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Victim and Witness Information

Victim Assistance

Being a victim of a crime is often a stressful experience. To make your feel more comfortable with the criminal justice procedures that follow your report of a crime, the Victim Advocate is in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office to provide the following services:

  • Information and assistance in applying for Michigan Crime Victim Compensation.
  • Information about emergency services such as food, clothing, and a place to live.
  • Information about the Courts, their procedures and case progress.
  • A person to accompany you to court when you ask for someone.
  • An opportunity for you to express to the Judge your feelings about the sentence to be imposed.
  • Arrangements for the return of personal property which was recovered by the police or taken as evidence of the crime.
  • Information and assistance in seeking Court-ordered restitution for losses you suffered because of crime.

Your Rights as Victim

Constitutional Rights:

  • The right to be treated with fairness and respect for your dignity and privacy throughout the criminal justice process.
  • The right to timely disposition of the case following arrest of the accused.
  • The right to attend that trial and all other court proceedings the accused has the right to attend.
  • The right to confer with the Prosecuting Attorney.
  • The right to make a statement to the court and sentencing.
  • The right to restitution.
  • The right to information about the conviction, sentence, imprisonment, and release of the accused.

Crime Victims' Rights of 1985

  • To be notified by the Police Agency of emergency and medical services available to you because you are a crime victim.
  • To be notified of the availability of victim’s compensation benefits, the address of the Crime Victim’s Compensation Board and whether you are eligible for such benefits.
  • To be notified of the telephone number of the police department to contact to determine if the defendant has been released from custody.
  • To be notified of the address and phone number in the Prosecuting Attorney’s office you may contact to obtain information about victim rights.
  • To receive an explanation of court procedures.
  • To receive an explanation of procedures to follow if you are threatened or intimidated by the defendant. (if this should happen, call the police immediately).

Your Rights as a Victim During Prosecution

  • To be present during the entire trial unless you are to be called as a witness.
  • To be free from threats or acts of discharge or discipline by your employer because you are subpoenaed or requested by the Prosecuting Attorney in order to give your views about the disposition of this crime.
  • To receive the name of the person to contact within the Prosecuting Attorney’s office for information about your case; the people in Wexford County are:

Victim Advocate
Prosecuting Attorney’s Office
437 E. Division Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231)779-9505

Additional Rights Provided Upon Your Request

  • To receive notice of any scheduled court proceedings and any changes in that schedule.
  • To confer with the Prosecuting Attorney prior to the selection of the jury and prior to the trial.
  • To receive notice if the defendant escapes custody.
  • To receive written notice of the defendant’s conviction with the specifications of the crimes for which the defendant was convicted and the sentence imposed.
  • To receive the address and telephone number of the probation department which is to prepare the pre-sentence report.
  • To make a written or an oral victim statement in court before the Judge at the time of sentencing.
  • To be notified of the time, date, and place of sentencing. 

*****To take advantage of these rights, you MUST notify the Victim Advocate by completing and mailing the REQUESTED RIGHTS form that has been sent to you.  Please advise the Victim Advocate if you change your address or telephone number. ******

Your Rights After Sentencing (THESE RIGHTS ARE ALSO PROVIDED ONLY UPON YOUR REQUEST)

  • To be notified of the location of the jail or prison where the defendant is to be confined.
  • To receive, within 30 days of your request, notice of the earliest release date of the defendant from jail or prison.  
  • To be notified of a transfer or pending transfer of the defendant to a minimum security facility and the address of that facility.
  • To be notified of the release or pending release of the defendant to a community residential program, extended furlough program, or any transfer to community stature.
  • To be notified of a reduction of the defendant’s sentence as a result of the prison overcrowding Emergency Powers Act.
  • To be promptly notified of the escape of the defendant.
  • To address or submit a written statement to the parole board or to a member of any panel having authority over a defendant’s release on parole.
  • To be notified within 14 days of the decision of a parole review.
  • To be notified within 90 days before the defendant’s release from prison, if practical.
  • To be notified of any hearing regarding a reprieve, commutation of sentence or pardon by the Governor.

