Jefferson County, Iowa
Victim Witness Assistance
Keep in Touch
If you change address or phone number, contact the Sheriff or Police Department investigating your case. If the county Attorney filed a charge, notify that office. If you have been subpoenaed, call the County Attorney’s Office before you go to Court to make sure you don’t make an unnecessary trip. Court cases are often rescheduled for a variety of reasons.
On rare occasions, witnesses are threatened or harassed. Tampering with witnesses and harassment are crimes. If this happens, contact the appropriate law enforcement department and your County Attorney.
Pre-Trial Release of Defendant
Almost all Defendants are released prior to trial. To ensure the safety of others and the appearance of the Defendant at trial, release is subject to conditions imposed by the court. The conditions may include posting money (bail), hours, travel restrictions, and others. Your County Attorney may ask the court to amend the conditions if necessary.
Knowingly making false statement of material fact of falsely denying knowledge of a material fact is perjury, a felony. If you are aware of possible perjury, contact the appropriate enforcement agency or your County Attorney’s Office immediately.
Unless you receive a subpoena, you need not talk to a defense attorney, the Defendant, or anyone else connected with the defense. It’s all right to ask for identification before you agree to talk to anyone. If the defense wants your statement, they can subpoena you for a deposition (a formal sworn statement) at which the County Attorney will be present. If the Defendant requires a written statement, call your County Attorney.
Witnesses must appear and truthfully testify under oath when subpoenaed. A subpoena indicates where you should be and when. The prosecutor may ask you to report to the office of the County Attorney first. Bring your subpoena along with you so that you may claim your witness and mileage fees after you testify.
If you have any questions about your testimony, call your County Attorney.
When you receive a subpoena, check with your employer to find out what the company policy is regarding your appearances in Court both before trial and at trial. Policies vary widely and can depend on different circumstances. If you would like, your prosecutor handling the case can call your employer or provide a letter, which will explain the need for your appearance.
Witnesses are entitled to $10 for each full day attendance and $5 for each attendance less than full day, plus an allowance for each mile you traveled. In most counties, take your subpoena to the Clerk of Court to claim your fees. If otherwise, your County Attorney will help you.
There are a variety of special services provided for persons who are victims or witnesses. They include such varied things as reparations, day care, parking, counseling,and others. You may contact your local prosecutor, your local Department of Human Services or a local low enforcement agency if you need assistance in identifying or contacting providers of these service. Services vary greatly from county to county.
Property Loss and Recovery
If you have had property stolen, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency and your insurance company immediately. If it is recovered it may be held for evidence. If you have a real need for your property, call the Department that has your property or the County Attorney. In some cases, you may have to file a claim with the Clerk of Court to get your property back. Usually evidence is returned after the completion of sentencing.
The Court may order convicted Defendants to pay restitution to victims. In case of violent crime, you may also file a claim for reparations with the State. Ask your prosecutor about the program.
Defense is a defendant or accused person, the Defendant’s attorney or their representative, such as an investigator.
An information or indictment is a formal accusation charging a person with a serious crime.
Minutes of Evidence are a short summary of your expected testimony at a trial.
The Prosecutor is your local County Attorney or assistant who prosecutes criminal cases in the name of the State of Iowa in the District Court of your county. The prosecutor determines what charges if any should be filed.
Reparation is payment from a State program to reimburse innocent victims for medical expenses, lost income and other losses resulting from violent crimes.
Restitution is a payment by a Defendant to the victim ordered by the Court as part of Defendant’s sentence and based on Defendant ability to pay.
Sentencing is the responsibility of the Judge. The Judge decides what penalties to inflict on a guilty defendant. A prosecutor may only recommend penalties to the Judge.
A Subpoena is an official Court Order commanding your appearance. It tells you where and when you must be present. Failure to do so can result in being found in contempt of Court and being liable for money damages. If you can’t appear as directed, call your County Attorney immediately.
Victim Witness Program
Traditionally, the Criminal Justice System in this Country has been offender-oriented, primarily concerned with the apprehension, prosecution, punishment and rehabilitation of wrongdoers. However, the focus has begun to shift in the last decade, especially in the last few years, towards victims and their rights.
This handbook has been developed to provide basic information about the long, complex and sometimes confusing legal process. The Victim Witness Program is available to answer questions about the general process or the particular criminal case in which you are involved. Please feel free to contact the program at (641) 472-9201 from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday if you have questions