Victim Rights Unit
The Victim Rights unit of the St. Joseph County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, exists to assist crime victims. We can answer questions, direct people to appropriate services, gather loss information to submit to the court, and many other things.
The Victim Rights staff, Linda Baker and Nancy Franovich, are required to implement the Crime Victims Rights Act. This law directs that crime victims be notified of their constitutional rights that include:
- Your right to notice of the defendant's criminal charge.
- Your right to request notice of the court schedule of this case.
- Your right to consult with the Prosecutor about plea bargains, etc.
- Your right to ask that the defendant's bail be revoked if you are threatened by the defendant.
- Your right to participate in the sentencing either in person or by written statement.
- Your right to be notified if the defendant’s appeal of the conviction is granted.
We are also available to help determine any loss you may have had as a result of the crime. We can then submit a request for restitution to the court. At sentencing, when restitution is ordered, it becomes part of the court order and is enforceable by either the court or the county’s Collections Department. We will submit any documented loss that results from a crime to the court.
An additional source to pay your medical expenses is the Crime Victims Compensation program. Medical expenses resulting from a crime and that are not covered by insurance can be paid through this fund, up to $25,000.00 for each crime. Call our office for an application for assistance.
Who Pays for All of These Services?
Both the Victim Rights office and the Crime Victims Compensation program are funded entirely by criminal assessments and federal fines collected by federal court. Every defendant convicted of a crime listed in the Crime Victims Rights Act in Michigan pays a criminal assessment that ranges from $75.00 to $130.00 per case, and juvenile defendants are assessed $25.00 per case. This money funds the services mentioned above as well as the Michigan Victim Assistance Academy, the Michigan Crime Victim Notification Network, other training, and an on-line grant application program.