*****TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THESE RIGHTS, YOU MUST NOTIFY THE SHERIFF (if the defendant was jailed) OR THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (if the defendant was sent to prison) THAT YOU WANT TO BE NOTIFIED.  YOU MUST ALSO KEEP THE SHERIFF OR THE MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS INFORMED OF YOU CURRENT ADDRESS. *****

Wexford County Sheriff Department
820 Carmel Street
Cadillac, MI 49601

Michigan Department of Corrections
P.O. Box 30003
Steven T. Mason Building
Lansing, MI 488909

Tips for Testifying

*Testify about the facts, not your opinions or conclusions.  Unless you are specifically asked for your opinion or conclusions about a scene or events, or behavior---keep your testimony confined to the things you have observed, heard, or other personal knowledge.

*Allow the lawyers and the Judges to resolve any objections.  During any objections made by lawyers to the questions or answers----be quiet and allow the Judge to decide, to “rule” on the objection.  The Judge will tell you when you can answer a question after any objection.  Sometimes the lawyers will approach the Judge’s bench and discuss things with the Judge---this is called a “sidebar” and it cannot be heard by the jury.  Once a ruling has been made, if you have forgotten the question, ask the lawyer to repeat the question.

*Ask for clarification. If you do not understand the question, or if you do not hear the question—say so and ask the lawyer to repeat it or restate it.

*Answer all questions to the point.  If you can answer a question with a simple yes or no, do so.  Answer only the questions asked.  Do not volunteer more information. 

*On cross examination. Do not let the defense attorney upset you.  It may seem at times that he/she is trying to pin you down, but he/she has the right to test how many facts you know and remember. 

*Tell what you know truthfully. When asked a question do not look at the Judge or lawyers to decide whether you should answer.  Just answer the questions unless there is an objection by a lawyer.  Tell the truth about what you know and never make something up because you are nervous or otherwise anxious about testifying.

*Follow the directions of the Judge.  If you are told to remain available to testify, you must do so.  If you are excused from the witness stand, you may step down and leave.  If you are given any other direction by the Judge, you must follow that direction.

*Remember that the trial is a public proceeding.  The jurors, other witnesses, the lawyers, and the public will be in public places in and around the courthouse when you are testifying.  Conduct yourself as if you were in the courtroom when you in and around the courthouse.  Your conduct and words are important.

*The role you play is a critical one. As a witness you are an important part of the justice system.  Your service is appreciated and the sacrifice that you make in testifying is valued by the lawyers and the public.  Thank you for your truthful testimony and your time. 

Coping with Crime Victimization

Anyone can become a victim of a crime.  If it happens to you or someone you love, here are some important points to remember:

Being a victim of a crime can be a very difficult and stressful experience.  While most people are naturally resilient and over time will find ways to cope and adjust, there can be a wide range of after effects to a trauma.  One person may experience many of the effects, a few, or none.  Not everyone had the same reaction.  In some people the reaction may be delayed for days, weeks, or even months.  Some victims may think they are “going crazy,” when they are having a NORMAL reaction to an abnormal event.

Getting back to normal can be a difficult process after a personal experience of this kind, especially for victims of violent crime and family members of murder victims.  Learning to understand and feel more at ease with the intense feelings can help victims’ better cope with what happened.

Victims may need to seek help from friends, family, member of the clergy, a counselor, or a victim assistance professional. 

Potential Effects of Trauma

Some people who have been victims of crime may experience some of these symptoms.  Seek medical advice if the symptoms persist.

Physical

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Chills or Sweating
  • Lack of Coordination
  • Heart Palpitations or Chest Pains
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Headaches
  • Sleep Disturbances
  • Stomach Upset
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Startled Responses

Emotional

  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Grief
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Numbness
  • Feeling Lost, Abandoned and Isolated
  • Wanting to Withdraw or Hide

Mental

  • Slowed Thinking
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Memory Problems
  • Intrusive Memories of Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Inability to Concentrate
  • Difficulty Making Decisions

Tips for Coping

These are some ideas that may help you cope with the trauma or loss:

