United States Attorney's Office

District of Arizona

Victim Witness Services


A crime victim has the following rights.

The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim's dignity and privacy;

The right to be reasonably protected from the accused offender;

The right to be notified of court proceedings;

The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the offense, unless the court determines that testimony by the victim would be materially affected if the victim heard other testimony at trial;

The right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case;

The right to restitution; and,

The right to information about the conviction, sentencing, imprisonment and release of the offender.

Special Rights

Some kinds of cases entitle victims to special notice and services.

Violent Crimes or Sexual Abuse

At sentencing victims of violent crimes or sexual abuse have the right of allocution, i.e. to make a statement or present information in relation to the offender's sentence, if they wish. The victim or victim's family may make a short statement to the court about the impact of the crime. The U.S. Attorney's Office will NOT pay for the victim or victim's family to attend the sentencing.

Federal Domestic Violence Offenses

In federal domestic violence cases, the victim must be given an opportunity to be heard prior to the defendant's release on bond. This requirement only applies in very limited cases where the defendant has been charged with a Federal Domestic Violence crime. It has no effect in state of local courts.

Sexual Assault

Victims of Sexual Assault who may be at risk of contracting the "AIDS" virus may request that the defendant be ordered to take the AIDS test. If this applies to you, contact the Assistant US Attorney who prosecuted your case or the Victim Advocate who worked with you. Again, this applies only to federally charged cases of sexual assault.

Important Notes

Involvement in the Victim Witness Program is VOLUNTARY. If you were the victim of a Federal Crime, you may be contacted by a Victim Advocate who will tell you that a defendant has been charged with the crime. You may be asked to fill out a "Pre-Trial Questionnaire" and a "Request For Notice". If you return the Request For Notice, you will be kept informed of major developments of the case as it goes through the Federal Courts.

Many Federal cases do not go to trial, the defendant may plead guilty before the trial. Whether a defendant pleads guilty or is convicted at trial, you will be notified of the results and the sentence that the defendant received. We will notify the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) of your interest in the case and the BOP will then notify you where the defendant will serve his/her jail term. The BOP will also tell you when the defendant is scheduled to be released, parole hearings, escapes, and other major events about the defendant.

In some cases, the Judge will order that restitution be paid to the victim(s) of the crime. If restitution was ordered to be paid by the defendant please be aware that it may take some time for you to get any money. Please read the separate section on this web page that addresses restitution issues.

A major problem that BOP and the courts face is keeping track of the victims. Many victims will move or change addresses and not notify the court or BOP. This means that BOP can't notify victims of changes in the defendants status or release dates.   It also means that as restitution becomes available, it cannot be mailed to the victim. Please keep the court and BOP undated
on any address changes.