to access the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute's website, or contact the Victim-Witness Unit at (219) 937-5500.
18 U.S.C. § 3771(a): Victims' Rights
(a) Best efforts to accord rights
Officers and employees of the Department of Justice and other departments and agencies of the United States engaged in the detection, investigation, or prosecution of crime shall make their best efforts to see that victims of crime are accorded the rights described in subsection (b) of this section.
(b) STATUTORY Rights of crime victims
As a victim of a Federal crime, you have the following rights under 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a):
- 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.
United States Attorney's Office Role: Our role as employees of the United States Attorney's Office is to inform you of your rights, explain the Federal criminal justice process and to provide you with notification of events in the pending criminal matter. We cannot give you legal representation and none of our actions on your behalf constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please be advised that the interests of the United States may occasionally diverge from your interests as a victim.
Additional Information: You may at any time seek the advice of a private attorney concerning these rights at your own expense and discretion. This office can not provide legal advice or representation. The Government is not your personal attorney.
(c) No cause of action or defense
This section does not create a cause of action or defense in favor of any person arising out of the failure to accord to a victim the rights enumerated in subsection (b) of this section.
Congress, in the Crime Victim’s Rights Act (“CVRA”) (18 U.S.C. § 3771), has outlined rights that must be afforded to federal crime victims. A list of those rights can be found above. This District (Northern District of Indiana) is fully committed to ensuring that crime victims in cases that we prosecute are afforded each of these rights.
The Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has issued regulations (found at 28 C.F.R. Part 45.10) to implement procedures to receive and investigate complaints alleging the failure of DOJ employees to provide crime victims rights afforded by the CVRA. As required by these regulations, this office has designated a Victim Rights Point of Contact (“VRPOC”) to perform the initial investigations and to review CVRA complaints.
To commence an investigation of any alleged failure to provide CVRA rights to a crime victim by an employee of the District, the crime victim must submit a completed complaint to the NDIN’s Victim Rights Point of Contact (“VRPOC”). The address of this District’s VRPOC is listed on the CVRA complaint form. A copy of the CVRA complaint form can be obtained by: (1) downloading it (see below); (2) picking up a copy from any of this District’s three staffed offices; or (3) through the mail or via fax (upon either a written or oral request).
The completed form (bearing an original signature) must: (1) be submitted within sixty (60) days of the victim’s knowledge of the alleged violation by the DOJ employee, but not more than one year after the actual violation; (2) be signed by the crime victim or an authorized representative of the crime victim; and (3) be sent to this District’s VRPOC at the address indicated on the form.
The crime victim will receive written notification of this Office’s receipt of the complaint. A full description of the steps involved in processing and investigating a CVRA complaint is outlined in the DOJ regulations.