In 1986, Oregon voters passed Ballot Measure 10, the “Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights”. Among these rights are:
VICTIMS HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED
- Victims may request that their address and phone number not be given to a criminal defendant. This does not restrict the defense attorneys or their investigators from getting this information.
- The victim is protected from contact by the defendant.
- Lawyers and investigators working for the criminal defendants are required to identify themselves clearly and concisely when contacting victims. Victims must be told that they are under no obligation to talk to anyone representing the defendant.
- The victim is allowed to have the City Prosecutor present when being interviewed by an investigator.
- The victim has the right to a court hearing if harassed or intimidated by the criminal defendant.
VICTIMS HAVE RIGHTS AT TRIAL
- The courts are required to consider the victim when re-setting any court hearing, including trials which require the presence of the victim.
- The victim has the right to be informed of changes in court dates and hearings.
- The victim is not to be excluded from the courtroom during trial. This applies to parents of minor children as well as some members of a homicide victim’s immediate family.
VICTIMS HAVE RIGHTS AT SENTENCING
- The right to appear personally or with your own attorney, to express your views concerning the crime, its effect on you, and your feelings about what the sentence ought to be, as well as the need for restitution.
- The right to have restitution imposed upon convicted criminals to compensate for losses incurred as a result of the crime.
Steps in the Prosecution of a Case
- A crime is reported to Law Enforcement.
- An investigation is conducted by Law Enforcement.
- Police Reports are sent to the City Prosecutor’s office and a decision is made regarding charging a crime.
- Arraignment: A court hearing where the defendant is formally charged, presented with a copy of the complaint, and advised of all his/her rights. If the defendant enters a plea of “Guilty” or “No Contest” at this hearing, the court will either proceed with sentencing or set the matter over to another court date to provide the opportunity for the victim to be present. If the defendant enters a plea of “Not Guilty” at this hearing, the court will discuss whether or not the defendant wishes to be represented by an attorney and the matter will be scheduled for a pretrial conference.
- Pre-Trial Conference: This is a settlement hearing. The Judge, defense attorney, and the prosecutor meet to try to come to an agreement that would resolve the case without going to trial.
- Trial: The trial is a hearing where the City must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Sentencing: The sentence that the defendant receives is decided by the judge, and based upon the boundaries set by Oregon Law. You will have the opportunity to express your views about the case at this time, but the Judge is the final authority. One or more of the following sentences may be imposed: county jail time, probation, fine, diversion to a treatment program and/or restitution.
Columbia County Victim Assistance Program (CCVAP)
This program, which is part of the District Attorney’s Office, is available to assist victims of crime. The CCVAP recognizes that crime victims have the right to be informed and treated with dignity and compassion. Upon request, CCVAP may be able to help by providing the following:
- General information regarding the Criminal Justice System.
- Referrals to public and private social service agencies who can provide you with needed services.
- Information about the status of your case throughout the criminal proceedings.
- Help with documenting your financial losses so that the court can order the offender to pay restitution.
- Help in the return of your property held by the police agencies or the court.
- Victim preparation for court hearings and trials, and providing accompaniment to court.
- Assistance with violation of release agreement issues.
- Crime Victim Compensation Program information and applications.
- Public Education Programs
CCVAP DOES NOT provide professional counseling, financial assistance, or give legal advice.