Crime Victims Bill of Rights

The Mississippi Constitution was amended in 1998 to provide for the fair treatment of crime victims within this state. Section 26(a) of the Mississippi Constitution states: “Victims of crime, as defined by law, shall have the right to be treated with fairness, dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice process; and to be informed, present and heard, when authorized by law, during public hearings”.

The Mississippi Legislature passed the Mississippi Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights in order to carry out the constitutional amendment. The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights provides several rights, privileges, and notices to crime victims throughout the criminal justice process. The law requires that law enforcement, prosecutors, the judiciary (court officials), correctional system and executive authority (Governor) must provide these rights, privileges and notices to crime victims.

For purposes of the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights:
1. “Victim” means a person against whom the criminal offense has been committed, or if the person is deceased or incapacitated, the lawful representative.
If the victim is physically or emotionally unable to exercise these rights, he/she may designate in writing a person to be his/her representative.
If the victim is deceased, the court will appoint a representative who is not a witness to the crime.
If the victim is a minor, a family member may be designated as the victims’ representative or the court may appoint a representative for the child.
The victim who is represented by another person may decide to personally exercise his/her rights as soon as he/she is physically, mentally, emotionally or legally competent to do so.

2. The following violent offenses apply:
Crimes which involve physical injury or the threat of physical injury.
Any sexual offense.
Any offense involving spousal abuse or domestic violence.

OBTAINING YOUR RIGHTS

In order to receive this benefit of the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, a victim must file a written request with the law enforcement agency assigned to your case and the prosecutor. A form titled Request to Exercise Victims’ Rights has been designed by the Office of the Attorney General and is available at law enforcement agencies, district attorney’s offices and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Crime Victim Compensation Division. This form will be given to you in a packet of information provided by the investigating officer within seventy-two hours following the crime. (Until your case has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney, you will need to call the investigating officer for an update on the status of your case.)

The victim or the lawful victim representative is required to:
Complete and sign the Request to Exercise Victims’ Rights form
Send the form to the investigator and/or prosecutor handling your case
Keep the investigator and/or prosecutor informed of any changes in your name, address and/or telephone number(s)

It is the victim’s responsibility to provide updated information to the investigator and/or prosecutor. Failure to provide these changes may be considered a withdrawal of your request for victims’ rights. The safest route is to always provide any changes or updated information.

Please note that written requests are required to obtain your rights, and often many other offices are involved in handling your case, not just the prosecutor. You are encouraged to read the Bill of Rights so you can determine what different offices may be involved in handling your case. Be sure that all of these offices have a copy of your written request. These offices may include: any agency which has physical custody of the offender (county or city jail) Department of Corrections, Parole Board, Office of the Attorney General and Office of the Governor.

If you have not received the information packet or the Request to Exercise Victims’ Rights form, please contact the Crime Victim Compensation Division at 1.800.829.6766 or 601.359.4144 for a copy.

SAVIN VICTIM NOTIFICATION SYSTEM

This automated network program allows Mississippi victims to receive realtime information about the custody status of state inmates and offenders housed in county jails statewide. From booking to release, victims can register for immediate access to offender information including notification about the offender’s placement, release, transfer or other change in custody status while maintaining total anonymity. There is no cost to utilize the service, and the information can be accessed by telephone or internet.

Crime victims may register by calling 1.888.9MS.SAVIN (1.888.967.7284) or online at www.vinelink.com.

Breaking News

15th
June
15th
Jun

Murderer Gets Life plus 90 years Prison Sentence; Co-defendants sentenced to 60 years

Greenwood, MS- Leflore County residents Armond Jones, Sedrick Buchanan, and James McClung were sentenced today at the Leflore County Justice Center, District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson announced today. Armond Jones, Michael Holland, Sedrick Buchanan, and James McClung were each indicted [&hellip... read more

19th
May
19th
May

Four Greenwood Men found guilty of August 2015 Shootings

Greenwood, MS – In Leflore County Circuit Court, a jury found Armand Jones, Michael Holland, Sedric Buchanan, and James McClung, guilty for their roles in the shooting that occurred on August 15, 2015 off of Highway 82 near Itta Bena, […]... read more

18th
May
18th
May

Greenville Murderer Gets 30 Year Sentence

Greenville, MS- Washington County resident Wadarren Lawrence pled guilty to Second Degree Murder in Washington County Circuit Court, District Attorney W. Dewayne Richardson announced today. Richardson said, “Wadarren Lawrence was set for trial on this week of court, but instead […]... read more

17th
April
17th
Apr

Nacardis Williams pleads guilty to April 2015 Homicide

Greenville, MS – In Washington County Circuit Court, Nacardis Williams, 33 yoa, pled guilty to killing Nicholas Smith, 20 yoa, on April 25, 2015, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today. On April 25, 2015, Nicholas Smith was found shot and […]... read more

resources

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Attorney General

www.ago.state.ms.us

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MDOC

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Federal Prisoners

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Sex Offender Registry

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AG Victim Unit

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Our Mission

The mission of the District Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Circuit Court, under the direction of
W. Dewayne Richardson, is to seek justice in order to maintain an environment of safety, security and lawful behavior for the citizens of the Fourth District.

The Office of the District Attorney uses lawful and reasonable methods to successfully identify and prosecute those who commit felony crimes. When a crime occurs, the Office of the District Attorney diligently pursues the indictment and conviction of those responsible, while adhering to all rights of the Victim, ensuring the victim is being provided all direct services applicable, and acknowledging all constitutional safeguards for the accused.

The District Attorney’s Office for the Fourth
District’s goal is to work with law enforcement and the judiciary to punish those who break our laws with adequate punishment. Every representative of the Office of the District Attorney pledges their commitment and full support to the protection of all citizens within the Fourth Circuit Court District.

Contact

Greenville Office
P.O. Box 426
Greenville MS 38702
[P] 662.378.2105
[F] 662.332.4665
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Indianola Office
P.O. Box 1046
Indianola, MS 38751
[P] 662.887.4306
[F] 662.887.6275
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Greenwood Office
P.O. Box 253
Greenwood, MS 38935
[P] 662.453.1089
[F] 662.451.7291
generalinfo@msdeltada.com

Judicial Process

Citizen's Involvement in the criminal justice system typically begins with them being a victim, witness, or defendant of a crime. Arrests are made generally by a judge-issued warrant or by a police officer observing a crime in process. Law enforcement may also arrest someone if it has probable cause to believe the person committed a criminal offense. When individuals are arrested they are routinely advised of their Miranda Rights upon arrest, advising them that they have the right to remain silent and that anything they say will be used against them in court. On being questioned, defendants have the right to have their attorney present or to have one appointed if they are indigent.

Felony defendants appear at a first appearance and have the charges reviewed. A judge will inquire if the defendant has an attorney. If low income, the defendant may qualify for a court-appointed lawyer. No plea is entered at this time unless the defendant wishes to plead guilty or waives indictment and has an attorney present. All felony cases are presented to a grand jury in the county that the crime was committed. In the State of Mississippi, only a grand jury has the authority to indict an individual for a felony offense and require them to stand trial for the charges alleged in an affidavit and indictment.

If an indictment is issued, the defendant is bound over to stand trial or enter a guilty plea to the crimes alleged. When a criminal trial occurs all 12 jurors must find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Sentences are decided by Circuit Court Judges in all criminal matters. In most cases a recommendation is made regarding imprisonment, probation, fines and restitution.