For information regarding US v Chilson (Time Share Fraud), click here.
The Victim Witness Division for the Northern District of Texas is comprised of two experienced Victim Witness Coordinators, each of whom provide a variety of services and assistance to both victims and witnesses who find themselves involved in the federal judicial process. You may contact either of our coordinators:
Ms. Shedden covers the following Divisions:
Dallas and Wichita Falls
Ms. Hood covers the following Divisions:
Abilene, Amarillo, Fort Worth, Lubbock and San Angelo
Our goal is to ensure that victims and witnesses of federal crimes are treated fairly, their privacy is respected, and that they are treated with dignity and respect. The United States Attorney's Office Victim-Witness Program addresses the needs of crime victims during the prosecution stage of the federal court process. The program was established to provide resources to victims of crime through a variety of notification and assistance services.
- Provide information about the status of the case;
- Provide referrals for victims to crisis intervention, counseling and other assistance services;
- Provide information on victim compensation to victims of violent crime;
- Provide notification, upon request, to the employer of the victim/witness if cooperation in the prosecution of the crime causes absence from work;
- Provide information about submitting written victim impact statements and seeking restitution, and for certain types of cases provide information about making verbal victim impact statements at the sentencing;
- Accompany victims to court for trial and sentencing;
- Provide logistical information and assistance to witnesses with respect to directions, transportation, parking, witness fees and travel reimbursement; assistance with airline and lodging arrangements is provided for out-of-state witnesses
Definition of a Victim
The Attorney General's Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance define a victim as a person that has suffered direct physical, emotional, or pecuniary harm as a result of the commission of a federal crime. If the victim is a non governmental institution, such as a bank or corporation, this definition includes a representative of that institution. Government agencies are not considered victims for the purpose of victim services but federal government employees who are harmed in the performance of their duties are considered victims. If the victim is deceased, under 18 years of age, incompetent or incapacitated, this definition includes one of the following persons (in order of preference):
- a spouse;
- a legal guardian;
- a parent;
- a child;
- a sibling;
- another family member; or
- another person designated by the court.
A person who is culpable for the crime being investigated or prosecuted is not considered a victim for purposes of victim rights and services.
Definition of a Witness
The Attorney General's Guidelines for Victim and Witness Assistance define a witness as a person who has information or evidence concerning a crime, and provides information regarding his or her knowledge to a law enforcement agency. Where the witness is a minor, the term witness includes an appropriate family member or legal guardian. The term witness does not include a person who is solely a defense witness.
Crime Victim Bill of Rights
Federal crime victims have the following rights, as specified in 42 U.S.C. Section 10606:
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy.
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender.
- The right to be notified of court proceedings.
- The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that testimony by the victim would be materially affected if the victim heard other testimony at trial.
- The right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case.
- The right to restitution.
- The right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment, and release of the offender.
For additional information regarding victim assistance and compensation, please refer to the following links:
Crime Victims’ Right Act Complaint Form
If you have been identified as a crime victim under 18 U.S.C 3771 (e) “ a person directly or proximately harmed as a result of the commission of a Federal offense,” and believe you were denied one or more of your rights afforded by the Crime Victims’ Rights Act of 2004, you may complete the Complaint Form. This form cannot be completed on-line, the form must be printed and completed then mailed or faxed to the designated contact person on the form.
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