Victim Witness ServicesTrempealeau County District Attorney's OfficeRobin Leonard, Victim Witness Coordinator
36245 Main Street, P.O. Box 67
Whitehall, WI 54773
Phone: (715) 538-2311, ext. 278
Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin Statutes requires counties to respect victim and witness rights. The Victim Witness Coordinator assures that victims and witnesses are treated with dignity and respect. You can read the full text of the law detailing these rights in Chapter 950 of the Wisconsin Statutes.
We assist victims and witnesses throughout the criminal court process by answering questions, keeping victims informed of case development, providing information and referrals to community service providers, assisting with restitution, and offering personal assistance when possible. Please contact us with any questions.
Your Rights as a Victim
The list below provides an overview of the rights of crime victims in Wisconsin. For a full list of your rights, please see Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 950, and Article 1, Section 9m of the Wisconsin Constitution.
The Wisconsin Constitution provides crime victims with the following rights:
- To be treated with dignity, respect, courtesy, sensitivity and fairness.
- To privacy.
- To proceedings free from unreasonable delay.
- To timely disposition of the case, free from unreasonable delay.
- Upon request, to attend all proceedings involving the case.
- To reasonable protection from the accused throughout the criminal and juvenile justice process.
- Upon request, to reasonable and timely notification of proceedings.
- Upon request, to confer with the attorney for the government.
- Upon request, to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated, including release, plea, sentencing, disposition, parole, revocation, expungement, or pardon.
- To have information pertaining to the economic, physical, and psychological effect upon the victim of the offense submitted to the authority with jurisdiction over the case and to have that information considered by that authority.
- Upon request, to timely notice of any release or escape of the accused or death of the accused if the accused is in custody or on supervision at the time of death.
- To refuse an interview, deposition, or other discovery request made by the accused or any person acting on behalf of the accused. To full restitution from any person who has been ordered to pay restitution to the victim and to be provided with assistance collecting restitution.
- To compensation as provided by law.
- Upon request, to reasonable and timely information about the status of the investigation and the outcome of the case.
- To timely notice about all rights under this section and all other rights, privileges, or protections of the victim provided by law, including how such rights, privileges, or protections are enforced.
- To ask a Circuit Court Judge or Court Commissioner to promptly review your case if you believe your victim rights have been violated. You may also file an appeal with the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court asking for a review of the Circuit Court Judge or Court Commissioner’s decision if you believe the decision does not protect your crime victim rights.
Additionally, the Wisconsin Statutes afford crime victims additional rights including but not limited to:
- To attend court proceedings, subject to any sequestration order. The court may require victims to exercise this right by telephone or other available means, if the victim is incarcerated, under arrest, or committed to a treatment facility, and the victim does not have a representative.
- To be accompanied to court by a service representative, in certain cases.
- To have his/her interests considered when the court is deciding whether to grant a continuance of any hearing in the case.
- To be provided a waiting area in court.
- To be provided with appropriate intercession services to ensure that employers of victims will cooperate with the criminal justice process in order to minimize loss of income or benefits resulting from court appearances.
- To request an order for and to be given the results of testing to determine the presence of sexually transmitted disease or of any strain of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in certain cases.
- To have the presentence investigation writer, in cases in which a presentence investigation is ordered, make a reasonable attempt to contact the victim.
- To have any stolen or other personal property expeditiously returned by law enforcement agencies when no longer needed as evidence.
- To complain to the Department of Justice concerning the treatment of crime victims and to request review by the Crime Victim’s Rights Board of the complaint.
Contact InformationPlease notify the Victim Witness Coordinator of any change in your address or phone number.
Defense AttorneysVictims and witnesses have the right to discuss cases with defense attorneys or investigators. Victims and witnesses have the right to ask that a police officer or prosecutor be present during the interview. Always ask for identification from any person who wants to discuss a pending case.
JuvenilesPolice agencies, subject to their policies, may disclose to the victim the name and address of a juvenile offender and the juvenile's parents. (Parents may be liable for up to $5,000 for damages resulting from the acts of their child.) Juvenile contact information may also be obtained from the Victim Witness Coordinator. This information is confidential and cannot be disclosed to any other person.
Police ReportsDue to possible interference with a pending case, copies of police reports should be requested only from the District Attorney's Office. The prosecutor will decide what reports can be released. After the case is closed, all police reports are available from the arresting agency.
PropertyThe police will notify a person when their property is no longer needed as evidence. If you have questions about property held by the police or need the property returned quickly, ask the District Attorney's Office for assistance.
Threats and IntimidationIf you receive any threats or other form of intimidation from your cooperation with law enforcement and prosecutors, call 911 immediately. Also report the incident to the Victim Witness Coordinator.
Victim CompensationAn innocent victim who suffers injury from a crime may apply to the State of Wisconsin for injury or death benefits up to $40,000. Injuries may include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of financial support, reasonable replacement costs of property being held as evidence and funeral expenses. To apply, call the Office of Crime Victim Compensation at (800) 446-6564.
TestifyingSubpoenaA subpoena is a court order directing a person to appear in court on a certain date and time. Failure to appear may result in an arrest warrant, fines and jail. Report to the District Attorney's Office before court.
FeesThe Victim Witness Coordinator will assist victims and witnesses in obtaining witness fees and travel costs for attending court hearings.
Tips for Testifying
- Always tell the truth. If you do not remember or are unable to answer a question, make that clear.
- Listen carefully to the entire question before answering. If you do not understand, ask that the question be explained or clarified.
- Answer only the question that is asked. Do not volunteer information, ramble or stray from the question that is asked.
- Beware of questions involving distances or time. If you estimate, make sure that you state that your answer is only an estimate.
- Speak clearly and loudly. The entire jury and the court reporter must be able to hear and understand you.
- Dress conservatively and be courteous. The jury will be judging your believability based on many things, including your appearance and behavior in court.
- Do not become upset with or verbally fight with the defense attorney. Remain calm and considerate and answer the defense attorney's questions truthfully.
- If asked if you have talked to anybody about this case, admit that you have. There is nothing improper about discussing the facts of the case with attorneys, police officers, or other investigators prior to trial.
- If you believe that you have information that the prosecutor may not be aware of, make certain that you inform the prosecutor immediately. If you recall a misstatement, point it out to the prosecutor so that it can be corrected.
Victim Witness Coordinator
36245 Main Street
P.O. Box 67
Whitehall, WI 54773
(715) 538-2311, ext. 278