Felony Court Advocate

A Guide for Victims

The Huron County Prosecutor’s Victim Assistance program was established to inform victims of crime of their rights. It provides quality supportive services, information, and court appearance accompaniment to those who have been affected by criminal acts.

AN EXPLANATION OF COURT HEARINGS AND PROCEDURES

PRELIMINARY HEARING:

This hearing is conducted at the municipal court to establish probable cause for the arrest. Testimony may be given at this time, or the defendant has the opportunity of waiving the hearing. If probable cause is found, the case will be reviewed by the County Prosecutor’s Office for presentation to the Grand Jury.

GRAND JURY:

The police officer and sometimes the victim, is subpoenaed to testify at this hearing. At this hearing, the grand jurors will receive the criminal complaint, hear the Prosecutor’s evidence, and decide whether to issue an indictment (formal charge).

ARRAIGNMENT:

This hearing is usually held within 10 days of the issuance of the indictment. The defendant will be asked to enter a plea to the charge and bond will be determined. The court will also schedule the pretrial and trial dates at this time.

PRETRIAL:

The Prosecutor and Defense Attorney will discuss how preparations for the scheduled trial are going.

PLEA:

The defendant has agreed to plead guilty to the charges or to reduced charges. If a plea is made, the trial would NOT go forward.

TRIAL:

The Prosecutor and Defense Attorney will present evidence and witness testimony to support their case before a Judge or a Jury. After hearing all the evidence, the Judge or Jury will decide whether the defendant is Guilty or Not Guilty of the Crime.

VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT (VIS):

You will be asked to complete a written statement about the impact this crime has had on you. The information you provide will be included in a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) report that is submitted to the Judge to assist him/her in determining an appropriate sentence in the case.

SENTENCING:

At this hearing, the Court will enter its judgment concerning the punishment of the offender who has been found guilty. You may wish to attend this hearing and make an oral Victim Impact Statement to the Court. Your statement does have a great impact on the judgment the court makes. Facing the defendant in court and making a statement may also be part of the healing process for you.

Forms & Publications

  1. Victim Impact Statement
  2. Business Victim Impact Statement
  3. Just For Kids - Victim Impact Statement
  4. School Age Kids - Victim Impact Statement
  5. Victim Rights Notification