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crime victim rights

 

Ohio revised code

 

Chapter 2930 Victim's Rights

Ohio Constitutional Amendment For Victims’ Rights
A victim’s state constitutional rights are found in Article I, Section 10a of the Constitution of Ohio: “Victims of criminal offenses shall be accorded fairness, dignity, and respect in the criminal justice process, and, as the general assembly shall define and provide by law, shall be accorded rights to reasonable and appropriate notice, information, access, and protection and to a meaningful role in the criminal justice process.”

Appointing a Representative (ORC 2930.02)
A victim may designate a family member or another person to serve as a representative during criminal or juvenile proceedings. A victim repre- sentative also can be selected when the victim is incapacitated, incompetent, or deceased or is a minor. The representative participates in the proceedings on behalf of a victim, has the same rights as a victim, and is the only one to receive all official notices.

Receiving Information About Victims’ Rights and  Local  Services (ORC 2930.04)
Law enforcement officers must provide a copy of this publication promptly after their first contact with the victim to provide the victim with informa- tion about the victim’s rights in the criminal and juvenile justice systems. The law enforcement agency also must give the victim important information about local contacts for medical, counseling, housing, emergency services, and other types of assistance.

Receiving Contact Information About the Criminal Investigation (ORC 2930.04[B])
The victim must receive the investigating officer’s business phone number and the prosecutor’s office address and business phone number as soon as practical after initial contact with the police or sheriff.

Notification When  a Suspect is Arrested or Released Before Trial (ORC 2930.05)
Within a reasonable time after a suspect is arrested or detained, a law enforcement officer must give a victim:

  • The name of person arrested or detained
  • Information on whether the suspect is eligible for pretrial release
  • The law enforcement officer’s phone number
  • Telephone contact information to verify the status of the suspect’s bond and custody

If a suspect has been released from custody and the victim gives the prosecutor an affidavit stating the suspect has committed or threatened to commit a violent act or to intimidate the victim, the victim’s family, or the victim’s representative (or the suspect is having someone else do so), the prosecutor may file a motion asking the court to reconsider the suspect’s bond conditions or to consider arresting or detaining the suspect.

Reasonable Return of Property (ORC 2930.11)
Law enforcement officers shall promptly return any property taken from the victim during the investigation unless:

  1. The physical property, rather than a photograph of it, is needed as evidence
  2. A judge grants the defendant a motion to use the property in his or her defense

Communication With  the Prosecutor

The prosecutor, to the extent practicable, must talk with the crime victim before:

  • Granting a suspect a pretrial diversion
  • Amending or dismissing a charge
  • Negotiating a plea agreement
  • Beginning a trial or hearing

If the juvenile court disposes of a case before a prosecutor’s involvement, the court will notify the victim. ORC 2930.06 (A)
If the prosecutor fails to confer with the victim regarding the above legal actions, the court — upon being notified of the failure — will note on the record the failure to confer and the reason. The failure to confer will not affect the validity of any action. ORC 2930.06 (A)

After legal action against the defendant begins, the prosecutor or prosecutor’s representative will provide the victim, to the extent practicable, the following:

  • Name of defendant
  • Name of offense
  • Case file number
  • Explanation of upcoming procedure
  • Summary of the victim’s rights
  • Procedures if victim is threatened
  • Name and number of a contact for more information about the case
  • Notice of the victim’s right to representation
  • Notice of court proceedings or delays if the victim requests this information

ORC 2930.06(B)


Freedom from Intimidation (ORC 2921.04; 2945.04; 2930.07)
A victim who has been intimidated or threatened should immediately report the incident to a law enforcement officer. The prosecutor may file a motion prohibiting that person from intimidating the victim or a witness or directing the defendant to stay away from and not communicate with the victim or witness. The prosecutor also may ask the court to withhold the victim’s address, place of employment, or similar identifying information.

Notification of Substantial Delay (ORC 2930.08)
If there is a motion or request to substantially delay prosecuting the case, the prosecutor will inform the victim. If the victim objects, the pros- ecutor will inform the court, and the court, to the extent practicable, will consider the objection in ruling on the motion or request.

Presence During the Trial (ORC 2930.09 and 2930.10)
A victim has the right to attend the trial and any related hearings or proceedings (except for grand jury proceedings), unless the court finds the victim’s exclusion is needed to protect the suspect’s right to a fair trial. If the victim requests it, a support person may accompany the victim.
The court must make a reasonable effort to minimize contact between the victim, victim’s family, victim’s representatives, or witnesses for the pros- ecution and the defendant, defendant’s family, or witnesses for the defense before, during, and immediately after court proceedings.

