Victims' Services Division
In order to protect the rights of victims of crime, Prosecuting Attorney Mark A. Sorsaia established a Victim
Services Division in 1997. The purpose of the Divison is to inform victims and state witnesses about thier legal rights, and about the procedures that will be used to prosecute the cases that they are involved in. Various forms of assistance is provided to victims of crime through this program. Putnam County's Victim Services Program has has been very successful, and has received state wide recognition. The program is funded by the West Virginia Divison of Criminal Justice Services, VOCA Grants, and through the support and assistance of the Putnam County Commission.
The Victim Services Division will provide the following services, among others, to Victims and State Witnesses of Crime:
COMMUNICATION AND INFORMATION: A common complaint of victims are that they are not informed about the status of a criminal case, or know how it is being handled in the court system. The Victim Liaison Divison has been created to keep you informed. They are to give you notice of possible plea agreements, dates and times of court hearings when ever possible, and to provide you with the date and time of potential trials. They will want to hear from you about how you feel the case should be prosecuted and resolved, so they can pass that information to the prosecuting attorney involved in the case. Please call if you have questions or want to give your input regarding any case you are involved in.
ASSISTANCE: In preparing documents and organizing information that may be needed in the criminal case, such as medical bills or property damage estimates, should the victim seek restitution. A liaison may accompany victims and witnesses to court and consultations with the prosecuting attorneys. They may provide assistance in writing a Victims Impact Statement. This statement is a victim's opportunity to tell the Judge how the crime has affected their lives, and may have an impact of the way a defendant is sentenced. Victim Impact Statement Link
PROVIDE INFORMATION: About support agencies and services, including the West Virginia Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
Other important information for you to know:
A Victim Liaison can NOT give legal advice.
A Victim Liaison can assist you if you have concerns regarding
your safety: Pending trial, most defendants are released on bond or on "their own personal recognizance." Please discuss this situation with a victim liaison should you have concerns or feel threatened. NOTIFY your local law enforcement or the Prosecutors office IMMEDIATELY if you feel threatened, intimidated, or harassed because of your involvement in a criminal case. Under state law, intimidation of a witness can be prosecuted as a crime.
If you are contacted by the defendants lawyer or an investigator for the defendant, it is your right to discuss OR refuse to discuss the case. If you do choose to be interviewed, be careful in your discussions by only telling the truth, as any statement made during the interview that conflicts with your testimony in court could be used to discredit your testimony. It would be unethical for any agent of the state to try to influence you, or to tell you to not talk to a defense lawyer or their investigator. This ethics rule exists because they have the right to collect information that may be helpful in preparing their defense, but you as an individual always have a right to not talk to them if you don't want to, just as you have a right to not talk to agents of the state under the same circumstances.
While you may talk over the case with anyone you choose, USE CAUTION! If you are uncomfortable with any person regarding the case, immediately contact the prosecutor's office. In a free and open society the public should be kept informed of current events. Media interviews in criminal cases can have an affect of creating pretrial publicity that may have an impact on a case such as dealing with issues of a change of venue. If you have any questions about giving a media interview please contact the victim liaison, or the Prosecuting Attorneys Office.
The Victims Liaison Division is always focused on the Crimes of Domestic Violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is please use this web site to gain valuable information. You may use the following links to provide assistance:
Domestic Violence Information