Frequently Asked Questions
Do I have to come to court?As the victim or witness to a crime committed by an adult offender, you have the right to be at any hearing. You are not obligated to come to court unless you receive a subpoena. Many juvenile hearings are closed and you should ask your Victim/Witness coordinator whether you may attend. The assigned coordinator or designated staff will be happy to accompany you to the courtroom and explain the proceedings if you wish.
Can I testify by video? I really don't want to come into a courtroom.Video testimony is acceptable only in rare occasions in juvenile or criminal proceedings. The constitutions of the United States and State of Minnesota guarantee each defendant the right to face their accusers. Your Victim/Witness coordinator will do everything possible to prepare you for your experience on the witness stand.
I'm afraid the offender will want to retaliate against me or my family members.While this is a frequent scenario on popular television shows and movies, it is generally not the case in real life. The County Attorney can request that a no contact order be issued as a condition of the defendant's release. Also, in cases of domestic abuse, you can get help in obtaining an Order for Protection through the Tubman Family Alliance. Any violations of these orders should be reported to the police and the probation office.
How do I know if the offender is still in custody?There are a number of ways to track defendants who may be in custody. You will the need the name of the defendant. A date of birth is also helpful.
If the defendant is in custody in a state prison, information may be accessed through the Minnesota Department of Corrections website.
VINE, an automated system that will track offenders in MOST of Minnesota's county jails, is also available at 1-877-MN-4-VINE (1-877-664-8463). You may also receive a document with sentencing information from your Victim/Witness coordinator that will enable you to request that the custodial facility notify you when the defendant is scheduled to be released or furloughed.