(Note: Ohio Rule of Evidence 615(B)(4), Separation and Exclusion of Witnesses, does not authorize excluding a victim of the offense from the hearing.)
Upon request, the victim will be notified of the results of the case. If charges against the suspect are proven, the prosecutor will provide the follow- ing information:

  • Crimes of which the defendant was convicted
  • Address and business telephone number of the probation office or person preparing a pre- sentence or disposition investigation and victim impact statement
  • Notice and explanation that a victim may make a victim impact statement, which may be made available to the defendant
  • Date, time, and location of the sentencing or dispositional hearing
  • Any sentence imposed, including judicial release or modification after an offender’s successful appeal    ORC 2930.12

Making a Statement at Sentencing About the Impact of the Crime (ORC 2947.051; 2951.03; 2930.12; 2930.13; 2930.14)
In all felony cases, the court shall order the preparation of a victim impact statement. The victim may provide a written or verbal statement and should include the following information:

  • Explanation of any physical, psychological, or emotional harm the victim suffered as a result of the offense
  • Explanation of any property damage or other economic loss the victim suffered as a result of the offense
  • An opinion regarding how much compensation is needed for harm the offender caused because of the offense
  • Information about any previous compensation the victim has applied for or received
  • A recommendation for an appropriate penalty for the offender’s illegal behavior

In all criminal or juvenile cases, the court may order the preparation of a pre-sentence investigation report or pre-disposition investigation report. If the court orders such a report, the victim may make a written or oral statement regarding the impact of the crime.
Before sentence or disposition, the court must permit the victim to make the statement orally.
Any written statement of the victim is confidential and is not a public record, though it can be shared with the offender and the defense attorney. The court must consider the statement, along with other factors it is required to consider, in imposing sentence or determining disposition.

Participating in Criminal Proceedings Without Jeopardizing Employment (ORC 2151.211; 2939.121; 2945.451; 2930.18; 2151.211; 2939.121; 2945.451; 2930.18)
Ohio law prohibits employers from firing employees who miss work to attend grand jury, delinquency, or criminal proceedings that they are subpoenaed to attend. However, an employer is not required to pay an employee for time that the employee didn’t work, unless an employee is subpoenaed because of a crime that happened at work or if the suspect is the employer. In this case, the employer cannot decrease or withhold pay when the employee misses work to obey the subpoena. In addition, the employee cannot be discharged, disciplined, or retaliated against for participating, at the prosecutor’s request, in the preparation of the criminal case against the suspect. An employer can be found in contempt of court for taking such action.

Notification if a Violent Offender Escapes Custody Before Trial or Sentencing (ORC 309.18)
The county prosecutor must notify the victim if a person indicted or charged with a violent offense escapes custody before trial or sentencing.

Receiving Information After Sentencing (ORC 2930.15; 2930.16; 2930.17)
Upon request, the prosecutor must notify the victim of details about the offender’s sentencing, any motions for early release, or modification of the offender’s sentence or an appeal. When the court considers releasing the offender, the victim can make an additional statement about the effects of the crime and share an opinion about whether the suspect should be released.

Receiving Information and Input About Adult Defendants’ Incarceration and Parole Status (ORC 2930.16; 2949.25; 2967.12; 5120.60)
Upon request, the Office of Victim Services in the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) will notify a victim of the following regarding adult offenders who are incarcerated or are under community supervision through the Adult Parole Authority:

  • Parole board hearings
  • End of definite sentence
  • Expiration of stated term
  • Offender’s release and conditions of that release
  • Offender’s death
  • When an offender leaves an institution for court proceedings
  • Escape
  • Pending execution


To request notification about a particular offender, contact: The Office of Victim Services Ohio Department of Rehabilitation  and Correction 770 W. Broad St. Columbus, OH 43222 614-728-1976 or toll-free 888-VICTIM4 (842-8464) www.drc.ohio.gov.

The victim is responsible for notifying the DRC of any change in address or phone number in order to continue receiving notification.

Additional services available through the DRC’s Office of Victim Services include:

  • Presentations regarding victim services and the correction system
  • Support through the execution process for surviving family members
  • Victim awareness programming for offenders
  • Victim/offender dialogue
  • Victim issues while the offender is in custody or on supervised parole
  • Support and information about custody or parole
  • Safety planning
  • Victim conference day (regarding upcoming parole hearings)
  • Petitioning for full board hearings

 

This page created was adapted from The Justice League of Ohio's website.