VICTIMS OF JUVENILE CRIMES
Because of the confidential nature of juvenile court in Kentucky, many victims do not know what to expect. We have put together a list of questions commonly asked by victims of juvenile crime.
How can I learn about the case?
Victims of crimes, even juvenile crimes are allowed to have information on the case in which they were a victim. The best person to contact is the Crime Victim Advocate in the County Attorney's Office. That person will be able to tell you what is going on in the case and put you in contact with the prosecutor. Contact information for each county attorney is listed on the County page.
Do I need to come to court?
No, not for every hearing and motion. Victims of crimes are allowed in the courtroom to hear the case in which they are a victim as long as they do not disrupt the proceedings, however they are not required to come to court unless served with a subpoena. A subpoena is a legal document, usually delivered by a deputy from the Sheriff's Department that gives the date and time that you are ordered to be in court.
Victims may be called to court to testify in an Adjudication Hearing (trial) or for a restitution hearing. If called to court the victim will have to speak to the judge and attorneys in the presence of the defendant.
How do I get money for stolen items?
When a defendant is ordered to pay money for items stolen or broken, that is called Restitution. The judge may order that the money be paid back in a lump sum or in installments. Generally, the defendant will pay the money to the court and the court will then send a check to the victim. If the defendant does not pay, he can be held in contempt of court and have consequences such as time in the detention center.
Sometimes there will be a Restitution Hearing. At the restitution hearing the prosecutor and the defense attorney will ask the victim questions to help determine how much restitution is owed to the victim.
I have decided I don't want to be involved in a court case, how do I get it dismissed?
Only the County Attorney can decide to dismiss a case. If you are reluctant to go forward with a case, let the prosecutor know. There is no guarantee that the case will be dismissed because the victim asks, but it is something the prosecutor will take into consideration when deciding how to proceed with the case.
What if I miss school / work for court?
A court document can be picked up from the clerk in the courtroom or from the district clerk’s office showing the time and date you were in court.
I am not getting restitution payments like the judge ordered, what can I do?
If the defendant was ordered to pay you restitution and you are not receiving it, contact the District Clerk of the county where the crime occured and make sure they have your correct address. Also, contact the County Attorney's Office and let them know so they can bring the matter back to court to find out why the defendant is not paying and request that the judge enforce the payments.
Kentucky also has what is called the Crime Victim Compensation Board, they financially help victims of crimes. Please see the link to their website.
How can I help the prosecutor with the case?
There are many ways that a victim can help with the case. Always make sure your contact information is up to date so the prosecutor can contact you. If you have any losses get receipts if you have them or estimates and turn those in the county attorney's office. If you are aware of witnesses to the crime, give their contact information to law enforcement or the county attorney's office.
Can I look up information about the case online?
No. Juvenile cases in Kentucky are confidetial and so they cannot be accessed via the KCOJ case search program. If you have a question about the case, call the County Attorney's office and ask to speak with the prosecutor or the Victim's Advocate.
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
You may be asked to fill out a Victim Impact Statement, it is a document that lets the prosecutor know how you were affected by the crime that was committed against you, your property, or your family members. While the Kentucky Juvenile Code does not specifically mandate that victim impact statements be used, they can be helpful to prosecutors. In this document you will write down financial losses as well as intangible emotional harm. If you are sent a Victim Impact Statement it is important to return it to the prosecutor as soon as possible so they can have all the information needed to prosecute your case. If you have any questions you can contact the County Attorney's office in the county where the crime was committed for more information.
What is a Victim Advocate?
A Victim Advocate is a person employed by the county or state to assist victims of crimes.
What is the Crime Victim's Bill of Rights?
The Attorney General has created a booklet that describes the rights of crime victims. Victims of crimes have certain rights granted to them by the State of Kentucky, please click on the link below to read about those rights.