  • Find someone to talk with about how you feel and what you are going through.  Keep the phone number of a good friend nearby to call when you feel overwhelmed or feel panicked.
  • Allow yourself to feel the pain.  It will not last forever.
  • Keep a journal.
  • Spend time with others, but make time to spend alone also.
  • Take care of your mind and body.  Rest, sleep, and eat regular, healthy meals. 
  • Re-establish a normal routine as soon as possible, but don’t over-do.
  • Make daily decisions, which will help bring back a feeling of control over your life.
  • Exercise, though not excessively and alternate with periods of relaxation.
  • Undertake daily tasks with care.  Accidents are more likely to happen after severe stress.
  • Recall the things that helped you cope during trying times and loss in the past and think about the things that give you hope.  Turn to them on bad days.

Things to Avoid:

  • Be careful about using alcohol or drugs to relieve emotional pain.  Becoming addicted not only postpones healing, but also creates new problems.
  • Make daily decisions, but avoid making life changing decisions in the immediate aftermath, since judgment may be temporarily impaired.
  • Don’t blame yourself----it is NOT your fault.
  • Your emotions need to be expressed. Try not to bottle them up.

For some victims and families of victims, life is forever changed.  Life may feel empty and hollow.  Life doesn’t “mean” what it used to.  Part of coping and adjusting is redefining the future.  What seemed important before may not be important now.  Many victims find new meaning in their lives as a result of their experience.  It is important to remember that emotional pain is not endless and that it will eventually ease.  It is impossible to undo what happened but life can be good again in time. 

For Family and Friends of Victims of Crime:

  • Listen carefully.
  • Spend time with the victim.
  • Offer your assistance, even if they haven't asked for help.
  • Help with everyday tasks like cleaning, ,cooking, caring for the family, minding the children.
  • Give them private time.
  • Don't take their anger or other feelings personally.
  • Don't tell them they are "luck it wasn't worse" --traumatized people are not consoled by such statements.
  • Tell them that you are sorry such an event has occurred to them and you want to understand to help them.

Resources

Counseling Services:

Catholic Human Services
421 S. Mitchell Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 775-6571

  • Substance abuse counseling and groups
  • Family Services (Individual and Family Counseling)
  • Child Welfare (Adoption and Pregnancy Counseling)
  • Older Adult Resources
  • Sliding Scale Fee

Life Skills Psychological
805 S. Carmel Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 775-6517

  • Family and Individual Counseling

Trina Paddock Counseling, LCC
201 N. Mitchell Street #204
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 884-0028

  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Family and Individual Counseling

OASIS Family Resource Center
118 S. Mitchell Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 775-7299

  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Counseling

Healing Private Wounds
P.O. Box 854
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 846-4495 or (231) 775-6804

  • Sexual Assault Counseling and Groups

Northern Lakes Community Mental Health
527 Cobb Street
Cadillac, MI 49601
(231) 775-3463

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Groups
  • Assessments

Housing:

Emergency Shelters

OASIS Family Resource Center (Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault)  (231)775-7233

New Hope Men’s Shelter (hours of operation 7pm-7am)   (231)775-3702

New Hope Women and Children Homeless Shelter  (231)468-2022

Precious Gems (Females who have aged out of the Foster Care System) (231)468-2053

Low-Income Housing

Maple Hill Apartments (231)779-2992

Corner Stone Apartments   (231)775-9491

Cadillac Shores   (231)775-8509

Springfield Apartments (231)824-3527

Hillcrest Apartments (231)824-6831

Food

Assembly of God Church Cadillac, MI (231)775-7858

Family Care Network-Living World Ministries   Manton, MI (231)824-9130

Love Inc.   Cadillac, MI (231)779-1888

Mesick Community Food & Clothes Pantry    Mesick, MI (231)885-1224

King’s Storehouse-First Baptist Church    Cadillac, MI (231)775-6741

Shepherd’s Table 125 Stimson Street, Cadillac, MI  (Free Dinner on Tuesdays and Thursdays 4pm-6pm)

Northwest Community Action Agency   Cadillac, MI  (231)775-9781

Seventh Day Adventist Community Service Center   Cadillac, MI (231)775-9331

The Salvation Army   Cadillac, MI  (231)775-7131