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Victims Guide to the D.C. Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 1991
17 pages
This Victim's Guide to the D.C. (District of Columbia) Criminal Justice System explains the features of case processing in the criminal justice system, services available at the U.S. Attorney's Office and at the D.C. courthouse, victim/witness rights, programs available to victims and witnesses, transportation to the court, building locations, and a case diary.
The features of case processing by the D.C. criminal justice system encompass arrest; "papering" (information about the charged crime and the accused presented by the police to the prosecutor's office); felony presentment/misdemeanor arraignment; preliminary hearing; grand jury; felony arraignment; status hearings; witness conferences; trial; testifying; and sentencing hearing. Services available at the U.S. Attorney's Office include a Victim/Witness Assistance Unit, a cafeteria, witness waiting rooms for meetings with a prosecutor. Services available at the D.C. Courthouse are a public information desk, the pretrial services agency, a child care center, a cafeteria, and witness waiting rooms for use prior to a court appearance. Issues pertinent to victim/witness rights include victim impact statements, victim compensation, return of property, freedom from intimidation, the defense attorney, and witness fees. Programs available to victims and witnesses include the crime victims compensation program, the crime victims assistance program, victim/witness assistance from the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Capitol Police, the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, the National Organization for Victim Assistance, and the Citizens' Complaint Center. The Case Diary provides a format for entering information pertinent to victim/witness matters.