Victim Impact Statement
The court will review a Victim Impact Statement after conviction and before sentencing. A Victim Impact Statement is completed by the victim and is a summary that explains the suffering the crime has caused, how the crime has impacted their lives, and expresses their opinion on the punishment. A statement should include the following issues:
• Emotional impact of the crime
• Medical impact of the crime
• Financial impact of the crime
• Effect of the absence of the victim from your life, if the victim is deceased
• Day-to-day issues which you must face as a result of the crime
• Lifelong consequences of the crime
Most Victim Assistance Coordinators provide Victim Impact Statement forms to help you with addressing the above issues. The forms are usually given to the victim before trial. Be sure to complete your form and submit it to the District Attorney or the Victim Assistance Coordinator. If you need assistance or a form, call your Victim Assistance Coordinator.
Victim Impact Statements provide victims with the opportunity to discuss the physical, emotional and financial effects the crime has had on them and their families. It is also an important tool to help the courts and corrections officials in making decisions about sentencing and release.
The Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights allows the victim to provide a Victim Impact Statement at different times throughout the criminal justice process and to different offices. You can provide a statement to the court when the defendant enters a guilty plea, at sentencing, or at restitution proceedings; to the probation officer for their use in preparing a pre-sentence report; and the Department of Corrections for their use in consideration of the prisoner’s community status, release, parole or pardon.
The law also allows you to present the impact statement in different ways, such as written, oral, audio recording or video recording. The way in which you can present your statement is determined by the court or office to which you submit the statement. Be sure to find out from the court or office which way you are allowed to present the statement to them.
HELPFUL HINTS FOR COMPLETING YOUR VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
• The length of your statement is important. A statement is not more effective simply because it is long.
• Be brief and to the point, but not so short that you leave out important information.
• Keep in mind that a Victim Impact Statement is not an opportunity to criticize the legal system, the court or the defendant.
• Oral, audio or video statements are more effective if they are no more than ten minutes.
HARRIS SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS FOR ITTA BENA MURDER
Greenwood, MS – Jadarius Harris, 23 yoa, of Itta Bena was convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Leflore County Circuit Court following his guilty plea on Monday, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today. On July 11, 2020, deputies of the Leflore […]... read more
Chillious Receives a 40 Year Sentence for Sex Crimes Against a Child
Greenville, MS – This week in Circuit Court, Brian Chillious, 45 yoa, pled guilty to a total of forty years with the Mississippi Department of Correction for a series of child sex crimes that took place in Washington County. Chillious […]... read more
Ellison Lafayette Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter
Greenville, MS – With a jury pool drawn from across Washington County and ready to hear his case, Ellison Lafayette, 32 yoa, chose to plead guilty to causing the death of William Taylor, 51 yoa. Circuit Judge Richard Smith accepted […]... read more
BERDELL WILLIS, III SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS
Greenville, MS – Berdell Willis, III, 22 yoa, of Greenville, was sentenced following his May 2022 guilty plea to the charge of Second Degree Murder in the November 2017 murder of Darrell Lafayette, District Attorney Dewayne Richardson announced today. Two […]... read more
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AG Victim Unit
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.
P.O. Box 426
Greenville MS 38702
P.O. Box 1046
Indianola, MS 38751
P.O. Box 253
Greenwood, MS 38935
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.
Disclaimer of Liability
The information contained in this web site is provided for general informational purposes only and is not to be relied upon as legal advice. With respect to any information found on this web site, neither the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District, nor any of its employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and aptness for a particular purpose, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the inaccuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information conveyed. Nothing contained in the Web site is intended to constitute a promise, expressed or implied, by the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District to engage in any undertaking. The Washington County District Attorney's Office is not responsible for the contents of any off-site pages referenced. These links are provided as an information service only.
To the extent that pending criminal matters are discussed in this website, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. The materials on this Web site are copyrighted. Copying, reproduction, or distribution of any part of this Web site is prohibited without the prior written consent of the Office of the District Attorney, 4th District. However, downloading and printing of materials from this web site is allowed for the personal use of visitors to the web site. In fact, such use is encouraged.
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