Mission: To respond to the needs and uphold the rights of victims and witnesses.
The Victim-Witness Unit responds to the needs and upholds the rights of victims and witnesses by implementing and carrying out the requirements of Federal Law and Department of Justice regulations. The United States Attorney's Office for the District of Oregon is committed to ensuring that federal crime victims are afforded all rights to which they are entitled by law.
Being the victim of, or witness to, a crime can be a difficult and even devastating experience. Victims and witnesses may feel frustrated, confused or overwhelmed trying to negotiate the unfamiliar ways of the justice system alone. The Victim-Witness Unit exists to help.
The Victim-Witness Unit is designed to provide federal crime victims and witnesses with information, case status, education, services and support during federal prosecution. Our office is committed to ensuring that victims and witnesses of crime are treated fairly throughout their contact with the federal criminal justice system.
As a crime victim, you have the following rights under 18 United States Code § 3771:
- 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.
Beyond the core rights the Victim Witness Staff provides support, services, and information to victims and witnesses of crime:
- Provide information on what to expect after a crime has been committed
- Refer to local resources that offer assistance in coping with the effects of a crime.
- Provide information on what to expect from the justice system, how it works, and the role of the victim or witness
- Accompany the victim or witness to court
- Support in getting to court to include travel assistance if coming from out of town
- Intervene, upon request and case by case, with employers, creditors, and other service agencies.
- Help to apply for Crime Victims' Compensation, if eligible.
- Help in preparation of Victim Impact Statements for the sentencing judge.
- Assist with the return of property being held as evidence.
- Assist in accessing the Victim Notification System (VNS). If a person is identified as a victim in a federal case, they will have access to the national automated case status information system called VNS. This system provides access to ongoing case status updates from the arrest of an offender throughout their prison sentence. Access to VNS is limited to victims who have received a confidential PIN from a federal law enforcement agency or the United States Attorney's Office.
Note: The Victim-Witness Unit cannot represent anyone personally, or provide legal advice or direct compensation. However, it will advocate on the behalf of a victim or witness as far as the law allows.
If you have been a victim of a federal crime or have been called as a witness in a criminal federal proceeding, and/or if you have questions about your appearance or the status of the criminal case, please contact the Victim-Witness Coordinator:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office Victim-Witness Unit is committed to our mission to respond to the needs and uphold the rights of victims and witnesses. If you have any reason to believe your rights have not been honored, please contact the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman.