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									In the Aftermath of Crime:
A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
               Introduction                                                 and justice. The content focuses on the
                                                                            emotional and psychological impact of crime,
                                                                            the complexities of navigating the criminal
               T  he Massachusetts Office for Victim
                  Assistance (MOVA) and the Victim
               Witness Assistance Board are pleased to
                                                                            justice system and the rights to which
                                                                            victims, witnesses and families are entitled
                                                                            under Massachusetts law. We hope this Guide
               present this comprehensive update to In
                                                                            will answer many of your questions and help
               the Aftermath of Crime: a Guide to Victim Rights
                                                                            you consider next steps and the range of
               and Services in Massachusetts. First published
                                                                            resources and services available to you. We
               by this office in 1997, this Guide has been
                                                                            encourage you to reach out directly to those
               utilized and relied upon by victims and
                                                                            Advocates who can assist you with more
               survivors and Victim Advocates across the
                                                                            detailed information specific to your case and
               Commonwealth for over a decade. Within
               these pages, we have endeavored to
               update the first publication with new and
                                                                            For victim service providers, many of whom
               enhanced information to assist and support
                                                                            graciously gave their time to ensure that
               those impacted by crime and those
                                                                            the information contained here is accurate
               committed to serving them. We dedicate
                                                                            and clear, our goal is to offer you a readily
               this publication to all victims and survivors
                                                                            available, comprehensive and user-friendly
               of crime whose experiences educate us
                                                                            resource as you assist victims and survivors.
               and whose courage inspires us.
                                                                            MOVA and the Victim Witness Assistance
               The primary goal of the Guide is to provide
                                                                            Board dedicated resources to this update as
               basic information to victims and survivors,
                                                                            part of its mandate under the Massachusetts
               and those who support and assist them, as
                                                                            Victim Bill of Rights to ensure that victims,
               they embark on their journeys toward healing
                                                                            witnesses and families have necessary

                                                             In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
               information related to the court process                    that some legal language used in this Guide
               and to their rights. As you will read, the                  may not be familiar. We have bolded those
               Victim Bill of Rights sets forth the procedural             terms upon first usage and then provided a
               rights of victims during the prosecution                    definition within that paragraph. Those terms
               of a case and the post-conviction process                   will also be included in the glossary. Overall,
               and outlines the services to be provided                    it is important to note that “prosecutor”
               to them by the Commonwealth, including                      and “Assistant District Attorney” are used
               the Victim Witness Assistance Programs                      interchangeably and that the term “Advocate”
               in each District Attorney’s Office and in a                 is used to mean any victim service provider
               number of other criminal justice agencies.                  working with a victim of crime whether in a
               The Guide is intended to provide an updated,                criminal justice-based or community-based
               comprehensive overview of victims’ rights                   capacity.
               and services within the Commonwealth.
               Since new legislation, court decisions, and                 We recognize that this Guide cannot possibly
               services change over time, this new Guide’s                 cover all of the unique issues or “exceptions
               format will enable us to make updates more                  to the rule” that may arise in the course of a
               easily and swiftly.                                         criminal case. It is important to always discuss
                                                                           your specific questions with the prosecutor
               Finally, there are a few practical points about             and Victim Witness Advocate handling your
               the Guide that are important to highlight.                  case to ensure that the information you have
               Most of the information contained in the                    is accurate and relevant to you and your
               Guide, with the exception of Chapters Six and               experience. We simply hope that this Guide
               Seven, are directed to victims and survivors.               may be a useful and empowering tool in
               Chapters Six and Seven are specific to victim               your journey toward healing and justice and
               service providers, but they may be useful for               in participating fully and meaningfully in the
               victims and survivors as well. You will note                court process.

                                                            In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Table of Contents
                        Table of Contents                                                           Chapter 2: page 21

                                                                                                    Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System, 22
                        Introduction: page 2
                                                                                                            Reporting a Crime to the Police, 22
                        Introduction, 2
                                                                                                            The Victim Bill of Rights and the Victim Witness
                        Table of Contents: page 4                                                           Advocate Program, 23

                                                                                                            Potential Challenges Encountered in the Criminal
                        Table of Contents, 5 & 6                                                            Justice System, 26

                        Chapter 1: page 7                                                                   Emotional Impact of Participating
                                                                                                            in the Justice System, 27
                        Trauma and the Healing Process, 8
                                                                                                            Planning for Your Safety After Crime, 27
   Click this icon in           Brief Overview of Trauma, 8
   Adobe Reader to
   see bookmarks                Post-Traumatic Stress, 9                                            Chapter 3: page 34

                                “Why me?”, 10                                                       Victims and the Prosecution Process, 35

                                Mental Health Counseling, 11                                                Part One, Initiating a criminal case, 36

                                Finding a Therapist, 12                                                     Part Two: Part Two, Further court proceedings:
                                                                                                            Conferences, Hearings, Dismissals, Pleas and Trials 40
                                Paying for Mental Health Counseling, 13
                                                                                                            Part Three: Sentencing, Victim Impact Statements,
                                Victim Activism and the Victim Rights Movement, 16                          and Appeals, 51

                                Ways to Become Involved, 16                                                 Part Four: Proceedings Involving Juveniles and
                                                                                                            Youthful Offenders, 56
                                For Friends and Family of Victims, 18

Table of Contents
                                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                                Part Five, Questions of competency and criminal                          Chapter 6: page 98
                                responsibility as a defense, and verdicts of not guilty
                                by reason of insanity, 59
                                                                                                         For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse
                                                                                                         Populations, 99
                        Chapter 4: page 62
                                                                                                                 Discussion, 99
                        Post Disposition Services for Victims, 63
                                                                                                                 Service Provision, 100
                                For victims whose offender is incarcerated, 67
                                                                                                                 Considerations, 100
                                Release Notification, 68
                                                                                                                 Case Scenarios, 102
                                VINE, 70
                                                                                                         Chapter 7: page 105
                                Sex Offender Registration, 80
                                                                                                         For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care, 106
   Click this icon in
   Adobe Reader to
   see bookmarks
                        Chapter 5: page 87                                                                       Burnout?, 106

                        Financial Remedies for Victims of Crimes, 88                                             Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS), 107

                                Victims of Violent Crime Compensation, 88                                Glossary: page 112

                                Court-Ordered Restitution, 90                                            Glossary, 113

                                Additional Ways for Possible Recoupment of Losses
                                for Specific Crimes, 93
                                                                                                         Acknowledgements: page 138

                                                                                                         Acknowledgements, 139
                                Civil Lawsuits, 93

Table of Contents
                                                                                          In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
       Trauma and
the Healing Process
Chapter             Trauma and the                                                victimization, many victims find remarkable
                                                                                  strength in determining the best course for
                    Healing Process                                               themselves in crime’s aftermath.
Table of Contents

                    F  or many people, life is simply not the
                       same after a crime. You might find that
                    the trauma of the crime itself and other
                                                                            Brief Overview of Trauma

                                                                            The emotional response to victimization can
                    people’s reactions to the crime and the                 be overwhelming. Knowing that someone
                    criminal justice process affect you in ways             deliberately hurt you or a loved one can be
                    you could not have imagined.                                     devastating and almost impossible
                    The world can suddenly seem an                                   to comprehend. Grief, shame, self-
                                                                 There are no
                    unsafe and unpredictable place.                                  blame, anger, guilt, helplessness
                                                               simple answers
                    Your relationships with other                                    — these are just a few examples
                                                              to a victim’s most
                    people and your view of yourself                                 of the feelings victims may have
                                                            immediate questions
                    may change in unexpected,                in the aftermath of     after a crime. Crime can continue
                    confusing ways.                         crime — there is no      to impact victims’ lives for months
                                                              “right or wrong”                 or even years, and the different
                    To help you understand and               response to crime.                circumstances of victimization can
                    cope with the emotional impact                                             influence how you experience the
                    of a crime, this chapter explains                                          trauma.
                    some of the common responses to being
                    a victim of a crime, gives an overview of                     Even with strong family support and the
                    counseling services available to victims and                  commitment of the criminal justice system,
                    provides information on victim advocacy                       many people experience a difficult period
                    and related resources. Although people are                    of adjustment after a crime. Emotional and
                    often powerless in preventing their own                       psychological reactions are different for

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             every victim. There are no simple answers to                 they may come and go unpredictably. In
                    a victim’s most immediate questions in the                   some circumstances, however, victimization
                    aftermath of crime — there is no “right or                   can lead to emotional, biological and
Table of Contents   wrong” response to crime.                                    behavioral changes that result in post-
                                                                                 traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
                    Post-Traumatic Stress
                                                                                              Post-traumatic stress disorder is
                    “Post-traumatic stress” describes           Feelings of guilt             a set of feelings and behaviors
                    the reactions that many people                or self-blame               experienced by some survivors
                    have after a crime. “Post-traumatic          may surface as               of trauma. Symptoms vary from
                    stress disorder” is a diagnosis that         you attempt to               person to person, and sometimes
                    therapists and counselors use to talk      make sense of the              return even after a period of feeling
                    about these effects if they continue        experience and                “better.”
                    over a long period of time.                regain a sense of
                                                              control in your life.           Reactions to trauma might
                    Many victims of crime and survivors                                       include:
                    of homicide experience some post-                            •	 a re-experiencing of the trauma through
                    traumatic stress. Rage, sadness, fear, apathy,                  lifelike flashbacks
                    regret, guilt, disbelief, depression, confusion
                    and desire for revenge are just some feelings                •	 intrusive thoughts or dreams
                    victims commonly experience and that are                     •	 feelings of numbness and/or withdrawal
                    associated with post-traumatic stress. You                      from others
                    may experience some, none or all of these
                                                                                 •	 an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness
                    feelings, which can vary tremendously in
                    degree and intensity. These feelings are                     •	 sleep disturbances
                    normal responses to abnormal events, and

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 impaired memory and concentration                         As a crime victim, you might feel isolated
                                                                                 from your family and friends and believe
                    •	 changes in eating habits
                                                                                 that no one understands what you are going
Table of Contents   •	 hyper-alertness or an exaggerated response                through emotionally. You might have a
                       when startled                                             strong need to talk about the crime and find
                    •	 avoidance of events related to or discussion              that friends and family don’t know what to
                       of the crime                                              say to comfort you — even those who love
                                                                                 you and wish they could show their support.
                    •	 a sense of guilt about surviving or constant
                       fear that something bad will happen
                                                                                 “Why me?”
                    Every person has a unique response to
                                                                                 Many crime victims question what they or
                    victimization for reasons including:
                                                                                 others could have done differently to have
                    •	 the circumstances of the crime                            prevented the crime. Searching for reasons
                    •	 the victim’s personal resources                           about why the crime happened, and why it
                                                                                 happened to you or a loved one, is a natural
                    •	 the age or developmental stage of the                     reaction. Under these circumstances, you may
                       victim                                                    blame others or even yourself for the crime.
                    •	 the relationship of the victim to the                     Even though you are not to blame for your
                       offender                                                  victimization, feelings of guilt or self-blame
                                                                                 may surface as you attempt to make sense of
                    •	 the severity, frequency and duration of the
                                                                                 the experience and regain a sense of control
                                                                                 in your life.
                    •	 the amount of support from the victim’s
                       family and friends

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Mental Health Counseling                                     future.

                    Because the emotional response to crime                    Different types of mental health
Table of Contents   can sometimes interfere with a victim’s day-               counseling
                    to-day life and relationships, you might seek
                    the help of a counselor or therapist to talk               If you choose to seek counseling, your needs
                    through and learn more about your feelings                 may be different from others who have
                    and regain a sense of control in your life.                experienced crime – and your needs are likely
                    Many victims find that they cope better when               to change over time. Counseling can happen
                    they can talk about their thoughts,                                  in different ways:
                    feelings and fears with someone             Your Advocate can
                    who is knowledgeable about                   provide referrals       Individual counseling allows you
                    trauma and who has no personal                 to counseling         to talk one-on-one with a therapist.
                    connection to you or the crime.              programs specific       You can discuss what happened,
                                                                   to your needs         how it is affecting your life and ways
                    Sometimes the unpredictable and               or to therapists       to cope in private, at your own pace.
                    sudden nature of crime can cause              specializing in
                    a victim to mistrust other people.            trauma-related         Couples or family counseling
                    Counseling can be an effective way                 issues.           might help you address, with the
                    to help a victim reestablish trusting                                people you love, the ways that
                    relationships with other people.                           the crime has affected how you relate to
                                                                               each other. For example, couples counseling
                    For many victims, the support of a counselor               might help an adult survivor of childhood
                    has been critical to “picking up the pieces,”              sexual abuse and her partner work through
                    restoring a sense of balance and control in                their reactions and responses and better
                    their lives and looking ahead to a positive                relate to one another. After a homicide, the

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             victim’s family members might find that                      free through Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)
                    family counseling helps them to be together                  providers — providers specially trained in
                    without their lost loved one and understand                  victimization who offer counseling. Please
Table of Contents   the unique ways each family member grieves                   see later in the chapter for more details
                    the loss in his or her own way.                              about paying for counseling.

                    Group counseling, or support groups,                         Finding a Therapist
                    can help you feel less alone after a crime.
                    Being with others who have been victimized                   You may be uncertain whether counseling
                    is important when a victim’s friends and                     could really help, or you may feel
                    family do not understand what a victim                       uncomfortable or embarrassed by the idea
                    goes through, or feel that a victim should                   of talking to a therapist or counselor. These
                    “just get over it” or “forget about” the crime.              are common reactions to the idea of going to
                    Participating in group counseling or support                 therapy. It is helpful to discuss them openly
                    groups with other survivors may help you                     with any therapist you may be considering.
                    to connect with other people dealing with                    You can ask for an initial consultation to
                    similar issues and to share ways of handling                 help you determine whether there is a good
                    them.                                                        fit between you and a particular therapist.
                                                                                 Although some therapists will charge for
                    All of these types of counseling might be                    this consultation, many therapists do not,
                    covered by medical insurance or through                      especially those who provide free services.
                    the Victim of Violent Crime Compensation
                    & Assistance Division (“Victim of Violent                    If you decide to start counseling to help you
                    Crime Compensation”) of the Attorney                         deal with the emotional and psychological
                    General’s Office (described in greater detail                impact of the crime, there are several things
                    in Chapter Five) or might be available to you                you should be aware of before deciding on

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             a therapist. Choosing a qualified therapist is              Although many therapists are qualified to
                    one of the most important decisions a crime                 provide effective counseling in general,
                    victim can make in the recovery process.                    there are some therapists who do not have
Table of Contents   Your Advocate can provide referrals to                      sufficient training or clinical experience
                    counseling programs specific to your needs                  with the unique needs of crime victims.
                    or to therapists specializing in trauma-related             For instance, while many therapists may be
                    issues.                                                     trained to help a client work through issues
                                                                                of grief and loss, few have experience dealing
                    If you prefer to find a therapist on your                   with the additional complexities of grief
                    own, you have every right to “interview”                    in homicide cases. It is important that the
                    therapists. The backgrounds of therapists                   therapist you see has had prior experience
                    can vary widely; some are psychiatrists or                  dealing with trauma.
                    psychologists, others are social workers or
                    mental health counselors. You should ask                    The therapist you choose should be someone
                    all therapists you may be considering what                  you feel comfortable working with.
                    kind of training and education they have
                    had, whether they are licensed, and whether                 Paying for Mental Health
                    they have had prior experience working with                 Counseling
                    people confronting the same issues you face.
                    A good therapist will be happy to answer                    In selecting a mental health professional, you
                    these questions for you.                                    might first consider the services available free
                                                                                of charge. In exploring other options, you
                    You should also ask a potential therapist what              should always ask potential therapists about
                    kind of therapy he or she practices. There                  their fee structures. Most therapists accept
                    are many kinds of therapy and treatments,                   insurance, many others are willing to provide
                    working styles and areas of specialization.                 their services on a sliding fee basis or to
Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             defer billing if you request it, and others will             Office for Victims of Crime) through grants
                    accept payment from Victim of Violent Crime                  to community-based non-profit and public
                    Compensation if your claim for compensation                  agencies.
Table of Contents   is accepted.
                                                                                 All of these programs exist to help victims in
                    Victims of Crime Act (VOCA)                                  the aftermath of crime and safeguard their
                    Programs Providing Services for                              rights in the criminal justice system.
                    Victims of Crime
                                                                                 Private Insurance
                    The federal Victims of Crime Act helps
                    support free services to crime victims                       If you have private insurance or belong to a
                    across the country with funds that come                      health maintenance organization (HMO), you
                    from fines against convicted offenders. In                   should ask how mental health counseling is
                    Massachusetts, VOCA-funded programs                          covered. Typically, it is covered in one of two
                    provide specialized counseling and advocacy                  ways – one, a total allowable sum or payment
                    services to victims and survivors of various                 limitation or two, a set number of allowable
                    types of crime, such as sexual assault,                      sessions. You will also want to find out
                    domestic violence, child abuse and homicide.                 whether the therapist accepts your insurance
                    Funded services include crisis intervention,                 or is a designated provider covered by your
                    short and long term counseling, legal                        HMO. Your health insurance company may
                    advocacy, support groups and community                       guide you in finding a therapist who accepts
                    crisis response.                                             your particular coverage and specializes in
                                                                                 crime-related trauma. If your HMO does not
                    The Massachusetts Office for Victim                          have a therapist who specializes in crime-
                    Assistance (MOVA) distributes VOCA funding                   related trauma, you should ask whether the
                    (received from the U.S. Department of Justice,               policy of your HMO will allow you to choose

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             out-of-network providers. Many HMO mental                 Your provider must be licensed to practice (or
                    health guidelines require the victim to pay a             supervised by a clinician who is licensed) by
                    higher co-payment in such situations. These               one of the state boards for medical doctors,
Table of Contents   co-payments can be reimbursed by the state                psychologists, social workers or allied mental
                    if you qualify for benefits through the Victim            health professionals, and the fees charged
                    of Violent Crime Compensation program                     must be within the range of normal and
                    of the Attorney General’s Office.                         customary rates for the services provided.
                                                                              Finally, although there are no dollar or time
                    Victim of Violent Crime                                   limitations on the amount of counseling for
                    Compensation Program                                      which a victim can be compensated (beyond
                                                                                         the $25,000 maximum total per
                    Some victims qualify for funds             Your Advocate can         victim), the Victim of Violent Crime
                    for counseling for amounts not             help you determine        Compensation Division requires
                    covered by insurance. These funds         whether you may be         your mental health provider to
                    are provided through the Victim            eligible for Victim       submit an updated treatment plan
                    of Violent Crime Compensation                of Violent Crime        as a condition of further payment
                    and Assistance Division of the              Compensation to          when treatment extends beyond
                    Massachusetts Attorney General’s           pay for counseling.       six months or 30 sessions. See
                    Office. Victim of Violent Crime                                      Chapter Five for more details
                    Compensation is a “fund of last                                      on the Victim of Violent Crime
                    resort” and can be used for mental health                 Compensation & Assistance Division
                    counseling expenses that are not covered by               program and whether you are eligible for
                    insurance and are incurred as a direct result             this assistance.
                    of the crime. No compensation is awarded for
                    pre-existing mental health conditions unless
                    they have been exacerbated by the crime.

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Drunk Driving Trust Fund (DDTF)                             There are many ways a victim or survivor can
                    Programs Serving Victims of                                 become involved as an activist, and there
                    Operating Under the Influence                               are reasons that doing so might be helpful
Table of Contents   Crashes                                                     to you at different points in your life. This is
                                                                                a very individual decision and it is important
                    In Massachusetts, the DDTF is made up of                    to consider whether becoming an activist
                    fines from offenders convicted of operating                 will help your own healing process or not.
                    under the influence. MOVA distributes these                 You can always revisit this decision; it is
                    funds through grants to community agencies                  completely up to you if, when, and how you
                    which provide counseling, advocacy and                      work as an activist in your community.
                    support services across the Commonwealth.
                                                                                Ways to Become Involved
                    Victim Activism and the Victim
                                                                                In the aftermath of crime, many victims
                    Rights Movement
                                                                                become involved in the Victim Rights
                                                                                Movement to strengthen the rights of victims
                    Some crime victims feel a strong desire
                                                                                in the criminal justice system, to push for
                    to become activists — to prevent crimes
                                                                                new laws to hold offenders accountable and
                    from happening to others, or to change
                                                                                punish offenders, and to promote violence
                    the way society and the criminal justice
                                                                                prevention efforts in their communities. The
                    system respond to crime and crime victims’
                                                                                Victim Rights Movement in Massachusetts
                    needs. In fact, much of the progress made
                                                                                has an active network of grassroots activist
                    in responding to crime and serving crime
                                                                                organizations, including chapters of national
                    victims over the past several decades has
                                                                                organizations like Parents of Murdered
                    been due to the passionate work of crime
                                                                                Children and Mothers Against Drunk Driving
                    victims themselves.
                                                                                and others described in the resource section.

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             The lobbying efforts of some of these groups               Victim Rights Week Commemoration
                    were critical over the years to the passage
                    of legislative reforms, including the Victim               Since 1981, the last week in April has been
Table of Contents   Rights Law among others. These laws have                   designated “National Victim Rights Week.”
                    produced major changes in the way the                      During this week, victims of crimes and
                    criminal justice system in Massachusetts                   their families, Advocates, victim service
                    responds to issues affecting crime victims on              providers and others in the criminal justice
                    a daily basis.                                             system organize a variety of activities to
                                                                               commemorate those who have been killed,
                    Many victims find that getting involved                    harmed and affected by crimes and to
                    with grassroots organizations helps them                   generate public awareness on the impact of
                    to connect with other victims of crime                     violence.
                    who share similar experiences while doing
                    something positive for their community.                    As part of Victim Rights Week in
                    The changes that can be achieved through                   Massachusetts, MOVA sponsors an annual
                    legislative and community activism may                     Victim Rights Event at the State House
                    result in preventing someone else from                     in Boston. The day-long program is free
                    becoming a victim. Activism has helped                     and open to the public. Historically, about
                    many victims regain a sense of control and                 600 individuals participate, many of whom
                    meaning in their lives. Sometimes victims                  have been victims of crime or lost a family
                    who become activists can ignore their own                  member as a result of violence. The event
                    needs in their desire to help others. If you               provides a unique opportunity for victim
                    want to become involved as a victim rights                 service providers and victims to gather
                    activist, it is important that you make your               together to learn from one another and to
                    own emotional needs the first priority before              support victims’ rights. If you are interested in
                    trying to help others.                                     attending the event, please contact MOVA.

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Violence Transformed: More recently, the                     traumatizing event …the stress resulting from
                    Violence Transformed art exhibits have been                  helping or wanting to help a traumatized
                    planned in concert with MOVA’s Victim Rights                 person.” (Charles Figley in Compassion
Table of Contents   Event and Victim Rights Week. Violence                       Fatigue, 1995)
                    Transformed is a unique collaboration among
                    artists, victim activists, museum professionals,             The impact of a traumatic event on the
                    educators and community service providers                    victim is expressed in many ways. You may
                    who share a belief in the healing power of                   notice the victim experiencing not only
                    art. From shrines to peace gardens, murals to                emotional or psychological reactions, but
                    performance art, quilts to video installations,              also physical changes, forgetfulness or
                    Violence Transformed commemorates                            distractibility, or changes to your relationship.
                    victims and promotes the healing process.                    The victim might need you to stay closer, or
                                                                                 might be drawing away.
                    For Friends and Family of Victims:
                    When Someone You Love has                                    While you are struggling to cope and support
                                                                                 your loved one, you may be having your own
                    been Hurt…
                                                                                 reactions to their victimization. You may be
                                                                                 feeling more afraid yourself, and suspicious
                    A traumatic event has occurred to your loved
                                                                                 or jumpy. You may have difficulty sleeping,
                    one. Such events affect not only the victim
                                                                                 eating or carrying out your daily tasks. You
                    but can have far-reaching effects on the
                                                                                 may feel angry at the perpetrator or others
                    victim’s family, friends, neighbors, coworkers
                                                                                 for letting this happen to your loved one. You
                    and community as well. Secondary Traumatic
                                                                                 may feel guilty that there wasn’t something
                    Stress, Vicarious Trauma and Indirect Trauma
                                                                                 you could do to prevent it from occurring at
                    are all names for the “natural behaviors and
                                                                                 all. And you may feel helpless: helpless to
                    emotions that arise from knowing about a
                                                                                 make it better, to take away the pain, to “fix

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             it” for your loved one. Sometimes you may                       •	 Encourage the victim to seek medical
                    even feel angry at the victim for not “getting                     attention.
                    better” quicker, perhaps simply because you                     •	 Suggest the victim to talk with an Advocate,
Table of Contents   want the victim’s pain to stop.                                    therapist or counselor.

                    It is important to take care of yourself while                  •	 Help your loved one to access resources,
                    also responding to your loved one’s needs.                         when he or she is ready.
                    What are some of the ways you can help                          •	 Remember that those experiencing
                    your loved one? How can you maintain your                          traumatic stress may not have the energy to
                    emotional and physical health so you can                           reach out for help.
                    continue to be a resource to your loved one?
                                                                                    •	 Be present and attentive to your loved one
                                                                                       when you are able.
                    How to Support Your Loved One
                                                                                    •	 Know that you cannot remain available at all
                    •	 Listen without judging.                                         hours, indefinitely.
                    •	 Be patient — the healing process is just                     •	 Remember that it is okay to set limits
                       that, a process.                                                when you are overwhelmed or have other
                    •	 Let your loved one know the crime was not                       commitments.
                       his or her fault.                                            •	 Identify others the victim trusts who can
                    •	 The victim may feel responsible and may                         help step in to provide support when you
                       need to be reminded that this is not true                       are not available or need your own time
                       and that he or she did what was necessary                       and support.
                       to prevent further harm.
                    •	 Reassure the victim that he or she is cared
                       for, loved and believed.

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             How to Take Care of Yourself
                    •	 Recognize the impact of the traumatic
                       event on you, whether you witnessed the
Table of Contents
                       assault or learned about it from your loved
                    •	 Pay attention to your reactions; do not
                       dismiss or minimize the impact of the
                       experience on you.
                    •	 Take steps to respond to your own feelings
                       and reactions such as sleeplessness,
                       distractibility, irritability, hyper-vigilance, and
                    •	 Try not to let this event take over your life —
                       maintain your routines as much as possible.
                    •	 Take “time off” to recharge your batteries so
                       you can be a more effective support person.
                    •	 Stay in touch with friends and family not
                       affected by this event and ask for their
                    •	 Ask for help.

Trauma and the Healing Process
                                                                        In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Seeking Justice through the
    Criminal Justice System
Chapter             Seeking Justice through                                     This chapter also contains important
                                                                                information about safety planning, including
                    the Criminal Justice                                        details about applying for a restraining order.
                                                                                Whether you are involved in a criminal case
Table of Contents
                                                                                or not, Advocates can help you take steps to
                                                                                stay safe after a crime.

                    I f you are a victim of crime, you are
                      entitled to many rights and services in
                    the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
                                                                              If the crime against you has not yet been
                                                                              reported to the police, talking with an
                    Many of these rights and services involve                 Advocate might also help you make an
                    your experience with the criminal                                   informed decision about reporting
                    justice system and are detailed          The Massachusetts          the crime.
                    in the Victim Bill of Rights. This      Victim Bill of Rights
                    chapter discusses those rights             outlines all of the      Reporting a Crime to the
                    and services. Reading about these         rights and services
                    rights and services and discussing      you are entitled to as Police
                    them with an Advocate can                a victim or witness
                    help you to understand what to              of crime in the         Anyone who is physically,
                    expect from the criminal justice           Commonwealth.            emotionally, psychologically or
                    system if you are involved with a                                   financially harmed or threatened
                    criminal case. An Advocate is an                                    with harm as a result of a crime or
                    individual from a community based agency                  attempted crime is a victim. In Massachusetts,
                    or criminal justice agency whose role is to               once a crime is reported to the police, they
                    assist victims of crime and educate them                  conduct an investigation into the victim’s
                    about victim rights and services.                         report. Depending on the crime reported
                                                                                and circumstances, investigations can be
                                                                                brief and involve only a few questions, or

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System riminal Justice System m
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             long and include interviewing the offender                 case; rather the state (the Commonwealth
                    and witnesses to the crime and collecting                  of Massachusetts) and the defendant (the
                    evidence.                                                  accused) are the two main parties in the
Table of Contents                                                              case. This is because a crime is considered
                    Police must conduct investigations to                      a crime against society, even if it is against
                    determine whether they can file for criminal               one individual, so the government represents
                    charges. If the police find that probable                  the interests of its people against those
                    cause exists — that is, a reasonable                                 who break society’s laws. The
                    person would believe a crime was                                     victim is typically considered the
                                                                 Victim Witness
                    committed — the police will file                                     primary witness in the criminal case
                    for criminal charges. Once criminal                                  against the defendant though the
                                                                 provide victims
                    charges are filed, cases are handled           and witnesses         prosecutor is not the victim’s lawyer.
                    by the District Attorney’s Office in        with information
                    the area where the crime happened            and support to          The Victim Bill of Rights
                    (with a few exceptions for more                 ease many of         and the Victim Witness
                    minor or traffic offenses).                   the difficulties       Advocate Program
                                                                  a crime victim
                    As further explained in Chapter              may experience
                                                                                         In 1984, the Massachusetts
                    Three, during the court process a            throughout the
                                                                                         Legislature enacted M.G.L.c.258B,
                    victim may also be referred to as            criminal justice
                                                                      process.           the Massachusetts Victim Bill of
                    the complainant, witness or alleged
                                                                                         Rights. This critical statute provides
                    victim. Although the victim is the
                                                                                         rights and services to ensure a
                    person most directly affected by
                                                                               meaningful role in the criminal justice system
                    the defendant’s crime, when criminal charges
                                                                               for crime victims and for family members of
                    are brought as a result of that crime, the
                                                                               deceased victims, victims who are minors,
                    victim is not a formal “party” to the criminal

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System  riminal Justice System m
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             and victims with special needs.                                   a victim participate in a system that can
                                                                                      be complicated, confusing and frustrating.
                    Every District Attorney’s Office has a Victim                     Victim Witness Advocates work as a team
Table of Contents   Witness Assistance Program, staffed by                            with prosecutors to be a consistent link for
                    Victim Witness Advocates (VWA), in order                          the victim to the system and to serve as
                    to guarantee these rights.                                        personal contacts during the court process.
                                                                                      They provide victims and witnesses with
                    These rights generally fall into the following                    information and support to ease many of the
                    categories:                                                       difficulties a crime victim may experience
                                                                                      throughout the criminal justice process.
                    •	 The right to be informed about victim rights
                       and services in the criminal justice system.
                                                                                      The following describes many of the
                    •	 The right to receive specific information                      rights and services provided by Victim
                       about your criminal case.                                      Witness Advocates during the court
                    •	 The right to be heard and present at court                     process.
                                                                                      Protection of Victims’ Rights: Ensure that
                    •	 The right to confer with prosecutors at
                                                                                      victims and witnesses receive notice of their
                       major stages in the court process and about
                                                                                      rights as established under the Victim Bill of
                       major decisions.
                                                                                      Rights, MGL Ch 258B.
                    •	 The right to financial assistance.
                    •	 The right to be notified of an offender’s                      Crisis Intervention: Help victims and their
                       release or status in custody, jail or prison.                  families deal with their immediate needs
                                                                                      following a crime.
                    Many other important provisions are
                    included in this bill. The bill aims to help

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System    riminal Justice System m
                                                                       In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Court Appearance Notification: Notify all                   that may come from taking time off from
                     victims and witnesses when they need to                    work or school to come to court, or in paying
                    appear in court and to prevent unnecessary                  bills associated with the crime.
Table of Contents   court appearances whenever possible when
                    there are postponements.                                    Social Service Referrals: Provide victims
                                                                                and witnesses with referrals, such as referrals
                    Financial Information: Help determine                       to emergency housing, crisis counseling,
                    whether victims may be eligible for                         therapy, support groups and medical care.
                    restitution and/or Victim of Violent Crime
                    Compensation.                                               Expedited Property Return: Assist victims
                                                                                and witnesses in making arrangements for
                    Transportation: When possible and                           the return of their property or the return of
                    necessary, may assist in making travel                      the personal belongings of a deceased family
                    arrangements for victims and witnesses to                   member (note that some property may be
                    get to court.                                               needed as evidence in the trial and will not
                                                                                be returned until after the case is over).
                    Case Process Notification Services: Explain
                    various stages of the criminal justice system               Protection Services: Help victims and
                    to victims and witnesses and keep them                      witnesses with obtaining restraining orders;
                    informed of progress and next steps in the                  provide information and options if victims
                    case.                                                       and witnesses are threatened; assist with
                                                                                safety planning.
                    Employer/Creditor Intercession Services:
                    Through correspondence or direct contact,                   Confidentiality Protection: Inform victims
                    work with employers/creditors on behalf of                  and witnesses of their right to request that
                    victims and witnesses to avoid any problems                 their address, telephone number, place of

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice Systemriminal Justice System m
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             employment or school is kept confidential in                 also be scheduling conflicts as the court
                    the court record and in open court.                          works to assign additional hearing dates. Stay
                                                                                 in contact with your Victim Witness Advocate
Table of Contents   Secure Waiting Facilities: Provide                           and be sure to express concerns if the
                    a separate and secure waiting area in                        repeated court appearances are presenting
                    courthouses to minimize the contact                          problems for you. Please note that it is also
                    between victims and witnesses and the                        important to ensure that your VWA has your
                    defendant and the defendant’s relatives and                  current contact information so that they
                    witnesses.                                                   are able to keep you up to date on what is
                                                                                 happening with your case.
                    Potential Challenges Encountered
                    in the Criminal Justice System                               It is possible that the media will contact you
                                                                                 about the crime and seek more information
                    Understanding all of the ways in which the                   about your experience. Though the media
                    criminal justice system operates is often                    can be an important partner in the effort
                    difficult. Some of the challenges you’ll                     to effect positive change for the system’s
                    encounter are likely issues that neither                     response to victims, it can also serve as
                    you nor the prosecutor or Victim Witness                     another way to further traumatize you at
                    Advocate are able to control.                                a time when you are uniquely vulnerable
                                                                                 and unable to predict how you will feel or
                    It may seem that the case is taking too long                 respond to questions or news about your
                    and that court dates keep changing. The                      experience. Stay in contact with your Victim
                    prosecution or defense may need additional                   Witness Advocate about any media contact
                    time to prepare their cases and meet with                    as she or he will be able to help you deal
                    witnesses, or to file motions related to the                 with and respond to attention from the
                    evidence that will be presented. There may                   media.

                                                  riminal Justice System m
Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Emotional Impact of Participating                           from victimization. Some victims have also
                    in the Justice System                                       said that they felt supported and believed
                                                                                regardless of the outcome of their case; they
Table of Contents
                    For some victims, the emotional reaction to                 thought feeling proud of doing everything
                    victimization can be complicated by their                   they could to hold the offender accountable
                    involvement with the justice system. Because                was a measure of success in and of itself.
                    so much of the criminal process is beyond
                    the victim’s control and may require the                   Planning for Your Safety After
                    victim to re-live what happened, victims may               Crime
                    feel the process prolongs feelings
                    of victimization. In addition, other                                It is common for a crime victim to
                                                              A Restraining Order
                    events in the criminal justice system,                              feel unsafe or to fear retaliation
                                                                 or “209A order” is
                    like an appeal of the defendant’s                                   by the offender. Safety plans
                                                                an order by a judge
                    conviction or notification of an            that the abuser stop    are valuable tools if you are in an
                    offender’s release from prison may           abusing you, have      abusive relationship or are planning
                    trigger emotional reactions in crime       no contact with you      on leaving an abusive relationship,
                    victims all over again.                       and/or stay away      or if you worry about coming into
                                                                     from you.          contact with your offender again.
                    Despite the stress that goes along
                    with participating in the court                                     Safety plans may need adjusting as
                    system, many victims also feel empowered                   new situations arise. Talking with an Advocate
                    and satisfied by their participation in the                can help you assess your current situation
                    criminal justice system. Reporting a crime,                and create an individualized safety plan. Not
                    assisting in the prosecution of the case                   every suggestion will fit your situation; use
                    and bringing the offender to justice can be                your judgment and what you know about the
                    courageous first steps in a person’s recovery              abuser and the abuser’s patterns of behavior

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System riminal Justice System m
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             when deciding how to respond.                            with your advocate or attorney. It is not
                                                                             necessary to hire an attorney while you are
                    Protection Orders                                        applying for a 209A, however some victims
Table of Contents                                                            do rely on help and support from an attorney
                    Obtaining a 209A Restraining Order or a                  in these situations.
                    258E Harassment Prevention Order is just
                    one option for you to consider when seeking              Massachusetts law, under Chapter 209A,
                    safety. Whether or not you seek and obtain a             defines abuse as the occurrence of one or
                    Restraining Order or Harassment Prevention               more of the following acts:
                    Order from the courts, it is important that              •	 attempting to cause or causing physical
                    you make a safety plan.                                     harm
                                                                             •	 placing you in fear of imminent serious
                    Abuse Prevention Act - 209A                                 physical harm, and/or
                    Restraining Orders                                       •	 causing you to engage in sexual relations by
                    It is helpful to speak with an Advocate to                  force, threat of force or duress
                    discuss your specific circumstances and
                    explore your options. It is an important                 “Family or household members” are
                    decision and the laws and process can be                 defined as those who:
                    difficult to understand. You deserve to have
                                                                             •	 are or were married to each other
                    whatever assistance you need to be informed
                    fully and get your questions answered. The               •	 are or were residing together in the same
                    information contained below is a general                    household
                    overview of 209A and is not legal advice.
                                                                             •	 are or were related by blood or marriage
                    However, it may help you prepare to speak
                                                                             •	 have a child in common

                                                  riminal Justice System m
Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System
                                                              In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 are or have been in a substantive dating or                  •	 abuser must surrender FID (authorization to
                       engagement relationship                                         obtain/own firearms) and/or actual firearms

Table of Contents   A restraining order can order the abuser                        Restraining orders can be a combination of
                    to:                                                             some or all of the above options, depending
                                                                                    on what terms you request and whether
                    •	 refrain from abusing you
                                                                                    the judge agrees that there is enough
                    •	 vacate a residence which you share                           information to include them in the order.
                    •	 not to contact the you or your children, if
                                                                                    Note: Additional paperwork called the
                                                                                    ‘Plaintiff Confidential Information Form’ can
                    •	 stay away from a residence, workplace,                       be submitted with the 209A to request that
                       child’s school or wherever you may be                        your address, telephone number, and related
                                                                                    information be unavailable to the public,
                    A restraining order may also determine                          defendant and the defendant’s attorney. If
                    whether:                                                        you are requesting that the defendant be
                    •	 your address is impounded (kept                              ordered to stay away from your residence
                       confidential from the abuser) – see note                     or workplace, you must specifically request
                       below                                                        that your address be omitted from the court
                    •	 custody of the children will be awarded and
                       to whom                                                      Where should I go to apply for a 209A?
                    •	 abuser will pay support — for you and/or                     In order to apply for a 209A, you must go
                       child                                                        to the district court in the area in which
                                                                                    you are currently living. If you are seeking a
                                                                                    209A after court hours, on holidays or on the

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System  riminal Justice System m
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             weekends, you can apply for an emergency                    While Restraining Orders and Harassment
                    209A at your local police department. If                    Prevention Orders (to be called 258E from
                    granted, the temporary order will only be                   here) are similar, they differ in eligibility and
Table of Contents   valid until the court opens on the next                     what kind of relief can be provided.
                    business day. If you are seeking visitation,
                    custody, or child support as part of the order,             Again, it is helpful to speak with an Advocate
                    you may wish to seek relief through the                     to discuss you specific circumstances and
                    probate and family court in your jurisdiction.              explore your options. It is an important
                                                                                decision and the laws and process can be
                    What should I do if the 209A has been                       difficult to understand. You deserve to have
                    violated?                                                   whatever assistance you need to be informed
                    If a 209A is violated or you feel you are                   fully and get your questions answered. The
                    in danger, you should call the police                       information contained below is a general
                    immediately. Although 209A orders are civil                 overview of 258Es and is not legal advice
                    matters, violations may result in an arrest and             however it may help you prepare to speak
                    criminal charges against the defendant if the               with your advocate or attorney. It is not
                    defendant has been “served” with (legally                   necessary to hire an attorney while you are
                    notified of) the order.                                     applying for a 258E however some victims do
                                                                                rely on help and support from an attorney in
                    Harassment Prevention Act –                                 these situations.
                    258E Harassment Prevention
                                                                                You do not need to have a relationship with
                                                                                the defendant in order to qualify for a 258E
                    On May 10, 2010, “An Act Relative to
                                                                                however the form of harassment must meet
                    Harassment Prevention Orders” (G.L. c.
                                                                                one of the three following categories:
                    258E) was enacted in Massachusetts.

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System riminal Justice System m
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Massachusetts Law, under Chapter 258E                         •	 Rape
                    defines suffering from harassment as:
                                                                                  •	 Statutory rape
                    1. Someone has committed three (3) or more
Table of Contents   acts:                                                         •	 Assault with intent to rape
                    •	 That were willful and malicious                            •	 Enticing a child
                    •	 And we aimed at you,                                       •	 Criminal stalking
                    •	 And were intended to cause you fear,                       •	 Criminal harassment
                       intimidation, abuse or damage to property
                                                                                  •	 Drugging for sexual intercourse
                    •	 And did in fact cause you fear, intimidation,
                       abuse or damage to property                                What relief is available through the 258E
                                           OR                                     You may ask the court to order the defendant
                    2. Someone has caused you at least once
                                                                                  •	 Refrain from abusing or harassing you
                    to engage in sexual relations involuntarily by
                    using force, threat, or duress                                •	 Refrain from contacting you, unless
                                                                                     authorized by the court;
                                                                                  •	 Remain away from your household or
                    3. Someone has committed against you
                    at least one an act that violates any of the                  •	 Pay monetary compensation for losses
                    following crimes/statutes:                                       suffered as a result of the harassment (i.e.
                                                                                     loss of earnings; cost of replacement locks;
                    •	 Indecent assault and battery
                                                                                     medical expenses; cost for obtaining an

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System   riminal Justice System m
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              unlisted number)                                                 defendant is under 17 years old, you must
                                                                                      apply for a 258E in the juvenile court. If
                    The court cannot order:                                           you are seeking a 258E after court hours, on
Table of Contents                                                                     holidays or on the weekends, you can apply
                    •	 The defendant to vacate the residence
                                                                                      for an emergency 258E at your local police
                    •	 The defendant to surrender any firearms,                       department. If granted, the temporary order
                       firearms licenses, or firearms identification                  will only be valid until the court opens on the
                                                                                      next business day. You can not obtain a 258E
                    •	 Custody, visitation or temporary support
                                                                                      in Probate and Family Court.
                    Note: Additional paperwork called the
                                                                                      What should I do if the 258E has been
                    ‘Plaintiff Confidential Information Form’ can
                    be submitted with the 258E to request that
                                                                                      If a 258E is violated or you are in danger, you
                    your address, telephone number, and related
                                                                                      should call the police immediately. Although
                    information be unavailable to the public,
                                                                                      258E orders are civil matters, violations
                    defendant and the defendant’s attorney. If
                                                                                      may result in an arrest and criminal charges
                    you are requesting that the defendant be
                                                                                      against the defendant if the defendant has
                    ordered to stay away from your residence
                                                                                      been “served” with (legally notified of) the
                    or workplace, you must specifically request
                    that your address be omitted from the court
                                                                                      What if I qualify for both a 209A and a
                                                                                      258E order?
                    Where should I go to apply for a 258E?
                                                                                      If you qualify for both a 258E and 209A
                    In order to apply for a 258E, you must go
                                                                                      based on both relationship and actions that
                    to the district or superior court in the area
                                                                                      fall under the definition of abuse, there are
                    in which you are currently living. If the
                                                                                      several factors to consider:

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System   riminal Justice System m
                                                                       In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 Defendant’s access to firearms: the court has
                       the ability to remove a defendant’s firearms
                       with a 209A but not with a 258E
Table of Contents
                    •	 Need for the defendant to vacate your
                       residence: the court has the ability to
                       remove a defendant from a residence with a
                       209A but not with a 258E
                    •	 Specific needs you are seeking to include in
                       a protective order and whether the 209A or
                       258E is better for you based on those needs

                    You may want to discuss your unique needs
                    with an Advocate or attorney in order to best
                    determine whether a 209A or 258E would
                    best meet your needs. It is not required
                    or critical that you seek assistance from an
                    attorney however some victims may find
                    such consultation helpful.

                    Note: Any restraining order and harassment
                    prevention protection order issued
                    by another jurisdiction (both within
                    Massachusetts and from another state)
                    will be enforced in the Commonwealth of
                    Massachusetts for as long as the order is in

Seeking Justice through the Criminal Justice System riminal Justice System m
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
    Victims and the
Prosecution Process
Chapter             Victims and the                                              you better understand what to expect from
                                                                                 the court process and to help make your
                    Prosecution Process                                          involvement with the system less confusing.
                                                                                 The following presents an overview of the
Table of Contents
                                                                                 criminal court process, the prosecution and
                    B  eing involved in the court process can
                       be an empowering experience when
                    the offender is held accountable for his or
                                                                                 your role in it, and describes certain rights
                                                                                 and services available to you as a victim or
                                                                                 witness of a crime.
                    her actions — and even sometimes when
                    the outcome is different.                                    The chapter is organized into sections
                                                                                 because of the amount of complicated
                    But despite the potential benefits of                        information presented.
                    participating in the criminal justice system,
                    it can also be a frustrating, confusing and                  Part One
                    difficult experience for a few reasons.                      Initiating a criminal case: clerk magistrate
                    Courthouses can be overwhelming,                             hearings, grand jury proceedings,
                    constantly full of busy attorneys, judges and                arraignments and bail
                    police officers with their various workloads.
                    Also, the court system seems to have its                     Part Two
                    own language not easily understood by an                     Further court proceedings: conferences,
                    outsider, and its size, pace and complexity                  hearings, dismissals, pleas and trials
                    can make a person feel unsure, lost and even
                    intimidated. Sometimes, victims of crime and                 Part Three
                    their families are the only people involved                  Sentencing, Victim Impact Statements, and
                    with the case who have never been in court                   appeals
                    before and are left feeling like strangers in
                    the system.
                                                                                 Part Four
                                                                                 Cases involving juveniles and youthful
                    This chapter provides information to help
Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Part Five                                                    offender can be summonsed to testify. After
                    Questions of competency and criminal                         hearing the testimony, the Clerk Magistrate
                    responsibility as a defense, including verdicts              will decide whether there is probable cause,
Table of Contents
                    of not guilty by reason of insanity                          the legal basis for bringing charges against
                                                                                 an individual which begins the prosecution
                    Part One, Initiating a criminal                              of a case. Victims themselves may also
                                                                                 pursue Clerk Magistrate Hearings by filing
                    case                                                         an individual complaint in the absence of a
                                                                                 police-initiated complaint.
                    Cases come into the criminal justice system
                    in several ways, including through arrests,
                                                                                 Criminal cases are handled either in District
                    police complaints, individual complaints, and
                    indictments.                                                 Court or Superior Court. District Court has
                                                                                 authority over all misdemeanor criminal
                    Police responding to the report of a crime                   offenses and certain felony offenses.
                    might make an arrest based on the evidence                   Misdemeanors are defined by law as less
                    available to them. At other times, when                      serious offenses and are punished by a House
                    the police don’t have probable cause to                      of Correction or county jail sentence. For
                    make an arrest on the scene of a crime,                      crimes handled in the District Court, judges
                    they can ask for a Clerk Magistrate Hearing.                 can sentence a defendant to no more than
                    A Clerk Magistrate Hearing, also called                      2 1/2 years in the House of Correction (per
                    a “show cause hearing,” can be one of the                    charge).
                    first stages of the criminal justice system.
                    The police or an individual can request a                    Superior Court has authority over all crimes
                    Clerk Magistrate Hearing. Clerk Magistrate                   but generally exercises that authority over
                    Hearings usually happen for misdemeanor                      the most serious felony matters or criminal
                    charges, and if police initiated the process,                offenses of a more serious nature that are
                    the police officer will attend and testify                   punishable by harsher penalties. Judges
                    about the incident. Both the victim and the                  in Superior Court have broad discretion in

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             sentencing and can sentence a defendant                      Criminal Court Proceedings
                    from probation to the maximum sentence
                    allowed by law for a particular crime,                       Once a suspect is charged with a crime, the
Table of Contents
                    including serving time in State Prison.                      District Attorney’s Office is responsible for
                                                                                 prosecuting the case. The District Attorney
                    To be handled in Superior Court, cases must                  is an elected public official in each county
                    first go through the grand jury process. A                   who prosecutes crimes on behalf of the
                    grand jury is a group of no more than 23                     Commonwealth. Each District Attorney
                    citizens whose duty is to hear evidence in                   has Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs)
                    criminal cases as presented by the prosecutor                or prosecutors, who are attorneys with
                    and decide simply whether there is enough                    the primary responsibility for handling
                    evidence to charge an individual with a                      criminal cases against individuals accused
                    crime. Victims and witnesses, including police               of committing criminal offenses. They are
                    officers, are usually asked by the prosecutor                hired and paid for by the state and are not
                    to testify to a grand jury. If a majority of the             the victim’s attorney. However, they are
                    grand jurors believe that probable cause                     responsible for the interests of the individual
                    has been established — that is, that there is                victim in the case and of the public’s safety
                    reasonable cause to believe that the person                  in general. The District Attorney’s Office
                    accused committed a crime, then the grand                    also has Victim Witness Advocates (VWA)
                    jury will issue an indictment against the                    who inform crime victims of their rights and
                    defendant. An indictment, like a complaint,                  available services and to provide support
                    is a formal written statement issued by the                  and assistance through the criminal justice
                    grand jury indicating that there is sufficient               system.
                    evidence to charge a person with committing
                    a particular crime(s). Judges, defendants and                The length of the court process varies,
                    defendants’ attorneys are not present for                    depending on the type of crime charged,
                    grand jury proceedings and they are closed                   the type of evidence to be presented and
                    to the public.                                               whether a defendant pleads guilty (discussed

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             later in this chapter) or goes to trial. Cases in              proceeding in which the defendant is
                    which a defendant pleads guilty generally                      formally charged with a crime. During the
                    take a shorter period of time. Cases in which                  arraignment, the defendant appears before
Table of Contents
                    the defendant wants a trial can take much                      a judge, is told what the charges are, and is
                    longer. It is the defendant’s choice whether                   asked to plead guilty or not guilty to those
                    he or she will want a trial or plead guilty.                   charges. The defendant is also advised of
                                                                                   certain rights, including the right to an
                    Each District Attorney’s Office typically sends                attorney. Almost all defendants, regardless
                    case status letters to victims to inform them                  of their guilt or innocence, plead “not guilty”
                    of the progress of the case and the ADA and                    at arraignment to allow them to thoroughly
                    Victim Witness Advocate may call you as                        discuss their case with their attorney before
                    well. Be sure to talk with the ADA and Victim                  making important decisions. The defendant’s
                    Witness Advocate to provide information                        plea is the first step in the prosecution; a plea
                    about the case, ask questions and to provide                   of “not guilty” at the arraignment does not
                    your input into some of the important                          mean the defendant might not plead guilty
                    decisions. It is extremely important that you                  at some point later in the process.
                    maintain an updated address and telephone
                    number with the Victim Witness Advocate                        The Victim Bill of Rights gives you the right
                    assigned to your case so that you can be                       to request that personal information about
                    informed of important developments in your                     you and your family, such as home address,
                    case.                                                          telephone number, and place of employment
                                                                                   or school, remains confidential or is withheld
                    The sections that follow describe the                          from public view. It is important that you
                    different stages of the court process and the                  make this request before the arraignment
                    victim’s role during court proceedings.                        since much information about the case will
                                                                                   otherwise become part of the public record
                    Arraignment                                                    at this time. Please note that any statements
                                                                                   you make during the investigation must be
                    The arraignment is the first public court                      given to the defense attorney, the lawyer

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             representing the defendant, and that                         while the case is in process, he or she may
                    conversations with Victim Witness Advocates                  impose other requirements on the defendant.
                    are not confidential — that is, certain                      If you feel threatened by the potential
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                    information discussed with the ADA or Victim                 release of the defendant on bail or personal
                    Witness Advocate must be shared with the                     recognizance, it is extremely important that
                    defense attorney.                                            you tell the prosecutor or Victim Witness
                                                                                 Advocate assigned to the case before the
                    Determination of Bail                                        arraignment. Providing this information
                                                                                 allows the prosecutor to ask the judge to
                    Most defendants are released at arraignment                  order the defendant to stay away from you
                    if they are able to meet the bail requirement.               until the case is over. It is important to know
                    Bail is an amount of money or property                       that the judge makes the final decision on
                    a judge sometimes requires a defendant                       any conditions of a defendant’s release.
                    to pay to ensure that he or she shows up
                    in court for future court dates. Sometimes                   Although the main purpose of bail is to
                    at arraignment, judges can order that                        make sure the defendant returns to court,
                    a defendant be released on “personal                         judges are also allowed by Massachusetts
                                                                                 law to consider a defendant’s dangerousness
                    recognizance,” which means that the
                                                                                 in deciding bail. For some felonies,
                    defendant signs a promise to appear in
                                                                                 Assistant District Attorneys can request a
                    court whenever notified to do so and is not
                                                                                 dangerousness hearing, where the judge can
                    required to post bail. This kind of release is
                                                                                 hear testimony on whether the defendant is
                    common for defendants who have strong ties
                                                                                 such a threat to society that he or she should
                    to the community (such as family and work),
                                                                                 be held without bail (meaning that he or she
                    are considered unlikely to flee before trial and
                                                                                 must stay in jail pending trial). This hearing
                    who do not have a history of failing to appear
                                                                                 is sometimes referred to as a “58A” because
                    in court when ordered to do so.
                                                                                 of the particular law that allows for this type
                                                                                 of hearing to happen. If the prosecution
                    If a judge decides to release the defendant
                                                                                 requests a dangerousness hearing, the

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             court schedules the hearing within three                       Advocate handling the case know right away.
                    business days of the arraignment. After
                    considering testimony presented by the                         Part Two, Further court
                    prosecutor and defense attorney, if the judge
Table of Contents
                    finds that the defendant is dangerous to                       proceedings: Conferences,
                    himself, to the victim or to society, he or she                Hearings, Dismissals, Pleas and
                    can order the defendant be held without bail                   Trials
                    for up to sixty days. The burden of proof on
                    the prosecutor is high in a dangerousness                      Pre-trial Conferences and Hearings
                    hearing, and judges make such decisions
                    only in rare circumstances. It is critical that                The defendant’s arraignment is usually
                    you provide to the Assistant District Attorney
                                                                                   followed by a pre-trial conference and
                    and Victim Witness Advocate whatever
                                                                                   one or more pre-trial hearings. A pre-trial
                    information you have about your concerns
                                                                                   conference is held between the arraignment
                    for your own and others’ safety regarding the
                    defendant’s release.                                           and the pre-trial hearing to allow the
                                                                                   Assistant District Attorney and the defense
                                                                                   attorney to exchange required information
                    Defendants are entitled to bail review
                                                                                   and discuss how the case may proceed. This
                    hearings if they believe the amount of bail
                                                                                   process, called “discovery,” includes certain
                    set by the judge is too high. The hearing
                                                                                   types of information, or evidence, about the
                    can occur at any time after bail has been
                                                                                   case, including police reports. The pre-trial
                    set, but usually occurs within a few days of
                                                                                   conference and discovery process typically
                    the arraignment. Many District Attorneys’
                                                                                   take place outside of court, not with a formal
                    Offices and County Houses of Correction
                                                                                   hearing, and victims are not usually present.
                    have developed ways to provide notice of
                                                                                   The prosecutor might ask you to attend
                    a defendant’s release on bail when victims
                                                                                   the pre-trial hearing, or you might want to
                    request it. If you want to be notified of
                                                                                   consider attending if the prosecutor expects
                    a defendant’s release, you should let the
                                                                                   any significant changes or developments to
                    Assistant District Attorney or Victim Witness

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             occur. You can talk with the Assistant District                 •	 The Assistant District Attorney and defense
                    Attorney and Victim Witness Advocate                               attorney may continue to disagree and the
                    beforehand about whether you are expected                          judge will set another pre-trial hearing date
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                    or would like to attend, especially if they find                   or trial date.
                    out there is a chance the defendant may
                    plead guilty on a pre-trial court date.                         The Assistant District Attorney and Victim
                                                                                    Witness Advocate can help explain the
                    At the pre-trial hearing, which does take                       information that is specific to your case,
                    place in court, the prosecutor and the                          answer your questions and get your input.
                    defense attorney give the judge the
                    information that was shared at the pre-trial                    Dismissals and Guilty Pleas
                    conference. There are a few possible results
                    of the pre-trial conference and hearing:                        The District Attorney’s Office may consider
                    •	 The District Attorney’s Office may file a                    dismissing or reducing charges for several
                       document with the court stating that they                    reasons:
                       decided not to prosecute the defendant                       •	 The evidence may be insufficient to
                       (“dismissal”).                                                  prosecute if the judge excludes critical
                    •	 An Assistant District Attorney may decide                       evidence or witnesses are unavailable or
                       that he or she needs to reduce the charges                      uncooperative.
                       to be more consistent with the evidence                      •	 New evidence may emerge that weakens
                       in the case and their ability to prove the                      their ability to prove the charges and
                       charges.                                                        convict the defendant.
                    •	 The defendant may decide to change a                         •	 The defense attorney may make a motion, a
                       “not guilty” plea to “guilty”, or “admitting to                 legal request, to dismiss the case for various
                       sufficient facts” (explained below).                            legal reasons.

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Depending on the circumstances of the case,                  away from the victim, pay restitution, attend
                    the Assistant District Attorney can ask the                  counseling or other court-based programs,
                    judge to dismiss the case in one of two ways:                or complete community service). When
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                    “with prejudice” or “without prejudice.” Cases               the defendant has successfully completed
                    that are “dismissed with prejudice” cannot                   probation, the continuance without a finding
                    be brought back into the court system at a                   means that the defendant will not have a
                    later date. Cases that are “dismissed without                conviction on his record.
                    prejudice” allow a prosecutor to bring the
                    charges against the defendant again at a                     These outcomes are often part of a process
                    later date if, for example, new information or               called plea negotiations, which refer to
                    evidence comes to light. Before your case is                 the discussions the defense attorney and
                    dismissed, however, the Victim Bill of Rights                Assistant District Attorney have regarding the
                    requires that the Assistant District Attorney                outcome of a case without having a trial. If
                    talk with you about why the case is being                    an agreement is reached, both parties return
                    dismissed.                                                   to court to request the judge’s approval of
                                                                                 the proposed plea agreement. The judge
                    In other circumstances, the evidence of the                  may accept or reject the agreement. The
                    defendant’s guilt may be so strong that                      parties do not have to agree to the sentence;
                    the defendant decides to change his or her                   sometimes, the prosecutor and defense
                    plea to guilty of the crime as charged. The                  attorney may request different sentences. If
                    defendant may also plead guilty to one                       the judge wishes to give a heavier sentence
                    or more of the charges or to less serious                    than proposed by the prosecutor in the
                    charges.                                                     plea, the defendant has the right to take
                                                                                 back his guilty plea and move toward a trial.
                    The defendant may also agree to a                            The defendant has the right to change his
                    continuance without a finding (CWOF).                        or her plea to guilty at any time. By doing
                    With a CWOF, the judge will typically order                  so, he or she gives up his or her right to a
                    the defendant to be on probation with                        trial. According to the Victim Bill of Rights,
                    certain conditions (for example, to stay                     you have the right to have input into the

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             sentence by discussing it with the Assistant
                    District Attorney and by providing a Victim                     In many circumstances, the victim also
                    Impact Statement, described later in this                       benefits if a defendant pleads guilty. Plea
Table of Contents   chapter, when the judge needs to make a                         agreements may spare a victim from
                    sentencing decision.                                            having to experience the emotional stress
                                                                                    of testifying and minimize the time and
                    Many criminal cases are resolved through                        inconvenience victims often experience in
                    pleading guilty or by “admitting to                             the criminal justice system. Pleas also make
                                                                                    a conviction certain and often final since
                    sufficient facts,” which means the accused
                                                                                    defendants give up their right to a trial and
                    admits that there is enough evidence that
                                                                                    typically their right to appeal their conviction
                    would likely make a jury or judge find him or
                                                                                    as well. Pleas also often give the prosecutor
                    her guilty. In pleading guilty, sometimes the
                                                                                    more options to negotiate for the victim.
                    defense benefits because the defendant may
                                                                                    For instance, the prosecutor may be able to
                    be convicted of a less serious offense and is
                                                                                    arrange for the voluntary return of property
                    spared the legal expenses of a trial.
                                                                                    that was stolen from the victim, require that
                                                                                    the defendant participate in a counseling
                    Sometimes, the prosecution benefits from
                                                                                    program or require that the defendant pay
                    plea negotiations because the conviction
                                                                                    restitution to the victim as part of the plea
                    of the defendant is then guaranteed, which
                                                                                    agreement. The prosecutor may not be able
                    is not the case if a judge or jury decides.
                                                                                    to assure the victim of the same results if the
                    Prosecuting a criminal case always involves
                                                                                    case were to go to trial.
                    a level of uncertainty. Even a case that
                    appears to be very strong may not result in
                                                                                    Despite these benefits, the concept of plea
                    a conviction at trial. In some cases, there is
                                                                                    agreements is still upsetting to some victims
                    a possibility that key evidence may not be
                                                                                    because a plea agreement may result in a
                    allowed at trial if the judge decides that it
                                                                                    conviction for a less serious offense or in
                    was obtained in violation of the law or for
                                                                                    a lighter sentence. Some victims believe
                    other reasons.
                                                                                    that reducing the charges minimizes what

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             the defendant did to them. And yet plea                    as a witness, but you have a right to attend
                    agreements are a common and often                          all the proceedings if you would like to do so.
                    effective way of resolving cases. You are                  In certain cases, a defense attorney may make
Table of Contents
                    encouraged to discuss your thoughts and                    a motion to obtain confidential information
                    feelings with the Assistant District Attorney              about a victim, like psychiatric counseling
                    and Victim Witness Advocate to make sure                   records. Such motions or requests are often
                    your input is heard and that you understand                made for the records of victims of sexual
                    the reasons for a particular decision and                  assault or domestic violence. If the defense
                    outcome.                                                   attorney makes a motion to obtain your
                                                                               confidential information, the Victim Bill of
                    Motion Hearings                                            Rights requires that the Assistant District
                                                                               Attorney discuss the matter with you before
                    During the pre-trial period, the Assistant                 a hearing is held. The judge is required to
                    District Attorney and defense attorney may                 follow specific procedures to determine
                    file motions with the court about certain                  whether and how such records can be used
                    pieces of evidence or points of law related                at trial. The thought of having one’s private
                    to the case. Motions are formal legal ways                 records exposed in a court setting can be
                    in which the lawyers ask judges to make                    extremely upsetting. You have every right
                    legal decisions in the case, like whether a                to discuss the types of confidential records
                    piece of evidence or a witness can be used                 that concern you with the Assistant District
                    at trial. The judge may hold a hearing with                Attorney and Victim Witness Advocate
                    arguments from the prosecution and the                     assigned to the case.
                    defense or may simply decide based on the
                    papers submitted. Defense attorneys and                    Postponements and Continuances
                    Assistant District Attorneys routinely make
                    motions to postpone the case to a later date               Despite a clause in the Victim Bill of Rights
                    if they need additional time to prepare. For               which provides for a victim’s right to a
                    the most part, you do not need to be present               prompt disposition of a criminal case, the
                    at hearings on motions unless you are called

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             court process often takes much longer than                 concerns.
                    victims expect. Unfortunately, court hearings              Trial Proceedings
                    and trials sometimes cannot take place as
Table of Contents
                    planned. Scheduling conflicts among the                    The Victim Bill of Rights requires that
                    judge, prosecutor and defense attorney                     the Assistant District Attorney discuss the
                    are likely, and the unavailability of key                  case and trial with you before it happens.
                    witnesses on certain days may require court                Typically, the Assistant District Attorney or
                    proceedings to be postponed to a later date.               Victim Witness Advocate will review the case
                    In addition, scientific testing of evidence,               and the trial process with you, answer your
                    like DNA, may be necessary or there may                    questions and hopefully help ease your stress
                    be a need for additional investigation.                    and fears.
                    These are all legitimate, though frustrating,
                    reasons for a judge to grant a continuance                 The defendant has the right to choose
                    or postponement. It does not mean that the                 whether he or she wants to be tried before
                    case is unimportant or being ignored.                      a judge or jury. A trial before a judge is
                                                                               also referred to as a jury-waived trial. If the
                    If a court proceeding has been postponed,                  defendant chooses a trial by jury, jurors must
                    and the postponement is known in advance,                  be chosen from a pool of ordinary citizens
                    your Victim Witness Advocate will inform                   who have been summonsed for jury duty.
                    you of the change in schedule and hopefully                All potential jurors are required to complete
                    prevent unnecessary appearances in court.                  questionnaires that assist prosecutors and
                    It is a good idea to call the Victim Witness               defense attorneys in making decisions about
                    Advocate the day before any court event to                 which jurors to accept. Both sides have the
                    confirm the date and time or to be placed                  right to request that a juror be dismissed
                    on telephone standby if that is possible. If               if they feel that a person has a bias which
                    having to come to court creates problems                   could unfairly influence the jury. Superior
                    with your work or school, you should let your              Court criminal trials are heard by a twelve-
                    Victim Witness Advocate know so that she or                member jury and District Court criminal trials
                    he can work with you to help address these                 are heard by a six-member jury (usually with a

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             few additional jurors as alternates in case one                 After the prosecution and the defense have
                    of the jurors unexpectedly needs to leave).                     had the opportunity to offer their evidence
                                                                                    to the court, each side summarizes its view
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                    Once the jury has been selected and the                         of the case during closing arguments. No
                    trial begins, the Assistant District Attorney                   new evidence may be presented at this
                    and, in most cases, the defense attorney,                       stage. Once closing arguments have been
                    make opening statements to explain what                         made, the judge will give instructions to
                    they expect the evidence will prove during                      the jury on the law and what they need to
                    the trial. The prosecution makes his or                         consider in order to convict the defendant of
                    her opening statement first because the                         that particular crime. Based on the evidence
                    prosecution has the responsibility or burden                    presented and the judge’s instructions on the
                    of proving that a crime was committed and                       law, the jury then discusses or deliberates in
                    that the defendant is the perpetrator. The                      private on whether the Commonwealth (the
                    defense then has the option of making an                        prosecution) presented enough evidence to
                    opening statement following the prosecutor.                     prove the defendant is guilty of the crime
                                                                                    charged “beyond a reasonable doubt”.
                    Evidence can be presented in the form                           Most people have heard the expression
                    of physical items that may be relevant to                       “guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” but this
                    the case, such as a weapon recovered at                         language can be confusing and misleading.
                    the crime scene, or as witness testimony.                       In criminal cases, the judge instructs the jury
                    During the trial, various witnesses are called                  on what “reasonable doubt” means and you
                    to testify by answering questions by both                       can discuss this with the Assistant District
                    the prosecutor and the defense attorney.                        Attorney and Victim Witness Advocate as
                    The prosecution and the defense may also                        well.
                    call expert witnesses to provide testimony.
                    An expert witness is someone such as a                          It is often validating for the victim to hear the
                    medical examiner, doctor, criminologist,                        Assistant District Attorney’s closing argument
                    psychologist or psychiatrist.                                   because it usually presents the victim’s
                                                                                    side. On the other hand, it can be very

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             distressing to hear the defense attorney’s                  own. The judge may then order that the
                    closing argument as he or she will be trying                witness (the victim or family member) wait
                    to convince the jury that the defendant is                  outside and not be allowed to observe
Table of Contents
                    not responsible for committing the crime.                   the trial. This is called a “sequestration
                    It is best to talk with the Assistant District              order” of witnesses and may apply to any
                    Attorney and Victim Witness Advocate in                     or all witnesses for the prosecution and the
                    advance to prepare for what you might hear                  defense. The defendant, however, always has
                    and the stress and upset you may feel as a                  the right to be present to hear and see all the
                    result.                                                     witnesses and evidence presented against
                                                                                him or her. The judge will also order that
                    The Victim Bill of Rights gives the                         witnesses not discuss their testimony with
                    victim the right to be present during                       each other. If the prosecution and defense do
                    court proceedings unless a judge decides                    not expect to call the witness to the stand
                    otherwise for legal reasons. If you wish, you               again, the judge may allow the witness to
                    can bring friends or family members with                    return to the courtroom once he or she has
                    you to court to provide emotional support                   completed his or her testimony.
                    during the trial. In homicide cases, unless
                    the judge decides otherwise, one family                     Virtually anyone with direct or personal
                    member of the victim may be able to bring                   knowledge of a crime, direct victim or
                    a photograph (not be larger than 8 x 10                     witness, may be called to testify as a witness.
                    inches) of the deceased into the courtroom.                 If you are a witness, you will be notified by
                    The photograph may not be displayed in the                  a written summons or subpoena given to
                    presence of any jury members.                               you, which tells you when and where you
                                                                                are required to appear in court. Witnesses
                    Victims or family members may only be                       who fail to appear in court as indicated on a
                    excluded from the trial when they are                       subpoena may be subject to a fine or have
                    scheduled to testify as a witness and the                   a warrant issued for their arrest. Witnesses
                    judge determines that hearing the testimony                 are entitled to receive a small witness fee of
                    of other witnesses could influence their                    $6.00 plus a mileage allowance for each day

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             that they are subpoenaed to appear in court.              examination.” Then both attorneys have
                    Testifying at Trial                                       another opportunity for “redirect or re-
                                                                              cross examination,” where he or she can ask
Table of Contents   As mentioned, you may be called to testify at             you further questions in order to clarify your
                    the trial as a witness for the prosecution.               responses.

                    The Assistant District Attorney and Victim                You may feel afraid or nervous about
                    Witness Advocate will help you prepare for                testifying in court. Although you want to see
                    testifying in court and help you understand               justice done and do not want the charges
                    what to expect when you testify. Once you                 dropped, you may have concerns and fears
                    are in court, when the clerk calls your name,             about testifying, including making a mistake
                    you will take an oath to tell the truth and               or not remembering things on the witness
                    then you will take the witness stand. At some             stand, or fear of being cross-examined by
                    point in your testimony, the prosecutor will              the defense attorney. When testifying, there
                    most likely ask you if you see the defendant              may be times when you don’t understand
                    in the courtroom and if you can identify him              a question, are uncomfortable answering a
                    or her.                                                   question or simply don’t remember. The ADA
                                                                              and Victim Witness Advocate will provide you
                    Because the evidence heard by the                         with guidance about testifying. You should
                    judge and jury must follow certain legal                  be honest with them about your concerns
                    procedures, witnesses tell what they know                 and discuss the suggestions they have to
                    about the crime through a question and                    assist you.
                    answer format. First, you will be asked to
                    answer specific questions asked by the                    Guidelines for Witnesses
                    prosecutor – this portion of your testimony
                    is called “direct examination.” After the                 Availability
                    prosecutor has finished questioning you,                  You should be available as needed for the
                    the defense attorney has the right to ask                 duration of the trial. You may be put on call if
                    you further questions, also known as “cross-

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                               In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             the prosecutor is not sure when the case will                 Do your best to remain calm and focused in
                    go to trial. The Assistant District Attorney and              order to answer the questions to the best
                    Victim Witness Advocate will let you know                     of your ability. If you feel a serious need
Table of Contents
                    what date and time to be in court. Be sure                    for a break, you can let the judge know. It
                    to arrive on time. Sometimes employers or                     is important to take your time, make sure
                    schools will want a letter documenting your                   you understand the questions asked and
                    attendance in court in addition to a copy of                  ask for them to be repeated if necessary or
                    the summons. The Victim Witness Advocate                      explained if the questions include confusing
                    can assist you with this letter and help                      words. If you don’t understand a question, it
                    explain your absence from work or school.                     is always best to say so and if you’re not sure
                                                                                  of the answer, it is best to say that as well. It
                    Personal Appearance                                           is very important that you do not guess. The
                    A trial is a formal proceeding, and it is                     best you can do is tell the truth to the best of
                    important to dress neatly and conservatively,                 your memory and knowledge.
                    but comfortably. Try to avoid distracting
                    mannerisms such as yawning, nail biting,                      Addressing the jury
                    laughing, or facial expressions like eye rolling,             When you testify, you should address your
                    etc.                                                          testimony to the jurors rather than to the
                                                                                  attorney asking the questions and speak in a
                    The Oath                                                      loud clear voice.
                    You will take an oath of truth before taking
                    the witness stand. Lying under oath is a                      Defense Attorneys
                    serious and punishable offense.
                                                                                  A defense attorney represents a defendant
                    Cross Examination                                             in criminal or civil proceedings. It is the
                    The defense attorney is an advocate for the                   defense attorney’s legal responsibility to
                    defendant and may ask questions that upset                    provide a strong defense for the accused.
                    you or imply that you are lying. Testifying is                To do so, the defense attorney may say
                    difficult and can be emotionally exhausting.                  things that you find extremely upsetting.

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Being cross-examined by the defense can                     have in order to find a defendant guilty of the
                    be a difficult experience for any witness, but              crime. The judge defines “reasonable doubt”
                    particularly for a victim. Although there are               for the jury in his or her jury instructions at
Table of Contents
                    rules limiting how the defense attorney can                 the conclusion of the trial.
                    question you and about what, he or she is
                    allowed to ask the victim about information                 When a criminal case goes to trial, there is
                    covered during the victim’s direct testimony                always the risk that the defendant will be
                    by the Assistant District Attorney and about                acquitted. An acquittal is the legal and
                    things that the judge says are relevant to                  formal determination — by either judge or
                    believing a witness, known as a witness’                    jury — that there is not enough evidence
                    credibility. Discuss your concerns about                    to prove that the defendant committed the
                    possible questions with the ADA and Victim                  crimes charged beyond a reasonable doubt.
                    Witness Advocate when they help prepare
                    you for your testimony and the entire trial                 Hearing that a defendant has been acquitted
                    experience.                                                 at a trial can be devastating to victims and
                                                                                survivors. For a variety of reasons, and despite
                    Findings and Verdicts                                       everyone’s best efforts, the evidence in
                                                                                the case may not be strong enough for a
                    When all testimony has been heard at trial                  judge or jury to convict. It is important to
                    and the Assistant District Attorney and                     remember that a “not guilty” verdict does
                    defense attorney have presented their closing               not necessarily mean that a defendant is
                    arguments, the judge or jury will privately                 innocent of the crime or that the jury did not
                    discuss or deliberate on the evidence                       believe you. It means only that the jury felt
                    presented during the trial and return a                     that the evidence presented was not enough
                    finding, known as a verdict. All members of                 to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the
                    the jury must agree on the verdict. A finding               defendant was guilty of the crime.
                    of “guilty” must be “beyond a reasonable
                    doubt”, which is the legal term used to                     Sometimes jurors may not be able to agree
                    describe the level of certainty a juror must                on a verdict and become deadlocked in their

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             deliberations. If they cannot all agree and                he or she must tell the judge why in his or
                    reach a unanimous verdict, the judge will                  her report.
                    declare a mistrial. The prosecutor then must               In Massachusetts, the judge is the person
Table of Contents   decide whether to have another trial against               who decides what sentence to give the
                    the defendant at a later date before a new                 defendant. At the sentencing hearing, the
                    jury. The prosecutor and VWA will discuss this             defendant and his or her attorney have the
                    outcome and next steps with you.                           right to present any mitigating circumstances
                                                                               that might cause the judge to lessen the
                    Part Three: Sentencing, Victim                             punishment. Mitigating circumstances
                                                                               are factors that do not excuse a criminal
                    Impact Statements, and Appeals                             act but which may reduce the severity of
                                                                               the sentence. Some crimes, including first
                    Sentencing                                                 and second degree murder convictions are
                                                                               punishable by mandatory sentences set by
                    If a defendant is found guilty, the judge can              law.
                    sentence him or her immediately or set a
                    future date for sentencing. The judge may                  In most crimes, the judge has a wide range of
                    ask for a pre-sentence investigation by the                sentencing options to consider, including:
                    probation department. Before the Assistant
                    District Attorney submits a sentencing                     •	 placing a defendant on probation
                    recommendation, victims have the right
                                                                               •	 ordering the defendant to be jailed or
                    to talk with both the prosecutor and the
                    probation officer, who supervises a convicted
                    offender, about the impact of the crime on                 •	 imposing a fine and/or restitution, or both
                    you as a victim and about the proposed
                    sentence recommendation. The prosecutor                    •	 requiring participation in rehabilitation and/
                    is required to tell the judge what you think                  or treatment programs
                    of the sentence recommendation, and if the                 •	 issuing a sentence involving some
                    probation officer is unable to talk with you,
                                                                                  combination of these sanctions

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter                                                                        verbal statement in court. Different judges
                                                                               may handle this process in different ways; the
                    Where there is more than one criminal                      Assistant District Attorney and Victim Witness
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                    charge in a single case, the judge can order               Advocate can give you more information
                    that sentences for each crime be served at                 about what to expect.
                    the same time (known as concurrent) or one
                    after the other (known as consecutive).                    A few suggestions to keep in mind when
                                                                               preparing a Victim Impact Statement:
                    Victim Impact Statement                                    •	 Write a rough draft and consider whether
                                                                                  you want to discuss it with someone you
                    The Victim Bill of Rights entitles all                        trust. Your Victim Witness Advocate can
                    victims of crimes to present a Victim                         address questions you may have.
                    Impact Statement to the judge at the
                    sentencing hearing in court. The Victim                    •	 Try to express your anger and upset in
                    Impact Statement is a written and/or oral                     ways that the judge will hear and better
                    statement describing the physical, emotional,                 understand. Avoid using offensive or
                    psychological and financial injuries victims                  harassing language.
                    have suffered as a result of the crime
                    committed by the defendant. In the Victim                  •	 Include details about how you and your
                    Impact Statement, you also have the right to                  family were hurt as a result of the crime,
                    express your views to the judge about what                    not how the crime happened. This is your
                    you feel is an appropriate sentence, including                opportunity to talk about the impact of the
                    any request for restitution or no contact. The                crime, not the specific facts that the judge
                    judge will hear and/or read the Victim Impact                 heard at length during the trial or through
                    Statement before sentencing is imposed. A                     court records.
                    victim can read it aloud, have the prosecutor
                    read it for him or her, or submit it to the                •	 Focus your Victim Impact Statement on
                    judge in writing and make an additional                       any or all of these categories: emotional/
                                                                                  psychological impact, physical impact,

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              financial impact and sentencing                               help from family members, your counselor or
                     recommendation.                                               your Victim Witness Advocate. Victim Impact
                                                                                   Statements are provided to defense counsel
                    •	 Personal feelings and memories you                          prior to sentencing and become part of the
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                       have are important for the judge to hear,                   defendant’s record.
                       including how your quality of life and
                       relationships have changed as a result of                   Emotional impact:
                       the crime.
                                                                                   •	 How has your life and the lives of those
                    •	 Remember that you are making this                              close to you changed as a result of the
                       important statement to the judge who is                        crime?
                       responsible for deciding on the sentence.
                       Therefore, do not speak directly to the                     •	 What are some of the feelings you have
                       defendant but know that a copy of the                          experienced?
                       written statement is provided to the                        •	 What are some of the reactions you have to
                       defense attorney and defendant, and the                        cope with now? Do you have trouble eating,
                       defendant will be present in court to hear                     sleeping, etc?
                       your verbal statement.
                                                                                   •	 Has there been a change in how you are
                    Questions to guide you in preparing your                          able to relate to others like your family and
                    Victim Impact Statement                                           friends?
                                                                                   •	 Have you been to a doctor or a counselor
                    The following questions are simply to give                        to get support or counseling? It is up to you
                    you an idea of the type of information you                        how much of this information you want to
                    may want to include in your statement. The
                    Victim Impact Statement is a way for you as
                    a victim to address the judge and let him or
                    her know how the crime affected you. When                      Physical impact:
                    preparing your statement, it is okay to seek

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 What are some of the physical injuries you                  Within sixty days after a judge decides a
                       or your family suffered?                                    sentence or final appeals of a conviction
                                                                                   have been heard (as described below), a
                    •	 How long did these injuries take to heal or                 defendant has the right to make a motion
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                       how long does the doctor say it will take to                to “revise and revoke” the sentence. This
                       heal?                                                       means that the defendant is seeking to have
                    •	 What medical treatment did you get or will                  the sentence reviewed by the trial court. In
                       you need in the future?                                     most instances, these requests are made
                                                                                   for the purpose of reducing the sentence.
                    •	 How have the injuries changed your lifestyle                If a motion to revise and revoke is filed, a
                       such as going to school, work or playing                    hearing may be held where the prosecution
                       sports?                                                     and the defense argue their positions on
                                                                                   the issues before a judge (not necessarily
                    Financial impact:                                              the same judge who heard the case at trial).
                                                                                   If the judge determines the sentence is too
                    •	 How has the crime affected you or your                      harsh or unjust, he or she has the authority
                       family’s ability to work or the number of                   to change the original sentence. Speak to
                       days you missed from work?                                  your Victim Witness Advocate about being
                                                                                   notified of these motions.
                    •	 What bills have you paid or do you owe
                       because of the crime?                                       An offender seeking to have a sentence
                    •	 What are the costs for dental, medical, or                  revised in some way or to have a sentence
                                                                                   completely revoked must formally ask the
                       psychological treatment?
                                                                                   court for a hearing. The court notifies the
                    •	 What are the costs for prescription                         District Attorney’s Office if a request for such
                       medication or physical therapy?                             a hearing is granted.

                    Revised and Revoked Sentences

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter                                                                         conviction to the state Appeals Court to
                                                                                determine whether he or she received a fair
                    Appeals                                                     trial. In some instances, those decisions may
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                                                                                be further appealed the state’s highest court,
                    The Appellate Division of the Trial Court                   the Supreme Judicial Court.

                    If a defendant receives a sentence to                       In deciding an appeal, the Appeals Court will
                    State Prison (for more information on the                   determine whether the trial was conducted
                    correctional system please see Chapter                      in accordance with legal and procedural
                    Four), the defendant has a right to file an                 rules. In response to the defendant’s appeal,
                    appeal within 10 days seeking review of the                 the District Attorney’s Office files a legal
                    sentence by a panel of three Superior Court                 brief opposing the defendant’s arguments.
                    Judges. This panel, known as the Appellate                  Appeals are filed and decided based only on
                    Division of the Superior Court, sits once or                legal decisions made by the trial judge; it is
                    twice a year to hear requests for sentence                  not an opportunity to have appeals judges
                    review. The Appellate Division has the power                hear factual testimony all over again. This is
                    to raise or lower the sentence, or to leave it              why only lawyers make legal arguments to
                    the same. In the great majority of cases, no                the Appellate judges and no testimony by
                    formal hearing is scheduled and the sentence                witnesses is required. It is important to note
                    is left unchanged. You should let the                       that only defendants can appeal a conviction;
                    Assistant District Attorney and Victim Witness              the prosecutor cannot.
                    Advocate assigned to your case know if you
                    would like to be notified if the defendant                  The Appeals Process and Victims
                    makes this type of request for review of his or
                    her sentence.                                               Witnesses do not testify before an Appellate
                                                                                Court. The victim does not have a role in the
                    The Massachusetts Court of Appeals                          appeals process but may attend the court
                                                                                proceedings in which oral arguments by
                    Every defendant has the right to appeal a                   the defendant’s appellate counsel and the

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             state’s appellate counsel are presented. The
                    Commonwealth cannot appeal a verdict.
                    Although appeals are common, most guilty                    Part Four: Proceedings Involving
                    verdicts remain unchanged. The policy to
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                    notify victims of appeals varies from county                Juveniles and Youthful Offenders
                    to county. You should speak with your Victim
                    Witness Advocate if you would like to be                    Although cases involving juveniles under the
                    notified of an appeal. If an appellate court                age of seventeen may be handled differently
                    decides to overturn a defendant’s conviction                by the criminal justice system, you are still
                    and grant a new trial, victims and witnesses                entitled to rights as a crime victim as outlined
                    are entitled to all the rights and services                 in the Victim Bill of Rights.
                    during the second trial that are provided in
                                                                                Individuals who are younger than 17 are
                    the Victim Bill of Rights.
                                                                                considered juveniles by the justice system.
                    If a serious case such as homicide is                       Different types of prosecutions are possible
                    overturned on appeal, the DA’s Office will                  when a juvenile delinquent is under the age
                    make every effort to contact you before the                 of 17. Some may be prosecuted as juveniles
                    news is in the media. In some circumstances,                or as youthful offenders, depending on the
                    despite best efforts, the news media receive                nature of the offense or the juvenile’s offense
                    notice of a reversal from the Appeals Court                 history.
                    before or at the same time that notice is
                    given to the District Attorney’s Office. If the             Juvenile Court
                    case involving you is appealed, it is important
                    that you maintain current addresses and                     For trials involving delinquency offenses,
                    telephone information with your Victim                      the term used in juvenile court, juveniles are
                    Witness Advocate to help ensure timely                      entitled to only one trial and must choose
                    notification.                                               between a trial before a judge or a jury in
                                                                                the same manner as adult offenders. A jury
                                                                                automatically hears trials involving juveniles

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             unless the juvenile files a written waiver and                whether or not to proceed by complaint
                    consents to be tried by a judge without a                     or indict a juvenile as a youthful offender.
                    jury. Such waivers are not accepted unless                    Youthful offender cases are tried in Juvenile
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                    the juvenile is represented by an attorney or                 Court or District Court. In these cases, the
                    it is provided through his or her parent or                   judge has all the powers that a judge sitting
                    guardian.                                                     in the Superior Court would have including
                                                                                  the option of imposing an adult sentence.
                    Juvenile proceedings remain closed to the
                    general public; however, victims and their                    Indicting a Youthful Offender
                    family members have a right to attend all
                    juvenile proceedings as outlined in the Victim                To seek an adult sentence for a youthful
                    Bill of Rights.                                               offender, the prosecutor must obtain an
                                                                                  indictment by a Grand Jury. The indictment
                    Youthful Offender cases                                       means that the youthful offender, if
                                                                                  convicted, may receive an adult sentence.
                    A youthful offender is defined as a juvenile
                    between the ages of fourteen and seventeen                    Open Court Proceedings for Youthful
                    who has been charged with a felony and:                       Offenders
                    •	 has previously been committed to the                       Juvenile court proceedings have historically
                       Department of Youth Services (DYS), the                    been closed to all those who do not have
                       juvenile correction system, or                             a direct interest in the case. However, the
                    •	 is charged with threatening or inflicting                  Juvenile Justice Reform Act, a law passed
                       serious bodily harm, or                                    in 1996, allows court proceedings in which
                                                                                  juveniles have been indicted as a youthful
                    •	 is charged with one of certain firearms                    offender to be open to the public. In
                       offenses.                                                  addition, it allows court records to be open
                                                                                  to the public in the same manner as adult
                    The District Attorney’s Office decides                        criminal records.

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter                                                                          •	 a report by the probation officer about the
                                                                                    history of the youthful offender
                    Youthful Offender Sentencing
                                                                                 •	 the youthful offender’s previous court and
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                    If a youthful offender is convicted, a                          delinquency records
                    sentencing hearing must be held if the                       •	 the success or lack of success of any
                    prosecutor is seeking an adult sentence. At                     past rehabilitation efforts or treatments
                    the sentencing hearing, the judge has three                     regarding the youthful offender
                                                                                 •	 the type of services available through the
                    •	 Commit the juvenile defendant to the                         juvenile justice system
                       Department of Youth Services until the age
                       of 21.                                                    •	 the youthful offender’s age and maturity
                    •	 Commit the juvenile defendant to the                      •	 the likelihood of future criminal conduct
                       Department of Youth services until the age
                       of 21 with a consecutive suspended adult                  Juveniles Charged with First or Second
                       sentence.                                                 Degree Murder
                    •	 Impose any adult sentence provided by law                 Juveniles charged with murder are
                       for the offense.                                          automatically charged as adults and, if
                                                                                 convicted, will be sentenced as adults. This
                    The law requires the judge to examine                        means a sentence of life without parole for
                    several factors in deciding a sentence. These                murder in the first degree, and life with the
                    are:                                                         possibility of parole after fifteen years for
                                                                                 murder in the second degree. Juveniles under
                    •	 the nature, circumstance and seriousness of               the age of seventeen who are sentenced
                       the offense                                               to adult prison for murder are held at the
                                                                                 DYS Plymouth Secure Unit separate from
                    •	 the Victim Impact Statement

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             adult offenders. These offenders cannot be                       it is found that the defendant is mentally ill,
                    classified or held in adult prison facilities                    and his or her release could result in serious
                    before age seventeen.                                            harm, the defendant can be hospitalized with
Table of Contents
                                                                                     periodic reviews, for competency. Be sure
                    Part Five, Questions of                                          to let the District Attorney’s Office know if
                                                                                     you want to be notified of updates of such
                    competency and criminal                                          reviews.
                    responsibility as a defense, and
                    verdicts of not guilty by reason of                              If the court finds the defendant mentally
                                                                                     ill and incompetent to stand trial, but
                    insanity                                                         not dangerous, the court may release
                                                                                     the defendant back into the community.
                    In order for a defendant to be prosecuted it
                                                                                     The court has no power to hold mentally
                    must be clear that he or she is competent
                                                                                     ill defendants who are not considered
                    to stand trial. Massachusetts law defines
                                                                                     dangerous to others.
                    competency as the defendant being aware
                    of the purpose of the legal proceedings,
                    the roles of all the players in the court                        Criminal Responsibility
                    proceedings, and how such a proceeding is
                    conducted. Most importantly, the defendant                       The law states that the prosecutor must
                    must be able to participate in his or her                        prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the
                    defense and be able to communicate                               offender committed the crime and that
                    effectively and assist his attorney in his                       he or she can be held responsible for his
                    defense.                                                         or her criminal behavior. Some defendants
                                                                                     will argue that they are not “criminally
                    If a judge determines that a defendant is                        responsible” for their behavior.
                    incompetent to stand trial, the prosecutor
                    can ask that the defendant be committed                          In order to prove that a defendant is not
                    to a mental hospital. After a court hearing, if                  criminally responsible, the defense must

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             prove four things:                                           If the defendant in your case is arguing
                                                                                 that he is not guilty by reason of insanity,
                    •	 the defendant is suffering from a mental                  the judge will order a commitment hearing
                       disease or defect                                         to determine if the defendant is to be
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                    •	 such mental disease or defect existed at the              committed to a state mental hospital. The
                       time the crime was committed                              Victim Witness Advocate and Assistant
                                                                                 District Attorney should talk with you about
                    •	 the defendant could not appreciate the                    what this means for you and for the criminal
                       wrongfulness of his/her act or conform his/               case.
                       her behavior to the law, AND
                                                                                 Defendants who have been civilly committed
                    •	 a specific mental disease or defect results               by the court to a mental hospital are in
                       in the defendant’s inability to appreciate                the custody of the state Department
                       the wrongfulness of the act or conform the                of Mental Health (DMH) or Bridgewater
                       behavior to the law                                       State Hospital, which is a facility of the
                                                                                 Department of Correction. Male offenders
                    Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity                             who are committed to a mental health
                                                                                 facility and require a high level of security
                    If a defendant is found not guilty by                        are committed to Bridgewater State Hospital.
                    reason of insanity, that defendant is legally                Other offenders, including all females, are
                    acquitted despite having committed the acts                  committed to DMH and are placed in locked
                    with which he or she has been charged. This                  secure facilities. In addition, offenders who
                    result means that a judge or jury was not                    have been committed to Bridgewater State
                    convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that                     Hospital may be transferred to a Department
                    the defendant understood that his or her                     of Mental Health facility at any time after a
                    acts were against the law, or had the ability                judge determines that they are no longer in
                    to conform his or her conduct to the law                     need of Bridgewater’s strict security.
                    because of mental defect or illness.
                                                                                 Information regarding these offenders is

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             deemed confidential by the Department of                      prevent these facilities from notifying victims
                    Mental Health and Bridgewater State Hospital                  directly of an offender’s discharge. However,
                    unless it clearly impacts the victim’s safety                 some District Attorneys’ Offices do have
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                    and well-being. Therefore, victims in these                   procedures for notifying victims in these
                    cases do not have the same notification                       cases. Speak to your Victim Witness Advocate
                    rights as they do in other cases. Speak to your               about this possibility.
                    Victim Witness Advocate about your rights in
                    these cases and other steps you can take to
                    keep yourself safe.

                    In Massachusetts, offenders found not guilty
                    by reason of mental illness can be released
                    once it is determined they no longer pose a
                    likelihood of serious harm to themselves or
                    others as a result of mental illness.

                    Massachusetts law requires licensed mental
                    health professionals to warn and take
                    precautions to protect any identified person,
                    such as the victim in the original criminal
                    case, if the offender makes an explicit threat
                    during therapy or if the professional believes
                    the offender has the ability to carry out those

                    Prior to an offender’s discharge from a
                    mental health facility, the facility must notify
                    the court and the District Attorney’s Office
                    that handled the case. Confidentiality laws

Victims and the Prosecution Process
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
   Post Disposition
Services for Victims
Chapter              Post Disposition Services                                     offenders sentenced to prison or a house of
                                                                                   correction, victims’ concerns may center on
                     for Victims                                                   the offender’s eventual release from custody.
                                                                                   The Victim Bill of Rights mandates that all
Table of Contents

                    I  n the previous chapter we discussed                         victims and family members of deceased,
                                                                                   incompetent or minor victims have the
                       your involvement in the criminal justice
                                                                                   right “upon request to advance notice when
                     system and how cases move through the                         an offender is moved from a secure to a
                     system. In those cases where a defendant                      less secure facility, has received temporary,
                     is convicted or has admitted to sufficient                    provisional or final release from custody, or
                     facts, the victim’s ability to participate may                escapes.” In order to be notified of release or
                     continue. Some victims may want to be                         obtain information about an offender from
                     informed of post-conviction proceedings                       post-conviction agencies, victims must apply
                     and decisions regarding the offender. This                    for certification from the Department of
                                                                                   Criminal Justice Information Services.
                     chapter will briefly discuss some of these
                     options and provide resource information                      In Massachusetts, there are three different
                     so that you may inquire further.                              types of correctional facilities — jail, the
                                                                                   house of correction and state prison. The
                     Massachusetts has a number of state                           Assistant District Attorney and Victim Witness
                     agencies involved in the punishment,                          Advocate will be able to tell you to which
                     incarceration and rehabilitation of criminal                  facility the defendant or defendants in your
                     offenders. Recognizing the needs of crime                     case will likely be sentenced. This information
                     victims, these agencies have instituted                       is discussed in more detail later in this
                     programs and policies to meet those needs.                    chapter.

                     For offenders on probation, victims’ concerns
                     may focus on restitution and other conditions
                     of probation such as stay away orders. For

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              Department of Criminal Justice                        an offender’s release from custody and
                     Information Services                                  the right to get additional criminal record
                     Victim Service Unit                                   information about an offender. These rights
                                                                           to notification and information are not
Table of Contents    200 Arlington Street, Suite 2200
                                                                           automatic; they are provided only upon
                     Chelsea, MA 02150                                               request. When victims request
                     (617)-660-4690 or                                               this petition and if it is granted,
                     (617) 660-4606 (tty)                       Your Victim          they become certified petitioners.
                     617-660-5973 (fax)                      Witness Advocate        Victims must be certified to receive
                     vnr.info@state.ma.us                  can help you request this notification and information
                     and website mass.gov/cjis/vsu            a Notification of      by the Criminal History Systems
                                                            Offender’s Release       Board. The Victim Services Unit of
                     The Department of Criminal           from the Department DCJIS is responsible for processing
                     Justice Information Services           of Criminal Justice      these certification applications
                     (DCJIS) manages the Criminal                Information         from crime victims. All applications
                     Offender Record Information (CORI)       Services as soon       are kept confidential and it is
                     process, which allows for certain        as the offender is     up to the victim to keep DCJIS
                     information about offenders to be            sentenced.         notified of changes in contact
                     shared with the criminal justice                                information so that DCJIS can
                     community, crime victims and the                                provide the requested inmate status
                     general public. Any member of the public              notifications.
                     can request information about the status
                     of an inmate and certain information about                   Probation Department
                     the offender’s criminal record. On certain                   Office of the Commissioner of Probation
                     situations victims of previous crimes can file a             One Ashburton Place Room 405
                     citizen initiated petition to be notified when               Boston, MA 02108
                     the offenders is going to be released.                       617-727-5300
                     Victims have the right to be notified of

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              Probation is one type of sentence that,                      Supervision
                     instead of incarceration, allows the offender
                     to be released into the community under                      Most offenders, once sentenced to probation,
Table of Contents
                     certain conditions. Throughout the probation                 are assigned a probation officer for
                     period, the offender is required to follow                   supervision. Probation officers monitor the
                     these conditions and may be under the                        offender’s compliance with the conditions
                     supervision of a probation officer. In                                 of probation, direct the offender to
                     the majority of criminal cases where                                   appropriate counseling programs
                                                                 Victims are asked
                     the offender is convicted or admits             occasionally           and assist the offender in obtaining
                     to sufficient facts, the offender is                                   a job. These offenders are required
                                                                      to testify at
                     placed on probation for part of or                                     to follow the conditions of
                                                                surrender hearings
                     for the entire sentence imposed.                                       probation, for the period of time
                                                                   if the identified        determined by a judge. Conditions
                                                                 violations pertain         may include an order to stay away
                     A victim’s involvement with the
                     probation department usually               to them such as the         from the victim, though – unlike a
                     relates to probation conditions             offender violating         restraining order – such an order is
                     affecting the victim. Under the             a no contact order.        not criminally enforceable.
                     Victim Bill of Rights, crime victims        While the District
                     are entitled to receive a copy of            Attorney’s Office         Surrender and Revocation
                     the conditions of probation, the          may not be involved
                     restitution payment schedule, if              in this hearing          A probation officer who believes
                     any, and the name and telephone              process, you may          an offender has violated conditions
                     number of the probation officer           seek assistance from         of probation may try to surrender
                     assigned to supervise the offender.       your Victim Witness the defendant — that is, ask the
                     Your Victim Witness Advocate can                  Advocate.            judge to order the defendant to
                     help you obtain this information.                                      court for a hearing. The court then
                                                                                            holds a surrender hearing to decide
                                                                                  whether the violations warrant a probation
                                                                                  revocation. During a surrender hearing the

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              probation officer presents information to                          (called a presentence report).
                     the judge and may recommend that the
                     offender serve the remaining sentence in a                      •	 The right to receive a copy of the schedule
                     correctional institution or to continue with                       of restitution payments and the name and
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                     probation. The judge determines if a violation                     phone number of the probation officer
                     has occurred and whether the offender                              responsible for supervising the offender’s
                     should be incarcerated as a result. The judge                      payment.
                     may order additional conditions or sanctions
                                                                                     •	 The right to receive notice from the
                     other than incarceration at this hearing. If the
                                                                                        probation officer and be heard at any
                     violation of probation is based on a
                     new criminal charge, it is likely the                                       hearing about possible changes to
                     Assistant District Attorney will be            If you would like to         the restitution order.
                     involved in this process.                      receive information
                                                                                                 •	 The right to request
                     An offender can seek to have his or               such as whether
                                                                                                 confidentiality of victim information
                     her revocation status changed or                   the defendant
                                                                                                 such as home address, telephone
                     reversed by making a formal request             finds employment,
                                                                                                 number, place of employment or
                     of the court. The District Attorney’s               or completes
                     Office is not usually involved in this           certified batterers
                     process.                                            intervention            •	 The right to expect a probation
                                                                   program, you should officer to assure that victims are
                     Duties to Victims                             contact the probation afforded these rights.
                     The Victim Bill of Rights outlines a                                        Access to any other probation
                     Probation Officer’s responsibilities to                                     information is limited and controlled
                     victims. These rights include:                                  by law. Please contact the probation
                                                                                     department if you are seeking access to this
                     •	 The right to consult with the probation                      confidential information.
                        officer prior to the filing of a report to the
                        judge with sentence recommendations                          Probation officers are responsible for

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              monitoring an offender’s payments, which                   also run by the County Sheriff to house
                     are made to the probation department, and                  convicted offenders who are sentenced
                     for ensuring that the victim then receives a               for less than 2 1/2 years per charge or for
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                     check for any restitution paid by the offender.            crimes which the law considers less serious,
                     If you are scheduled to receive restitution but            misdemeanor crimes. A State Prison is the
                     have not received it, contact the probation                correctional facility run by the Department
                     officer supervising the offender. Also, if the             of Correction to house convicted offenders
                     offender is seeking to modify a restitution                who are sentenced to terms of 2 1/2 years
                     order, the Victim Bill of Rights mandates                  or longer per charge or for crimes which the
                     that the supervising probation officer notify              law determines to be more serious, usually
                     you of the proposed change. The law also                   a felony. In some cases, if a defendant is
                     gives you the right to be heard at                                    sentenced to less than 2 1/2 years
                     any hearing on this issue.                                            but has previously served time for
                                                                     Your Victim           a felony, that defendant will be
                                                                  Witness Advocate
                     For victims whose offender should be able to tell housed in the state prison rather
                                                                                           than the house of correction.
                     is incarcerated                             you if the defendant      Sentences to state prison do not
                                                                   will be held at a       have a minimum and the maximum
                     In Massachusetts, offenders are held        House of Correction       is life without the possibility of
                     in one of three types of correctional        or a State Prison.       parole (the mandatory sentence for
                     facilities. If an adult is sentenced to                               First Degree Murder).
                     a term of incarceration, the severity
                     of the offense and the length of the sentence
                                                                                County Houses of Correction
                     will be significant in determining where the
                     inmate is incarcerated.
                                                                                The House of Correction system in
                                                                                Massachusetts is operated on the county
                     A Jail is usually run by the County Sheriff and
                                                                                level by the local Sheriff’s Department.
                     holds defendants awaiting trials. A House of               The Sheriff is responsible for housing
                     Correction is a county correctional facility               inmates sentenced to the County House

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              of Correction, transporting prisoners and                          the actual release date is complicated and
                     housing offenders on bail who are awaiting                         can change with “good time” credits, and
                     trial.                                                             because the date often comes much sooner
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                                                                                        than a victim expects, victims who want to
                     Release Notification                                               know an offender’s release date must get
                                                                                        certified immediately and maintain current
                     The House of Correction in each county                             contact information with the Department of
                     has a designated contact person to provide                         Criminal Justice Information Services.
                     notification of an offender’s release from a
                     county correctional facility. Some Sheriff’s                       Department of Correction
                     Departments have a Victim Advocate                                 Victim Service Unit
                     who responds to victims’ concerns, assists                         999 Barretts Mill Road
                     with safety planning and other resources                           West Concord, MA 01742
                     and provides notification of an offender’s                         (978) 369-3618,
                     release. The Victim Bill of Rights entitles                        toll free, (866) 6VICTIM (866-684-2846)
                     all CORI-certified victims to receive advance
                     notification whenever an offender is moved
                                                                                        The Massachusetts Department of
                     from a secure facility to a less secure facility,
                     has been given a temporary, provisional or                         Correction (DOC) oversees numerous adult
                     final release from custody, or escapes. If you                     correctional facilities throughout the state.
                     are CORI-certified, the contact person at                          The DOC’s mission is to promote public
                     the county correctional facility where the                         safety by incarcerating offenders while
                     offender is serving a sentence will provide                        providing program opportunities designed
                     this information to you.                                           to reduce recidivism, or further criminal
                                                                                        behavior. These two goals help determine
                     When an inmate is to be released, the County                       which correctional facility is most appropriate
                     Houses of Correction are required to notify                        for the offender. Within the Department
                     victims in writing and by telephone in                             of Correction is the Victim Services Unit
                     advance of the release. Because calculating                        (VSU), which provides information, assistance

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                         In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              and support to victims of crime and other                     Inmate Classification Procedures
                     concerned individuals whose offenders are in
                     Department of Correction custody.                          When a male offender receives a state prison
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                                                                                sentence, he is transported directly from
                     An important aspect of the Department                      court to the Massachusetts Correctional
                     of Correction’s role through the VSU is to                 Institution MCI-Cedar Junction in Walpole
                     provide victims with information about                     for booking, admission and an initial
                     the correctional system and notification of                          classification review. Once the
                     an inmate’s custody status. The                                      inmate has been reviewed and
                     Victim Bill of Rights entitles CORI-      You are encouraged         his security risk and program
                     certified victims to receive advance       to contact the VSU        needs have been evaluated, he is
                     notification whenever an inmate              to ask questions,       transferred to a correctional facility
                     is transferred to an institution that     express concerns or        appropriate to his needs and risk
                     is lower than medium security,              ask for assistance.      level. Maximum security is the
                     receives a final release date or           It is also important      most secure facility in the state and
                     receives an emergency escorted               that you update         generally houses those inmates
                     release. Victims will also be notified      your information         who have demonstrated disruptive
                     if the inmate dies. While extremely                                  behavior while incarcerated.
                                                                 with DCJIS or the
                     rare, escapes are the highest
                                                                DOC every time it
                     priority and properly certified                                      Female offenders who receive state
                                                               changes. This is the       prison sentences are transported
                     victims are notified immediately.
                     The DOC is able to notify victims          only way to ensure        directly from court to MCI-
                     as long as the victim has provided         you will be notified      Framingham. Female offenders
                     them with updated contact                    in a timely way.        undergo the same classification
                     information throughout the inmate’s                                  process as male offenders and
                     incarceration.                                                       may also be transferred to another
                                                                                correctional facility.

                                                                                   All inmates are reviewed by the classification

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              board at least once a year. The DOC uses an                  VINE
                     objective point-based classification system to
                     determine which level of security the inmate                 VINE or Victim Information and Notification
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                     requires. There are four security designations               Everyday, is a free, anonymous, computer-
                     which correspond to the type of facility in                  based telephone service that is provided by
                     which an offender is incarcerated: maximum,                  the Department of Correction. Once a victim
                     medium, minimum and pre-release. Each                        is CORI-certified and has registered for VINE,
                     security level has structural barriers to                    the victim will receive automatic notification
                     prevent inmate escape and otherwise control                  through a computerized service if an
                     the behavior of inmates. Inmates may be                      offender is released, transferred, escapes or
                     transferred between similarly secure facilities.             dies while in the custody of the Department
                     If an offender is to be moved from a medium                  of Correction. The victim will also be able
                     facility to a minimum or pre-release facility or             to call a toll-free number, which is available
                     returned to a higher security, the Department                24 hours a day, to check on an offender’s
                     of Correction will notify any CORI-certified                 custody status. For more information, call
                     victims. In pre-release, inmates may leave                   the Massachusetts Department of Correction
                     the facility daily for education or work in the              Victim Service Unit or the toll free VINE line
                     community to better prepare them to re-                      at 877-421-8463. Additionally, VINELink is the
                     enter society as they near the end of their                  web-based extension of the VINE service
                     prison sentence. Inmates may be moved                        www.vinelink.com.
                     from one medium security facility to another
                     for various reasons; because these moves
                     do not result in lower security, victims are                 Sentence Computation
                     not automatically notified of these changes.
                     However, if notification is desired, certified               Calculating an offender’s actual release date
                     petitioners may register for the DOC’s VINE                  is a complicated process. Offenders can get
                     service.                                                     credit for time they served while awaiting
                                                                                  trial and may also be eligible for “statutory”
                                                                                  credits and earned credits. Both types of

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              credits are explained below. Victims who                      The maximum term imposed will be added
                     wish to know a general time frame or specific                 to the effective date of sentence, resulting
                     release date must remain in contact with the                  in the maximum release date and can only
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                     Department of Correction to ensure they                       be reduced if the inmate earns credit while
                     receive the most up-to-date information                       incarcerated. “Good time” credits may be
                     concerning an offender’s release date.                        earned for participation in work, education
                                                                                   and other approved programs. Credit is
                     Statutory Credits vs. Earned Credits                          awarded at the rate of 2.5 days per category,
                                                                                   up to 7.5 days per month.
                     State law allows most inmates to reduce
                     their sentence by participating in approved                   Massachusetts Parole Board
                     programs. The Department of Correction                        Victim Services Unit
                     is responsible for recording and calculating                  12 Mercer Road
                     such credits.                                                 Natick, MA 01760
                                                                                   (508) 650-4500, toll free, (888) 298-6272
                     Most inmates serving time for an offense
                     committed before July 1, 1994 are entitled to
                                                                                   The Massachusetts Parole Board is an agency
                     statutory credit. Exceptions include inmates
                                                                                   within the Executive Office of Public Safety
                     serving a life sentence or those convicted
                                                                                   authorized to grant paroles, supervise the
                     of certain sex offenses. Statutory credit is                  parolees, and make recommendations
                     based on the maximum term of sentence and                     to the Governor in regard to pardons
                     ranges from 2.5 days to 12.5 days per month,                  and commutations. Annually the agency
                     which is determined by the maximum term                       conducts approximately over 10,000 face-
                     imposed.                                                      to-face parole release hearings; supervises
                                                                                   8,000 parolees; provides reentry services to
                     Inmates who committed an offense after July                   approximately 700 state offenders leaving
                     1, 1994 are not entitled to statutory credit,                 custody with no post release supervision; and
                     as result of the Truth in Sentencing Law.                     provides more than 19,000 notifications and

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              assistance to thousands of victims.                        services to victims, including collecting
                     The Parole Board is composed of seven                      victim input for the Parole Board; providing
                     members appointed by the Governor to                       notification of parole hearings and board
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                     serve staggered, five year terms. The mission              decisions; providing information about parole
                     of the Parole Board is to make decisions                   and the CORI process; assisting victims in
                     about whether to release an inmate on                      completing impact statements; providing
                     parole, taking into account input from                     referrals to other criminal justice agencies
                     victims, members of law enforcement,                       and community-based service providers; and
                     District Attorneys, correctional staff,                    enhancing the community’s knowledge and
                     treatment providers and the public. If a                   understanding of the parole process through
                     decision is made to release an inmate,                     community outreach, education and training.
                     Parole Board members set conditions of
                     parole intended to safely and effectively                  Parole Eligibility
                     guide the offender from a correctional
                     setting to the community in such a way that                Parole eligibility is determined by the
                     he or she can become a productive, law-                    crime and the type and length of sentence
                     abiding citizen. The agency supervises the                 imposed. The date on which an offender
                     individual in the community and the Parole                 becomes eligible for parole is set by statutes
                     Board may modify the conditions at any                     and regulations. For all offenders, the parole
                     time based on the changing needs of the                    eligibility date is tentatively calculated at
                     parolee. The Parole Board also serves as the               the start of the offender’s incarceration. As a
                     Governor’s Advisory Board of Pardons and                   result of the Truth in Sentencing Law enacted
                     makes recommendations on all pardon and                    July 1, 1994, the formula for determining
                     commutation petitions filed.                               parole eligibility dates changed for offenders
                                                                                who committed crimes after July 1, 1994.
                     The Parole Board established a Victim Service
                     Unit to assist crime victims through the                   Offenders serving state prison sentences for
                     parole process. Working to ensure victim                   crimes against a person (i.e. violent crimes)
                     rights, Victim Service Coordinators provide                committed before July 1, 1994, are generally

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              required to serve at least two-thirds of their                 eligibility date to CORI-certified petitioners.
                     minimum sentences, minus the amount of                         The victims may also contact the Victim
                     time accumulated through earned credits.                       Services Unit to determine the parole release
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                     Offenders serving state prison sentences for                   status of the offender.
                     committing other crimes (i.e. property crimes)
                     are generally required to serve at least one-                  Parole Hearings
                     third of their minimum sentence, minus the
                     amount of time accumulated through earned                      There are two types of Parole hearings that
                     credits. Offenders sentenced after July 1, 1994                victims may attend: Lifer Hearings and Victim
                     are required to serve at least the minimum                     Access Hearings. Up to 60 days prior to an
                     term of the sentence (for example 7-10 years),                 offender’s parole eligibility date, a parole
                     minus the amount of time accumulated                           hearing is scheduled to consider whether the
                     through earned credits. Offenders serving                      offender is suitable for parole release. The
                     House of Correction sentences of 60 days or                    criteria used to assess suitability for parole
                     longer are eligible for parole after serving                   release is defined by statute. Massachusetts
                     one-half of their sentence.                                    General Laws (M.G.L. c. 127§130) states that
                                                                                    “no prisoner shall be granted a parole permit
                     Offenders serving life sentences for first                     merely as a reward for good conduct but
                     degree murder convictions are not eligible                     only if the Parole Board is of the opinion
                     for parole. Offenders serving life sentence                    that there is a reasonable probability that,
                     for all other crimes (i.e. 2nd degree murder,                  if such prisoner is released, he will live and
                     armed robbery, aggravated rape) are                            remain at liberty without violating the law,
                     eligible for parole after serving a mandatory                  and that his release is not incompatible
                     minimum of fifteen years. Offenders serving                    with the welfare of society.” Parole hearings
                     other mandatory sentences are not eligible                     focus on the offender’s prior criminal record,
                     for parole.                                                    the particulars of the offense, the degree
                                                                                    to which the offender has participated in
                     The Parole Board Victim Services Unit sends                    rehabilitation programs, the inmates behavior
                     a written notice of the offender’s parole                      while incarcerated, the continuing impact of

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              the crime on the victim or surviving family                 Victim Access Hearings
                     members, the transition plan and structure
                     proposed by the inmate and other relevant                   Parole hearings for offenders serving state
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                     factors. The Parole Board’s decision to release             prison sentences for conviction of crimes
                     an offender on parole is made by a majority                 in which a death resulted may be attended
                     vote.                                                       by the surviving family members. These
                                                                                 parole hearings are not open to the public.
                     Lifer Hearings                                              CORI-certified petitioners will be notified
                                                                                 by the Parole Board Victim Services Unit of
                     In Massachusetts, inmates sentenced to life                 the parole hearing and informed of their
                     for second degree murder (and other crimes                  right to attend and provide a victim impact
                     such as aggravated rape and armed robbery)                  statement at the hearing.
                     are eligible for parole after they have served
                     15 years. Parole hearings for offenders serving             Legislation enacted in 2001 expanded the
                     second degree life sentences are open to                    Victim Access Hearing to allow victims and
                     the public, including the victim, the victim’s              parents or legal guardians of minor victims
                     family and friends and community members.                   of a sex offense or a violent crime (where a
                     The inmate has a right to counsel and to                    sentence of one year or more was imposed)
                     present witnesses in support of parole. The                 to attend and provide a victim impact
                     Parole Board Victim Services Unit will notify               statement at the parole hearing.
                     CORI certified petitioners of the parole
                     hearing date and inform them of their rights                Parole hearings for offenders serving House
                     to attend and offer a victim impact statement               of Correction sentences are held before a
                     at the hearing. It is important to maintain                 Parole Board panel at a correctional facility.
                     current address information to ensure timely                These parole hearings are not open to the
                     notification.                                               public; however, victims or parents/guardians
                                                                                 of minor aged victims of certain violent
                                                                                 crimes as defined by statute may attend and
                                                                                 provide testimony.

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              All victims have a right to provide written                  Impact Statement in a format which is
                     input whether or not they are allowed to                     most comfortable. For example, some
                     attend.                                                      victims have elected to submit videotaped
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                                                                                  statements, poems and photographs of a
                     Victim Rights in the Parole Process                          deceased victim, while others have preferred
                                                                                  to make a formal written statement to the
                     Regardless of the nature of the crime, victims               Parole Board. The statement may include a
                     have the right to participate in the parole                  brief description of the crime, any fears or
                     decision-making process. Massachusetts law                   concerns about the offender or the possible
                     states that:                                                 release, and the long-term impact of the
                                                                                  crime. If you have questions about preparing
                     •	 A victim (CORI certified) must be notified of             a Victim Impact Statement, please contact
                        a parole hearing in writing, 30 days prior to             the Victim Services Unit.
                        the hearing date.
                     •	 A deceased victim’s family member –                       Notification of Parole Board
                        including parent, stepparent, guardian,                   Decisions
                        spouse or person living as spouse, child,
                        stepchild, grandchild, sibling, aunt, uncle,              CORI-certified petitioners will be notified of
                        niece, nephew, and or guardian of victim’s                the outcome of the hearing. If an offender is
                                                                                  granted parole, victims will be informed of
                        minor child or stepchild, may represent the
                                                                                  the release date and any special conditions
                        victim at a parole hearing.
                                                                                  of parole that have been placed on the
                     •	 A victim has the right to submit a Victim                 offender, such as a condition of no contact.
                        Impact Statement to the Board for inclusion               The Victim Services Unit can also assist with
                        in the offender’s parole records.                         safety planning and counseling referrals.

                     The Parole Board encourages victims and                      If an offender is denied parole, the Parole
                     their family members to provide a Victim                     Board Victim Services Unit will inform the
                                                                                  victim of the offender’s next parole hearing

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              date.                                                          by petitioning the Governor for clemency
                                                                                    through the commutation process. If granted,
                                                                                    a commutation could provide, for example,
Table of Contents    Parole Supervision and Revocation                              an earlier parole eligibility date or allow an
                                                                                    offender previously ineligible for parole to
                     The Parole Board has eight regional parole                     become eligible for parole (i.e. first degree
                     offices, also known as “Regional Reentry                       murder).
                     Centers,” located across the Commonwealth.
                     Field Parole Officers, who are commissioned                    The commutation process begins when the
                     with special state police powers, supervise                    offender submits a petition to the Governor’s
                     parolees in the community. Parolees are                        Council. The Council is an independently
                     required to follow the conditions of parole,                   elected eight member council. The Council
                     including any special conditions imposed                       submits the petition for commutation to the
                     by the Board. Parole may be revoked if the                     Parole Board, acting in its capacity as the
                     parolee is found to be in violation of any                     ‘Advisory Board of Pardons’. If the Advisory
                     condition of parole. The parole officer can                    Board of Pardons determines the petition
                     immediately return the offender to custody                     merits further consideration, a public hearing
                     if there is reason to believe the parolee is a                 is held by the Board after a comprehensive
                     danger to themselves or others. Revocation                     investigation is conducted and a report is
                     hearings are conducted by the Parole Board                     generated. The victim, the victim’s family
                     to determine if a violation occurred and                       and others are able to testify at the hearing
                     whether the offender should remain in                          about their views on the petition, or they
                     custody or be re-paroled.                                      may submit written, audiotape or videotaped
                     Commutation Proceedings
                                                                                    After the public hearing, the
                     In addition to the parole release process, an                  recommendation of the Advisory Board is
                     incarcerated offender may seek to reduce                       forwarded to the Governor. If the Governor
                     the amount of time to be served in prison                      approves the petition, the matter is referred

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              to the Governor’s Council which may hold                     is to protect the public and prevent crime
                     another public hearing at which the victim                   by promoting positive change in the lives
                     and the victim’s family may testify. The                     of youth committed to its custody, and by
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                     Governor’s Council then votes on whether to                  partnering with communities, families, and
                     give their consent to the commutation.                       government and provider agencies toward
                                                                                  this end.
                     Pardon Proceedings
                                                                                The Massachusetts Victim Bill of Rights
                     Individuals who have a criminal record and                 mandates that victims of crimes committed
                     are not currently incarcerated may also                    by juveniles or youthful offenders be notified
                     petition for clemency in the form                                   by the custodial authority, upon
                     of a pardon. The granting of a                                      request, whenever the juvenile is
                                                                  DYS is responsible     transferred from a secure facility
                     pardon relieves the individual of the
                     barriers associated with a criminal            for operating        to less secure facility, receives a
                     record. Pardon requests follow a               programs and         temporary, provisional or final
                     similar procedure as a commutation               providing          release from custody, or escapes. If
                     petition. Hearings held for pardon             rehabilitative       the offender is adjudicated in court
                     requests are public and victims and        services for juveniles and committed as a juvenile, an
                     their families are allowed to attend       who commit offenses application for Juvenile Offender
                     and testify.                               between the ages of 7 Notification and Information is
                                                                       and 17.           filed with the DYS Victim Services
                     Department of Youth Services                                        Unit. If the offender is adjudicated
                     600 Washington Street, 4th Floor,                                   in court and committed as a
                     Boston, MA 02111                                           youthful offender, as described in detail in
                                                                                Chapter Three, an application for Notice
                     Victim Services Unit: (617)960-3290
                                                                                of an Offender’s Release is filed with
                                                                                the Department of Criminal Justice
                     The Department of Youth Services is the
                     state’s juvenile justice agency. Its mission               Information Services. Once certified, the
                                                                                DYS Victim Services Unit provides verbal
Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              and written notification of changes in the                   right to confidentiality. Also, juvenile records
                     juvenile’s status or placement. Beyond this                  can be sealed if the offender has had no
                     basic mandate, DYS has discretion over the                   further record three years after release from
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                     release of all other information and evaluates               supervision. If the juvenile is prosecuted as a
                     information requests on a case by case basis.                youthful offender, the process for obtaining
                     If a juvenile is adjudicated and committed                   criminal offender record information (CORI)
                     to DYS, the Department retains authority                     through the Department of Criminal Justice
                     (physical custody) over the juvenile until                   Information Services is the same as it is for
                     age 18. If a juvenile is committed as youthful               adults because the offender is treated as an
                     offender, The Department of Youth Services                   adult for purposes of prosecution.
                     retains authority over the juvenile until age
                     21. In both instances, DYS uses a “continuum                 The Commitment and Placement
                     of care” model of services and supervision.                  Process
                     The continuum consists of 93 programs,
                     including 62 facilities, ranging from staff                  Upon commitment to DYS, a regionally based
                     secure group homes to highly secure                          caseworker is assigned to the juvenile and
                     locked units, and 29 programs to serve                       assessments are done to help determine
                     youth living in the community. DYS divides                   where the juvenile is placed and for how
                     the state geographically into five regions;                  long. This decision is based on the nature
                     Central, Metropolitan, Northeast, Southeast                  and type of offense and the results of the
                     and Western. Each region operates its own                    assessment that evaluates the juvenile’s
                     continuum of services and supervision.                       behavioral, social, educational and family
                     The difficulties victims often face in obtaining
                     information about an offender in the adult                   Youthful offenders sentenced as adults may
                     system can be magnified for victims dealing                  serve their sentences in adult correctional
                     with the juvenile justice system. This is due in             facilities. Some adult correctional facilities
                     large part to the fact that the juvenile justice             utilize the DYS’s Plymouth Secure Unit
                     system protects a juvenile offender’s legal                  located at the Plymouth County House of

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              Correction to hold youthful offenders under                   the risk of reoffense and the degree of
                     the age of 17. Youthful offenders convicted                   dangerousness sex offenders pose to the
                     in Juvenile Court can either be committed                     public. The primary goal of the SORB is to
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                     to DYS custody until the age of twenty-one,                   enhance public safety by providing the
                     committed to DYS custody until the age of                     public with accurate information about sex
                     twenty-one with a concurrent suspended                        offenders so they can make better decisions
                     adult sentence (as described in detail in                     to protect themselves and their families.
                     Chapter Three) or given a straight adult
                     sentence. Youthful offenders with adult                       The Sex Offender Registry Law (SORL)
                     sentences are transferred to the appropriate                  creates the SORB which is composed of
                     custodial authority (House of Correction or                   Board members who are appointed by the
                     State Prison) at age 17.                                      Governor to serve specific terms. The SORL
                                                                                   requires that the Board include experts in the
                     Sex Offender Registry Board                                   areas of victim services, criminal justice and
                     Victim Services Unit                                          the assessment and treatment of juvenile and
                                                                                   adult sex offenders.
                     P.O. Box 4547
                     Salem, Massachusetts 01970
                                                                                   Victim Inclusion
                     (978) 740-6440
                     toll free (800) 93MEGAN (800) 936-3426
                                                                                   The Sex Offender Registry Board has
                                                                                   a Victim Services Unit (VSU) to provide
                     The Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB)
                                                                                   victims with assistance, information and
                     is a public safety agency responsible
                                                                                   notification as the offender progresses
                     for determining if persons convicted
                                                                                   through the registration and classification
                     (or adjudicated if a juvenile offender) of
                                                                                   processes. The Victim Services Unit
                     sex offenses who are living, working or
                                                                                   assists victims with writing Victim Impact
                     attending an institution of higher learning
                                                                                   Statements (VIS) and also provides safety
                     in Massachusetts have a duty to register.
                                                                                   planning, crisis intervention, and referrals for
                     If so, the SORB is responsible for assessing
                                                                                   resources as needed.

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter                                                                           Sex Offender Registration
                     The Sex Offender Registry Law requires the
                     Board to consider a Victim Impact Statement                  The SORL requires registration for any
Table of Contents
                     as part of the classification process. Through               sex offender who: (1) lives, works or
                     the written statement, the victim is given                   attends an institution of higher learning in
                     the opportunity to describe the harm the                     Massachusetts; and (2) was also convicted
                     offender has caused. Understanding the                       or adjudicated a delinquent or youthful
                     devastating, often long-term impact of sex                   offender, incarcerated, on probation,
                     offenses on victims is critical to assessing                 on parole, or was released from a civil
                     the consequences of the offender’s criminal                  commitment for a sex offense on or after
                     behavior.                                                    August 1, 1981.
                                                                                  Unclassified sex offenders must first register
                     In order for a victim or a parent/guardian                   with the Sex Offender Registry Board via mail
                     of a child victim to participate in the Sex                  and not with the police. Sex offenders are
                     Offender Registry Board process, there must                  required by the Sex Offender Registry Law to
                     be an adjudication or a conviction for a                     provide their current residential, secondary,
                     sex offense committed against the victim.                    employment and school addresses. Offenders
                     Typically, victim referrals are submitted to                 who fail to register with the SORB or to
                     the Sex Offender Registry Board through                      update address information may be subject
                     a form entitled, “Victim Participation and                   to arrest as such failure is a crime.
                     Notification” by the District Attorney’s Office
                     at the time of the offender’s sex offense                    Length of Registration
                     conviction or adjudication. This form is also
                     accessible on the Sex Offender Registry                      The length of registration required for sex
                     Board’s website at www.mass.gov/sorb. A                      offenders can vary depending upon the type
                     victim or parent/guardian must enroll with                   of sex offense conviction. A classification level
                     the SORB’s Victim Services Unit in order to                  does not affect the length of registration. The
                     be included in the offender’s classification                 SORL requires that those persons convicted
                     process.                                                     of a sexually violent offense or 2 or more

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              sex offenses against a child must register for               to have considered. During this time, the
                     life. The Sex Offender Registry Law requires                 Board gathers critical information, such as
                     for certain other sex offenses that the duty                 Victim Impacts Statements, police reports,
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                     to register shall end 20 years after such sex                court records, probation and parole records,
                     offender has been convicted or adjudicated                   state and national criminal records, and other
                     or has been released from all custody or                     criminal justice records that identify the
                     supervision (whichever occurs last). Juveniles               details of the offender’s past behaviors and
                     adjudicated of sex offenses may request relief               criminal activities.
                     from their duty to register. Persons convicted
                     or adjudicated of sex offenses other than                    A single Board member examines all of
                     sexually violent offenses or a single sex crime              the above described materials obtained
                     against a child may also request early relief                as part of the classification process and
                     from their duty to register. Such requests are               considers a number of factors in reaching
                     not automatically granted by the Board and                   a decision. These factors are defined in
                     are reviewed on a case by case basis.                        the SORL and serve as a guide in assessing
                                                                                  the current dangerousness and risk of
                     Preliminary Classification                                   reoffense presented by each offender.
                                                                                  Upon completion of the review, the Board
                     After an unclassified sex offender registers                 member issues a preliminary classification
                     with the Sex Offender Registry Board, he                     level recommending the offender be a Level
                     or she is assigned for classification review.                1 (low risk), Level 2 (moderate risk), or Level
                     Victims, if enrolled with the SORB, are notified             3 (high risk). The level speaks to the degree
                     that the offender’s classification has begun.                of dangerousness and risk to reoffend. It
                     The offender is given 30 days to submit                      is important to note that the preliminary
                     information to the Sex Offender Registry                     classification level is not accessible to
                     Board regarding sex offender specific                        the public as it is not the offender’s final
                     treatment, current lifestyle, employment and                 classification.
                     living situation, alcohol/drug abuse treatment
                     and any other information the offender seeks                 The offender is notified in writing of

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              his preliminary classification and has 20                         interests of the public. The offender can have
                     days either to: (1) accept the preliminary                        an attorney or representative or can represent
                     classification and waive his right to a hearing                   himself. Unlike the criminal trial process,
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                     and an appeal, or (2) request a hearing to                        the SORB hearing by law is not open to the
                     challenge the preliminary classification.                         public, including victims. However, if enrolled
                     Acceptance in writing or failure to respond                       with the SORB, victims are notified whether
                     on time makes a preliminary classification a                      or not the offender requests a hearing.
                     final classification.
                                                                                       Final Classification
                     Classification Hearing
                                                                                       After the hearing, the examiner issues a
                     A hearing is scheduled following the receipt                      comprehensive written decision determining:
                     of a written request from the offender.                           (1) the offender’s duty to register as a sex
                     The offender is given copies of all of the                        offender, and (2) the current risk level
                     materials reviewed as part of the offender’s                      he or she poses to the public. The SORB
                     preliminary classification; this includes Victim                  notifies the offender in writing of his final
                     Impact Statements provided by victims. For                        classification level. Offenders classified as
                     safety reasons, the Sex Offender Registry Board                   Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk)
                     asks victims not to put any identifying contact                   are required to register with the local police
                     information on Victim Impact Statement                            department where they live.
                     submissions. The hearing is conducted by a
                                                                                       The offender has the right to appeal the final
                     single hearing examiner (who may also be a
                                                                                       classification level within 30 days in Superior
                     Board member), responsible for making an
                                                                                       Court. The offender may also seek a court
                     independent review of all the materials and
                                                                                       order to prevent the dissemination of his or
                     factors to be considered.
                                                                                       her information to the public pending the
                     At the hearing, the Sex Offender Registry
                     Board has an attorney who represents the
                                                                                       Victims, if enrolled with the Sex Offender

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                        In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              Registry Board, are notified in writing of                       hours of receiving notice of their Level 2
                     the offender’s final classification level. If a                  designation. Information about Level 2
                     Superior Court issues an order that changes                      offenders is accessible to members of the
Table of Contents
                     the offender’s final registration and/or                         public who request it at their local police
                     classification level, the victim is notified of                  department. This information includes
                     this change.                                                     the offender’s name, identifying data,
                                                                                      residential, secondary, employment and
                     Final Registration                                               school addresses, sex offense conviction data,
                                                                                      physical description and a photograph. Level
                     The SORB notifies appropriate law                                2 offenders are required to re-register with
                     enforcement, probation and parole officials                      the police on an annual basis during their
                     when an offender is finally classified                           birth month.
                     respective to their jurisdictions. This
                     notification allows the police to monitor an                     Level 3 (High Risk): Sex offenders
                     offender’s compliance with Sex Offender                          are required to register with the police
                     Registry Law requirements. The following                         departments where they live within 48
                     are the various requirements of the three                        hours of receiving notice of their Level 3
                     classification categories:                                       designation. Information about Level 3 sex
                                                                                      offenders is posted on the Sex Offender
                     Level 1 (Low Risk): Sex offenders are not                        Registry Board’s website at www.mass.gov/
                     required to register with the police and                         sorb for review. In addition, members of
                     his/her information is not accessible to the                     the public can request information at their
                     public. Offenders are required to re-register                    local police department. This information
                     with the SORB on an annual basis during their                    includes the offender’s name, identifying
                     birth month.                                                     data, residential, secondary, employment and
                                                                                      school addresses, sex offense conviction data,
                     Level 2 (Moderate Risk): Sex offenders                           physical description and a photograph. Level
                     are required to register with the police                         3 offenders are required to re-register with
                     departments where they live within 48                            the police on an annual basis during their

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                       In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              birth month.                                                    any time, seek to initiate a reclassification
                                                                                     review to possibly increase an offender’s
                     In addition, Level 3 sex offenders are subject                  level should new information suggest the
Table of Contents
                     to active community notification conducted                      offender poses a higher risk to reoffend.
                     by the police since they are considered to                      Likewise, offenders may make a request to
                     have the highest risk to reoffend. To enhance                   the SORB to be re-classified to a lower level
                     public safety, the police are required to notify                every three years, but reclassification is not
                     organizations and the public who are likely                     automatic. In addition, offenders must be
                     to encounter Level 3 offenders, including all                   free from custody for five years before they
                     schools.                                                        can seek a reclassification review. Victims, if
                                                                                     enrolled with the SORB, will be notified of
                     Incarcerated Offenders                                          any offender or SORB initiated reclassification
                                                                                     reviews. Victims may submit a new Victim
                     All incarcerated sex offenders are also                         Impact Statement for the review.
                     required to register with the SORB (via mail)
                     two days prior to release from custody. In                      Offenders in Violation
                     addition, any sex offender who is already
                     classified as a Level 2 or Level 3 offender at                  Sex offenders may be subject to arrest and
                     the time of release is required to register                     prosecution for violating the Sex Offender
                     within 2 days with the local police where he                    Registry Law if they knowingly fail to register,
                     or she intends to live.                                         fail to verify registration information, fail
                                                                                     to provide notice of any changes in their
                     Level 3 sex offenders who are incarcerated                      addresses or provide false registration
                     in county or state correctional facilities are                  information. Please contact the victim
                     posted on the SORB’s website as well.                           services unit at the SORB with any questions
                                                                                     regarding violations of the Sex Offender
                     Reclassification                                                Registry Law.

                     The Sex Offender Registry Board may, at

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              Department of Mental Health and                              from twenty to forty days, depending on its
                     Bridgewater State Hospital                                   purpose. Such evaluation is mandated by
                     20 Administration Road                                       Massachusetts law.
Table of Contents    Bridgewater, MA 02324
                     The Massachusetts Department of Mental                       The evaluation is completed in the effort to
                     Health acts as the state’s Mental Health                     determine:
                     Authority, assuring and providing access to
                     services and supports to meet the mental                     •	 competency to stand trial
                     health needs of individuals of all ages,
                                                                                  •	 criminal responsibility
                     enabling them to live, work and participate
                     in their communities. When a criminal                        •	 ability to await trial in a penal environment
                     offender is thought or is known to suffer
                     from a mental illness, the Department of                     •	 ability to serve a sentence in a penal
                     Mental Health will be contacted to evaluate                     environment
                     him or her. When an offender requires
                                                                                  •	 need for further treatment and/or strict
                     specialized treatment from the Department
                                                                                     security following a finding of not guilty by
                     of Mental Health, and the court deems that
                     the offender requires strict security because                   reason of insanity
                     of the potential for endangering themselves                  •	 sentencing evaluation
                     or others, the offender will be sent to
                     Bridgewater State Hospital. Bridgewater                      After completing the evaluation if the
                     State Hospital provides medium security                      psychiatrist or psychologist determines that
                     level to all persons requiring specialized care              the offender needs further treatment or
                     and treatment. Offenders who are charged                     evaluation, he or she may be committed.
                     with or convicted of crimes (felonies or                     Some of the offenders who are committed
                     misdemeanors), can be admitted there. Once                   to Bridgewater State Hospital are those who
                     an offender is admitted he or she will have                  are deemed Sexually Dangerous Persons, Not
                     a court-ordered evaluation that can range                    Guilty by Reason of Insanity, and Incompetent

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              to Stand Trial.                                                 matter. Discuss questions or concerns with
                                                                                     the Assistant District Attorney or Victim
                     Sexually Dangerous Persons                                      Witness Advocate.
Table of Contents
                     For convicted sex offenders that the
                     prosecution believes will continue as
                     sexual predators after the completion of
                     their sentence, the District Attorney’s (DA)
                     Office can request a Sexually Dangerous
                     Person Hearing. A Sexually Dangerous
                     Person Petition or SDP is a civil proceeding
                     during which the District Attorney’s Office
                     presents evidence through police reports,
                     trial transcripts, and experts who can offer
                     testimony with regards to the defendant’s
                     current state of mind. If a jury unanimously
                     believes that the defendant is guilty,
                     the defendant will be committed to the
                     Massachusetts Treatment Center indefinitely.
                     The Massachusetts Treatment center is
                     located within the Bridgewater Correctional
                     Complex under the law for the Care,
                     Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Sexually
                     Dangerous Persons.

                     The defendant has the option to petition
                     the court every year for a release. Although
                     it is a civil commitment, a prosecutor from
                     the District Attorney’s Office will handle the

Post Disposition Services for Victims
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
 Financial Remedies
for Victims of Crimes
Chapter             Financial Remedies for                                   of Crime Act (VOCA) and the state. Eligible
                                                                             victims and their families can receive
                    Victims of Crimes                                        compensation for medical, dental and mental
                                                                             health counseling expenses, funeral and
Table of Contents
                                                                             burial expenses, lost wages resulting from
                    If you are a victim of a crime that occurred
                     in Massachusetts, several financial
                    remedies exist that might be available to
                                                                             crime-related injuries and the loss of financial
                                                                             support for the dependents of homicide
                                                                             victims. Due to recent changes in the victim
                    you. This chapter outlines some of                                 compensation law, in cases where
                    these options. The information can                                 the victim is an adult and the crime
                                                            Financial assistance
                    be confusing, but it is important.                                 occurred on or after November
                                                              for certain crime-       5, 2010, or if the victim is a child
                    Your Victim Witness Advocate can         related expenses is
                    help determine which programs                                      and the crime was reported on
                                                             available to eligible     or after November 5, 2010, Victim
                    you qualify for and when you              victims of violent       Compensation will reimburse up
                    would need to apply.                      crime through the        to $1,500 for crime scene clean up
                                                              Victim of Violent        services, up to $250 for replacement
                    Victims of Violent Crime               Crime Compensation of clothing and bedding and up to
                    Compensation                               and Assistance          $500 for the replacement, repair or
                                                                Division of the        installation of locks or other security
                    Financial assistance for certain        Attorney General’s         devices to promote a victim’s safety.
                    crime-related expenses is available     Office. www.mass.          Funeral, burial and other related
                    to some victims of violent                      gov/ag             costs can now be reimbursed up to
                    crime through the Victim of
                    Violent Crime Compensation
                                                                                       Eligibility Requirements
                    and Assistance Division of the Attorney
                    General’s Office www.mass.gov/ag. This                   In order to be eligible for Victim of Violent
                    program is funded by the federal Victims                 Crime Compensation in Massachusetts, you

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             must be the victim of a violent crime who                    If you have applied for or received Victim of
                    suffers physical and/or psychological injury, a              Violent Crime Compensation, you may still
                    dependent or family member of a homicide                     pursue other financial remedies including
Table of Contents
                    victim, or a person who is responsible for                   court-ordered restitution from the
                    paying funeral and burial expenses of a                      offender or a civil lawsuit for crime-related
                    homicide victim. The crime must have                         damages. As discussed in more detail below,
                    occurred in Massachusetts, but you do not                    restitution is money that a judge may order
                    need to be a resident of the state. Also, unless             an offender to pay to a victim of crime; it
                    there is good cause for delay, you must                      is part of the offender’s sentence and is
                    have reported the crime within five days of                  based on the victim’s expenses resulting
                    the date it happened. Generally, a claim for                 from the crime and the offender’s ability to
                    Victim of Violent Crime Compensation must                    pay. Please note that the Victim of Violent
                    be filed within three years of the date of the               Crime Compensation Program is “a fund
                    crime. But if the victim is a child, the claim               of last resort,” which means it provides
                    can be filed at any time before the victim’s                 compensation only if no other options are
                    twenty-first birthday.                                       available to the victim. If you were to later
                                                                                 receive restitution or compensation through
                    Victim of Violent Crime Compensation                         a civil lawsuit, Victim of Violent Crime
                    decisions are not based on whether someone                   Compensation would require that their funds
                    has been arrested or convicted for the                       be repaid. This is important to discuss with
                    crime. However, victims must cooperate                       your Advocate or attorney.
                    with law enforcement in the investigation
                    and prosecution of that crime to be eligible                 As a general rule, it is still a good idea to seek
                    for Victim of Violent Crime Compensation. If                 restitution in addition to filing a claim for
                    you are physically or psychologically unable                 Victim of Violent Crime Compensation:
                    to cooperate or believe that your safety is
                    in jeopardy as a result of cooperating, this                 •	 Restitution can be ordered for expenses
                    requirement may be waived.                                      not covered by Victim of Violent Crime
                                                                                    Compensation, such as property loss

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              or damage, and for expenses over the                         Court-Ordered Restitution
                     $25,000 limit of Victim of Violent Crime
                     Compensation.                                              Restitution is money paid by criminal
Table of Contents                                                               offenders to victims for losses, damages
                    •	 Although the judge may order restitution at
                                                                                and other out-of-pocket expenses directly
                       sentencing, payments are generally made in               resulting from the crime. Examples might
                       smaller amounts over a long period of time,              include the cost of damaged or stolen
                       and there is no guarantee that restitution                          property, lost wages, uninsured
                       will be collected at all or paid in                                 counseling expenses or medical
                       full (this is also true of awards from                              costs. Any victim who has suffered
                                                               Any victim who has
                       civil lawsuits related to the crime).                               financial losses or property damage
                                                                  suffered financial
                                                                                           or loss should discuss the option
                    Again, under the Victim of Violent           losses or property
                                                                                           for restitution with the Assistant
                    Crime Compensation statute, you                 damage or loss         District Attorney and Victim Witness
                    are not allowed to collect twice             should discuss the        Advocate as part of sentencing
                    for the same expense — you                 option for restitution when a defendant pleads or is found
                    must notify the Victim of Violent            with the Assistant        guilty.
                    Crime Compensation Program if                District Attorney
                    you receive restitution or other            and Victim Witness         If you intend to seek restitution,
                    payment for bills that you also             Advocate as part of        you should discuss your losses with
                    submitted to the Victim of Violent           sentencing when a         the Victim Witness Advocate or
                    Crime Compensation Program. If              defendant pleads or        Assistant District Attorney as soon
                    you have already received payment              is found guilty.        as possible. Be sure to keep copies
                    from Victim of Violent Crime                                           of all receipts and bills to document
                    Compensation, you are legally                                          your losses. Most District Attorneys’
                    responsible for repaying any amount                                    Offices have forms for victims to use
                    that has been paid by other sources, such as                in this situation. The Victim Witness Advocate
                    insurance, restitution, or proceeds from a civil            can assist you with these forms and submit
                    lawsuit.                                                    them to the probation department and

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             prosecutor. You also have the opportunity to                 restitution, the judge will determine the
                    address financial losses as part of your Victim              amounts and order of payment. If you know
                    Impact Statement.                                            the offender and have some information
Table of Contents
                                                                                 about the offender’s assets, you may want to
                    As mentioned earlier, there is no real                       provide that information to the prosecutor
                    guarantee that the offender will pay                         or probation officer to help them assess the
                    restitution ordered all at once, right away,                 offender’s true ability to pay.
                    or even at all. Offenders may delay paying
                    restitution or seek pay extensions. Once they                Restitution Hearings
                    have finished probation there is no oversight
                    to ensure payments are made.                                 If restitution is ordered by a judge, offenders
                                                                                 are entitled to request a restitution hearing.
                    Determination Process                                        If the offender disagrees with the amount
                                                                                 of restitution ordered by the judge at
                    Some restitution arrangements are made                       sentencing, or has other objections about
                    through the process of a plea agreement. In                  the order, the offender must be granted a
                    other cases, the probation department may                    restitution hearing to dispute the issue. The
                    evaluate a defendant’s ability to pay as part                hearing is limited to issues of restitution.
                    of the pre-sentencing report submitted to
                    the judge. A probation officer will present the              If such a hearing occurs, the prosecutor will
                    offender’s financial situation, employment                   ask you to submit proof of your damages
                    history and current financial debts, including               if you have not already done so. Again, it is
                    other court-ordered fines and assessments.                   important to keep copies of all receipts and
                    From these reports and the Victim Impact                     bills to document your losses and enable
                    Statement documenting losses, the judge                      the judge to evaluate what expenses can be
                    determines whether the offender has the                      covered. You may be asked to testify at the
                    ability to pay. If there are multiple offenders              restitution hearing.
                    convicted of the crime, or multiple victims
                    who suffered financial losses and request

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Restitution Payments Schedule                               who cannot reasonably pay restitution
                                                                                cannot have their probation revoked.
                    If restitution is ordered, the Victim Bill of               However, if the probation officer determines
Table of Contents   Rights requires the District Attorney’s Office              that the offender willfully refuses to pay
                    to give you the name and number of the                      restitution, the probation officer may issue
                    probation officer assigned to supervise the                 a violation of probation notice and, after a
                    offender. You are also entitled to receive a                hearing, the judge may revoke the offender’s
                    copy of the offender’s restitution payment                  probation and order the offender to serve
                    schedule from the supervising probation                     a sentence in jail. In practice, however,
                    officer, who is responsible for making sure                 probation is seldom revoked for non-
                    the offender pays restitution. Offenders                    payment of restitution alone. Sometimes the
                                                                                hearing will prompt the offender to make a
                    make their payments to the court, which
                                                                                payment or the judge may extend the period
                    should in turn send you the restitution                     of probation to give the offender more time
                    check. Offenders do not and should not                      to make restitution payments.
                    send payments directly to victims. To help
                    ensure receipt of checks and hearing notices,               Changes or Modifications to
                    you should keep the supervising probation
                                                                                Restitution Orders
                    officer informed of your current address.
                                                                                If the offender cannot pay restitution as
                    If you do not receive a scheduled payment,
                                                                                ordered, he or she can request a restitution
                    you should contact the probation officer
                                                                                modification hearing and ask the judge to
                    who is supervising the offender and report it.
                                                                                dismiss, reduce or change the order. If the
                    The probation officer generally contacts the
                                                                                offender seeks such a change, the probation
                    offender to follow up. If the probation officer
                                                                                officer supervising the offender is required
                    determines that the offender has an inability
                    to pay, the offender can request another                    under the Victim Bill of Rights to notify you
                    hearing to adjust the payment schedule. The                 of the hearing. The Victim Bill of Rights also
                    U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that offenders                 gives you the right to attend and be heard by

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             the judge at this hearing.                                 Investment Advisor Victimization
                                                                               Securities Division of the
                    Because restitution is imposed as part of                  Secretary of State’s Office
Table of Contents
                    the offender’s criminal sentence, you are not              www.sec.state.ma.us/sct
                    allowed to request an increase in the amount
                    of restitution at the restitution modification
                    hearing even if you have incurred additional
                                                                               Civil Lawsuits
                    crime-related expenses. However, you
                                                                               The civil justice system is responsible for
                    may request that the judge extend the
                                                                               determining whether a defendant or a third
                    defendant’s probation to allow for a longer
                                                                               party defendant is responsible, “civilly liable,”
                    period of time during which the offender can
                                                                               for injuries sustained as a result of a crime.
                    pay the restitution owed you.
                                                                               Unlike in the criminal justice system where
                                                                               the criminal act must be proved beyond a
                    Additional Ways for Possible                               reasonable doubt, liability in the civil courts
                    Recoupment of Losses for Specific                          must be proved by a “preponderance of
                    Crimes                                                     the evidence.” This means that one side’s
                                                                               evidence is more persuasive than the other.
                    Theft by an Attorney                                       This standard is a lower standard of proof
                    Clients Security Board                                     than “proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
                    www.mass.gov/ClientsSecurityBoard                          Therefore, it is sometimes possible to find
                                                                               the defendant liable in a civil case even after
                                                                               a “not guilty” verdict in the criminal case or
                    Contractor Fraud
                                                                               in cases where a prosecutor determined that
                    Home Improvement Guaranty Fund
                                                                               the criminal charges would be extremely
                    www.mass.gov/oca                                           difficult to prove.

                                                                               In some cases, a “third party” defendant may
                                                                               be held liable. Third party defendants did

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             not actually commit the acts but may have                     •	 the extent of the defendant’s responsibility
                    contributed to or facilitated those acts.                        for those injuries
                    Considering a Civil Lawsuit                                   •	 the likelihood of long term harm from the
Table of Contents
                    There are several important factors to
                    consider as you evaluate whether to pursue                    •	 the facts of the case
                    a civil lawsuit, and a private attorney with
                    experience representing victims of crime can                  •	 the financial resources of the defendant
                    assist you in that evaluation. The first point                •	 the likelihood of collecting a judgment
                    of evaluation is whether civil litigation is
                    possible in your case — that is, whether there                •	 the availability of insurance coverage from
                    is sufficient evidence of an illegal act or acts.                the defendant or other responsible third
                    After a preliminary investigation of the facts
                    of a case, an attorney who is experienced in                  Beyond these legal and practical
                    representing victims can generally provide                    considerations, there are other concerns
                    an informed opinion as to whether a civil                     about the personal effects of the civil
                    suit is possible and likely to have a successful              litigation process on victims which need to
                    outcome for you. If the legal basis for the                   be evaluated before deciding whether to
                    lawsuit seems difficult to prove or there                     file a civil lawsuit. The civil court process will
                    is little likelihood of collecting financial                  very likely make the period of time you are
                    damages, you may not want to move forward                     involved in the court system longer. This is
                    with a lawsuit.                                               an important factor to consider, particularly
                                                                                  if you have already been through lengthy
                    Factors that an attorney will evaluate and                    criminal court proceedings. The extensive
                    discuss with you will include:                                civil procedures may require you to continue
                                                                                  to re-experience events that were physically
                    •	 the nature and extent of the injuries
                                                                                  and emotionally traumatizing. Moreover, it
                                                                                  may be difficult to confront the offender in

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             civil proceedings.                                            to help you locate another attorney who is
                                                                                  qualified to work on your case. Sometimes
                    Finding an Attorney                                           other victims of crimes whom you may know
Table of Contents
                                                                                  through support groups can recommend
                    While more and more attorneys are gaining                     a civil attorney who was helpful to them.
                    experience in representing victims of                         An Advocate may also be able to provide
                    crime in civil proceedings, the number of                     referrals for attorneys with this expertise.
                    attorneys with actual experience, sensitivity
                    and specialized knowledge of                                 If you have questions about a particular
                    victims’ issues remains small. In                                      attorney, you can contact
                    Massachusetts, however, there is a               The Victim            the Boston Bar Association or
                    core of experienced civil attorneys          Litigation Unit of        Massachusetts Bar Association
                    who represent victims of crimes             the National Center        for basic information, such as an
                    in lawsuits. Although any licensed         for Victims of Crime attorney’s area of specialty, the
                    private attorney can file a lawsuit        maintains a national location of the practice, how long
                    on your behalf, your case would            list of civil attorneys the attorney has practiced law
                    benefit greatly from the services                                      and whether that attorney has
                                                                  who specialize in
                    of an attorney who has previously                                      been disciplined for unethical
                                                                working with crime
                    represented crime victims or has                                       practices. Bar associations also
                                                                       victims.            maintain general referral lists for
                    had substantial experience in
                    representing other individuals in                                      attorneys who are looking for
                                                                  1-800-394-2255           clients, categorized by their practice
                    civil and/or criminal cases.
                                                                  www.ncvc.org             specialties.
                    If you already have a personal
                    attorney or know someone who you trust                                 Choosing an attorney is a very
                    who is an attorney, you can contact this                     personal decision and one that needs to be
                    person, describe your situation and ask for a                based on the attorney’s experience and your
                    referral. If this attorney cannot provide you                trust and comfort level with him or her. Do
                    with legal assistance, he or she may be able                 not hesitate to meet and interview several

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             attorneys before selecting one. If you are                       attorneys? If not, have you ever been the
                    uncomfortable with an attorney or do not                         lead attorney on a case? If so, how did the
                    have confidence in the advice or responses                       cases turn out? If not, would you be the
Table of Contents
                    you hear, look for another attorney or try to                    lead attorney on this case or would another
                    get “a second opinion” from another attorney.                    attorney be in charge?
                    You can also ask an attorney for the names
                    of other victims of crimes he or she has                       •	 What kinds of judgments or settlements
                    worked for to call as a reference. The attorney                   have you been able to obtain for clients
                    will need to get permission from those                            with similar cases?
                    clients before giving you names or contact
                    information.                                                   •	 Have any of those similar cases not been
                                                                                      successful? What happened?
                    In addition, you may want to ask a                             •	 Do you have any prior experience working
                    prospective attorney the following questions:                     as a prosecutor or a criminal defense
                    •	 How long have you been practicing law?                         attorney?
                                                                                   •	 Do you know any prosecutors or criminal
                    •	 What is your education and professional                        defense attorneys?
                       experience?                                                 •	 Do you work regularly with prosecutors
                    •	 Have you ever worked with victims of                           and/or criminal defense attorneys?
                       crimes before?                                              •	 Who will be working on my case – you or
                    •	 Have you handled similar cases: if so, how                     other attorneys in your firm?
                       many?                                                       •	 Do you provide case status reports? If so,
                    •	 Were you the lead attorney on those cases?                     how often?
                       If so, how many other attorneys worked                      •	 What will my involvement be in the case?
                       with you? Do you work with those same                          How will decisions be made? Will I be

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter              consulted about the direction or decisions                   what those out-of-pocket expenses might
                     in the case?                                                 cost you.
                    •	 Do you maintain malpractice insurance?                     In contingency fee cases, if your lawsuit
Table of Contents
                    •	 Are you currently admitted to practice in                  is successful, the attorney will receive a
                       the state of Massachusetts?                                percentage of the settlement, usually
                                                                                  between 25%-40%, for their fees. Because
                    •	 Have you ever been disciplined or                          contingency arrangements vary, you should
                       otherwise charged with a law practice                      be sure that you fully understand the details
                       violation?                                                 of any agreement or contract before signing
                                                                                  it. Finally, an experienced civil attorney will
                    •	 What fees and expenses will I be charged,                  know how to identify an offender’s assets
                       and when?                                                  and will seek to preserve them while a civil
                                                                                  case is pending.
                    Most private attorneys who specialize in
                    victim-related cases work on a contingency                    As a means of financial recovery, a civil
                    fee basis. This means that if the attorney                    lawsuit by a victim has particular strengths
                    accepts the case and you are not successful                   and weaknesses. It is important to talk with
                    in recovering civil damages, you are not                      an attorney about the various advantages
                    required to pay attorney fees; the attorney’s                 and disadvantages of moving forward with a
                    fee is contingent upon winning a judgment                     civil lawsuit. It is important to talk to both the
                    from the defendant. Despite the contingency                   civil attorney and the prosecutor about the
                    fee arrangement (and outcome of your case),                   pros and cons of the timing of bringing a civil
                    you will likely be required to pay for the                    lawsuit and what the impact is of doing one
                    attorney’s out-of-pocket expenses related                     before the other or at the same time.
                    to the case, such as the costs of obtaining
                    expert witnesses, court filing fees and
                    depositions, and photocopying and mailing
                    costs. It is important that you ask the attorney

Financial Remedies for Victims of Crime
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
               For Advocates:
  Responding Effectively to All
Victims — Diverse Populations
Chapter             For Advocates:                                             consider their individual responses to crime
                                                                               and its aftermath and identify issues they
                    Responding Effectively to                                  may want to discuss with their Advocates.
                                                                               For this discussion, diversity includes age,
                    All Victims —
Table of Contents
                                                                               race, ethnicity, gender, religion, physical
                    Diverse Populations                                        or mental disability, socioeconomic status,
                                                                               geography, language spoken, sexual
                                                                                           orientation and immigrant status.
                    T   his section recognizes that
                        crime victims’ needs can
                    be influenced by their identity,
                                                                   This section
                                                                                           Because many of these diverse traits
                                                                                           are not immediately “visible,” it is
                                                                 recognizes that           crucial to never make assumptions
                    culture, background and
                                                              crime victims’ needs about a victim’s identity. Such
                    experiences. Those differences              can be influenced          assumptions can distance or even
                    in need can significantly impact            by their identity,         permanently harm relationships
                    crime victims’ access to critical         culture, background          and prevent crime victims from
                    services.                                   and experiences.           obtaining relevant and appropriate
                                                                Those differences
                    Though this guide cannot                       in need can
                    comprehensively or expertly address       significantly impact
                    every possible factor influencing a      crime victims’ access Discussion
                    crime victim’s individual needs, we        to critical services.
                    hope it offers a starting point for                                    Like most states, Massachusetts
                    Advocates to reflect on possible                                       has seen an increase in diverse
                    differences and consider carefully a crime                 populations. Sensitivity to a victim’s identity
                    victim’s whole identity when providing                     is critical to the victim’s potential for recovery
                    services. This discussion may also help victims            from victimization. Because of the broad
                                                                               spectrum of potential need, no one service

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             provider can have all the answers. Clients                       protocols. Consider using individual and peer
                    benefit when service providers reach                             supervision or meetings to discuss cases or
                    out to other organizations to help meet                          situations with clients and colleagues that
Table of Contents   victims’ needs. This sends an important                          present challenges related to the diverse
                    message to victims: we will do all that we can                   backgrounds and needs of victims, witnesses,
                    to support you and to meet your individual                       their families and communities. These forums
                    needs. Therefore, it is often vital for service                  help service providers to become more aware
                    providers in different agencies and systems                      of their own biases and privileges based on
                    to collaborate with each other to address                        backgrounds and life experiences, and to
                    victims’ needs.                                                  understand how those may inadvertently
                                                                                     influence interactions with another person,
                    Reminding ourselves to be thoughtful about                       and to help build bridges across differences.
                    the diverse aspects of the victim’s life and
                    circumstances will help ensure that we do                        The best place to begin understanding
                    not overlook their best options and fail to                      diversity and difference is not outward
                    help them realize their rights.                                  but inward. Providers, like victims, come
                                                                                     from many parts of the world, speak
                    Service Provision                                                many languages, have diverse values and
                                                                                     beliefs, life experiences, backgrounds, and
                    To provide the most effective and optimal                        may struggle with various limitations or
                    services for any victim, it is important to                      experience discrimination.
                    always consider the diversity and complexity
                    of crime victims and their communities.                          Considerations
                    Service provider organizations should
                    promote and provide ongoing training and                         Stereotypes are significant barriers to
                    conversations about services, policies and                       providing effective services to victims.

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Reflecting and identifying our own biases                       Along with thinking about ways one might
                    and stereotypes will help to reduce potential                   unintentionally generalize, it is important to
                    barriers for victims in accessing the services                  reflect on our own privileges. Privilege, or
Table of Contents   and supports they need. One cannot                              the advantage that a person or group has
                    assume that all victims who share a common                      over others, can affect how we perceive and
                    background — race, language, ethnicity,                         respond to crime victims.
                    sexual orientation, faith, class, disability, etc.
                    — will behave and react in the same way.                    The questions below touch on issues
                                                                                that can impact a crime victim’s access to
                    Making generalizations is a part of                                   resources and safety. Responses
                    our subconscious mind; we do it on                                    to these questions may help us
                                                                    Reflecting and
                    a daily basis. However, it is possible          identifying our       better understand the similarities
                    to be aware of and ultimately                   own biases and        and differences between our
                    change how we respond to those              stereotypes will help     experiences and those of the crime
                    assumptions. Coming to understand             to reduce potential     victims we serve.
                    our own stereotypes and prejudices           barriers for victims
                    is critical when trying to embrace               accessing the        As an exercise, we should ask
                    practices that are inclusive and            relevant services and ourselves:
                    comprehensive as it relates to the           supports they need.
                                                                                          •	 Am I a citizen of the United
                    victim’s whole identity. Because one                                  States?
                    can never know everything about all
                    backgrounds and experiences, it is important                    •	 Do I have access to a car?
                    to become comfortable asking questions                          •	 Can I open a bank account?
                    and being open to learning from and about
                    others who are different than ourselves.                        •	 Has anyone asked if I can speak English?

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 Do I feel safe talking about my partner in             in different situations and how that may
                       front of family members?                               influence our interactions, communication
                    •	 Do I have family and friends nearby who                and trust with others. By asking thoughtful
Table of Contents
                       could provide me with shelter?                         questions, avoiding assumptions and working
                                                                              to consider a victim’s entire situation, we can
                    •	 Did I graduate from college?                           break through the isolation that can impact
                    •	 Do I depend on someone else’s care to get              crime victims, promote their empowerment
                       ready in the morning?                                            and protect their rights.
                                                                    By asking
                    •	 Am I able to work?                           thoughtful          Case Scenarios
                    •	 Are there people who look like me       questions, avoiding
                       in positions of influence/power in       assumptions and         The following case scenarios might
                       my community (ex. doctors, police       working to consider      help individuals and organizations
                       officers, state representatives, etc.)?   a victim’s entire
                                                                                        discuss issues of diversity and
                                                                situation, we can
                    •	 Do I have to hide parts of my                                    inclusion. Each scenario is followed
                                                                  break through
                       identity in order to feel safe or                                by questions to help guide in
                                                                the isolation that
                       respected?                               can impact crime        determining options and resources
                                                                victims, promote        for different situations. These are
                    These questions provide the                their empowerment        just a few examples of the types
                    beginnings of a framework for               and protect their       of questions and exploration
                    understanding systemic issues a                   rights.           that can be helpful in furthering
                    crime victim may face in court,                                     understanding.
                    in a health care or mental health/
                    counseling setting, in school or at the                   Scenario One
                    workplace and elsewhere. Providers must                   You are about to meet with a crime victim
                    take into account the balance of power                    and the prosecutor when the victim asks if

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             you can pray with her before starting the                      •	 Do you know whom to contact at the
                    meeting.                                                          courthouse about services for people
                                                                                      with disabilities? (Each courthouse should
                    •	 How can you respectfully respond if your                       have an Americans with Disabilities Act
Table of Contents
                       culture/spirituality does not include prayer?                  Coordinator to facilitate services.)
                    •	 Have issues of faith/spirituality been                      •	 Could you suggest changing the court
                       discussed within your agency before?                           date?
                       Are there any guidelines developed for
                       addressing these needs?                                     •	 What other resources does your agency
                                                                                      have for people with disabilities? (For
                    •	 Might you inquire about the victim’s                           example, does everyone on staff know how
                       connection with his or her faith community                     to use the TTY machine?)
                       or clergy?
                    •	 If you are not familiar with the crime victim’s             Scenario Three
                       faith, might you seek out information about
                       that faith before the next meeting or seek                  You are meeting with a victim for the first
                       out a colleague who may share the crime                     time and discover she is undocumented and
                       victim’s faith for guidance?                                without any formal citizenship papers. She
                                                                                   would like a restraining order but is having
                    Scenario Two                                                   difficulty understanding the language on the
                    A man in a wheelchair is the witness to a                      form because her first language is Khmer and
                    crime. He has been summonsed to court. The                     she cannot read or write.
                    courthouse is wheelchair accessible; however
                    the handicapped accessible restroom is                         •	 You do not speak, read, or write in Khmer,
                                                                                      how can you assist this woman with the
                    closed for repairs.
                                                                                      restraining order? With other services?
                    •	 Is your agency wheelchair accessible?

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             •	 Are you familiar with your agency’s options                 having a family member translate, particularly
                       for translation services?                                   in cases of family violence. Loyalty, fear,
                    •	 Why might it sometimes be inappropriate                     humiliation, shame and other common
Table of Contents
                       to ask the victim’s friend, family member or                reactions to victimization may inhibit a family
                       child to translate?                                         member’s ability to accurately translate.

                    •	 What other services are available for this
                       woman in her native language?
                    •	 How can your agency promote and
                       encourage victims who have limited or
                       no English proficiency to access victim
                    •	 Does your agency have a policy or
                       guidelines regarding working with
                       undocumented victims and witnesses?
                    •	 What types of referrals might you make
                       given her status and language needs?

                    As you know, communication is critical
                    between an Advocate and a victim or
                    witness. To reduce any barrier posed
                    by a language difficulty, agencies have
                    responded by maintaining a list of certified
                    interpreters and/or having a list of multi-
                    lingual Advocates nearby. This is preferable to

For Advocates: Responding Effectively to All Victims — Diverse Populations
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
    For Advocates: Secondary
Traumatic Stress and Self Care
Chapter             For Advocates:                                                  her wondering if she is “burning out.”

                    Secondary Traumatic                                             Burnout?
                    Stress and Self Care
Table of Contents

                                                                                    Burnout is a “state of physical, emotional
                                                                                    and mental exhaustion caused by long term
                    L    illian* loves her job as a Victim Witness
                         Advocate in the district court. Working with
                    victims of domestic violence and sexual assault
                                                                                    involvement in emotionally demanding
                                                                                    situations.”2 Symptoms include depression,
                                                                                    cynicism, boredom, loss of compassion and
                    became her passion during her senior year in
                    college when she volunteered at the local rape                  discouragement.
                    crisis program. But now, a year into the work
                    full-time, she is learning that it can be draining,             The term was first used in 1974 to describe
                    if not traumatizing. She sometimes awakens at                   physical and emotional depletion resulting
                    night terrified that a client’s abuser is coming                from the conditions of work. Research in the
                    after her, too. It’s just a nightmare, but she does             early 1980’s found that people working in the
                    wonder if someone will truly come after her                     human service or “helping” professions are
                    one day. Running and going to the gym have                      especially at risk for burnout because people
                    always been great outlets for her, both building                working as psychologists, social workers, and
                    her stamina and releasing her tension. Now,                     crisis workers, for example, often assist clients
                    Lillian is finding that she is simply too tired to              in severe distress and experience both a real
                    pull herself out of bed in the morning to exercise.             and felt responsibility to aid their clients.
                    She also finds herself curt and frustrated with                 Often this sense of responsibility brings with
                    colleagues when so many calls and requests
                    become overwhelming. Thinking about whether                     * Lillian is a composite of Advocates and direct service workers who have
                    she should take a time management course or                     come into contact with the authors. Her story represents the experiences
                                                                                    common to many Advocates working with victims of crime.
                    even if she is cut out for this work at all leaves
                                                                                    2 Pines & Aronson, Career Burnout: Causes and cures, 1988.

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             it feelings of helplessness or anxiety.3                                                  as one thinks and is often confused with
                                                                                                              feeling stressed by the work. Real burnout
                    It is commonly understood by Advocates                                                    primarily has to do with one’s work
Table of Contents   and supervisors that they are at great risk for                                           conditions or job requirements and develops
                    burnout as a result of the crisis intervention                                            gradually. It is a generalized physical and
                    they provide to survivors. Victim Advocates’                                              emotional exhaustion as well as a cynical,
                    work is emotionally trying, draining, and at                                              negative (even hostile) response to coworkers
                    times, dangerous. Furthermore, Advocates                                                  and the job. Burnout can occur to anyone in
                    routinely work in settings with limited peer                                              any kind of work and, most often, the only
                    or supervisory interactions. Because Victim                                               cure for true burnout is to leave the work for
                    Advocates are often professionally isolated,                                              a time, or forever. Secondary Traumatic Stress
                    they lack opportunities to “debrief” from the                                             comes on more quickly than burnout and is
                    trauma that they routinely witness.4                                                      more responsive to solutions.

                    Is it always burnout?                                                                     Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS)
                    Not necessarily. Though the term is used                                                  STS is called by many names: Vicarious
                    freely, the condition is not quite as common                                              Trauma, Indirect Trauma and Compassion
                                                                                                              Fatigue. Each of these terms has a slightly
                    3 Kahill, S. (1988). Interventions for Burnout in the helping Professions: a
                    review of the empirical evidence. Canadian Journal of Counseling, 22(3),
                                                                                                              different meaning, but the common
                    162-169. Bernier, 1998.                                                                   definition for these terms is both physical
                    4 Della Porta. A.L. (1994). Exploration of an integrative model of                        and emotional stress responses to working
                    factors preventing burnout in shelter staff that treat battered
                    women. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: the Sciences
                                                                                                              with a highly traumatized population. It is
                    and Engineering, 55(4-B), 1664-1665. Brown, C., O’Brien, K.M. (1998).                     a psychological phenomenon in which the
                    Understanding stress and burnout in shelter workers. Professional
                    Psychology: Research and Practice, 29(4), 383-385.                                        caregiver experiences many of the common
                                                                                                              feelings and symptoms associated with

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                                               In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             victimization.5                                                                          •	 emotional – powerlessness, anxiety, guilt,
                                                                                                                anger, numbness, fear, helplessness, sadness
                    STS can affect all aspects of one’s life:
                                                                                                             •	 behavioral – irritability, withdrawal,
Table of Contents   cognitive, emotional, behavioral, spiritual,                                                moodiness, sleep disturbances, appetite
                    interpersonal and physical.6 Lillian’s situation                                            changes, nightmares, hypervigilance,
                    offers an example of STS. Working with                                                      elevated startle response, use of negative
                    traumatized clients day in and day out,                                                     coping (smoking, alcohol or other
                    Lillian is beginning to experience the kinds                                                substance misuse)
                    of symptoms that her clients display. Lillian’s
                    nightmares, worries about her own safety,                                                •	 spiritual – loss of purpose, pervasive
                                                                                                                hopelessness, anger and/or questioning of
                    edginess at work and feelings of being
                                                                                                                prior religious beliefs
                    overwhelmed by the experiences of her
                    clients are all evidence of STS. Below are                                               •	 interpersonal – loss of purpose, pervasive
                    some of the ways that STS can show up in                                                    hopelessness, questioning of prior
                    your life.                                                                                  spirituality or religious beliefs, for example,
                                                                                                                anger at God or higher power
                    Personal Reactions                                                                       •	 cognitive – withdrawal, decreased interest
                    •	 physical – rapid heartbeat or breathing,                                                 in intimacy or sex, mistrust, isolation
                       aches and pains, dizziness, headache                                                     from friends, diminished concentration,
                                                                                                                preoccupation with trauma, whirling
                                                                                                                thoughts, perfectionist standards, self doubt
                    5 McCann. L., Pearlman, L.A. (1990). Vicarious Traumatization: a
                    framework for understanding the psychological effects of work with
                    victims; Journal of Traumatic Stress, 3(1), 216-149.

                    6 Yassen, J. (1995). Preventing secondary traumatic stress disorder. In
                    Figley, C.R. (Ed.): Compassion fatigue: coping with secondary traumatic
                    stress disorder in those who treat the traumatized, 178-208.

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                                              In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Professional Reactions                                                                        experienced by Advocates and the turnover
                                                                                                                  and absenteeism that often results pose
                    •	 job performance – decrease in quality or
                                                                                                                  a threat to services for victims of crimes.
                       quantity of work, low motivation, avoidance
Table of Contents                                                                                                 An intervention program to curtail the job
                       of job tasks
                                                                                                                  related stress experienced by advocacy staff
                    •	 morale – decrease in confidence, loss of                                                   is necessary to protect their health and well-
                       interest, dissatisfaction, negative attitude,                                              being. It is also necessary to safeguard the
                       apathy                                                                                     critical services they provide to survivors of
                    •	 relationships with peers – impatience,                                                     violence.
                       decrease in quality of relationship, poor
                       communication, staff conflicts                                                             Research has demonstrated that, while
                                                                                                                  valuable, individual self-care strategies alone
                    •	 behavior – absenteeism, exhaustion, faulty                                                 do not work. 8 It is through sharing clinical
                       judgment, irritability, tardiness, overwork                                                material with others, moving out of isolation,
                                                                                                                  and working on change at all levels that
                    What can I do about STS?                                                                      makes a difference in an Advocate’s health
                                                                                                                  and well-being.
                    Evaluations of co-worker support programs
                    have shown that increased interpersonal                                                       Self-care at the individual, professional and
                    and organizational support generated                                                          93-108. Griffin, S. (1997). The professional careers’ group: supporting group
                    through these groups decreases the stress                                                     work for young sexual abusers. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21 (7), 681-690.

                    experienced by workers, decreases symptoms
                    of burnout, and enhances employees’                                                           8 Bober T, Regehr, C (2006). Strategies for reducing secondary or vicarious
                                                                                                                  trauma: do they work?. Brief Treatment and Crisis Intervention 6(1), 1-9.
                    ability to perform on the job.7 The burnout                                                   Shinn, M., Rasario, .M. Morch, H., chestnut, D.E. (1984). Coping with job
                                                                                                                  stress and burnout in the human services. Journal of Personality and
                    7 Heaney, CA., et.al., (1995). The caregiver support program: an                              Social Psychology, 46(4), 864-876. Bernier, D. (1998). A study of coping:
                    intervention to increase employee coping resources and enhance mental                         successful recovery of severe burnout and other reactions to severe work-
                    health. Murphy, L.R. (Ed): Hurrell, J.J.Jr. (Ed) et.al. Job Stress Interventions,             related stress. Work and Stress, 12(1), 50-65.

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             organization levels needs to be an integral                     •	 arranging group lunches or other meetings
                    part of one’s life if he or she is to thrive as an                 with coworkers
                    Advocate. Some examples follow:
Table of Contents                                                                   Organizational
                    Personal                                                        •	 attending regular staff and supervision
                    •	 exercise                                                        meetings

                    •	 maintaining medical appointments                             •	 planning for staff retreat

                    •	 reading                                                      •	 involvement in organizational policy
                    •	 adequate rest
                                                                                    •	 personalization of office space or work area
                    •	 creative projects
                    •	 socializing                                                  Community
                    •	 exposure to the arts/performance                             •	 attendance at religious or spiritual services
                    •	 spa/wellness treatment                                       •	 involvement in community effort such as a
                                                                                       community clean up day or neighborhood
                    •	 healthy eating                                                  gathering

                    Professional                                                    •	 involvement in a chosen political activity
                                                                                       or cause, such as writing a legislator or
                    •	 pursuing professional development                               attending a rally
                    •	 taking a real lunch break (away from your                    Further, research and practice are
                       desk!)                                                       demonstrating the harm done by placing the
                                                                                    responsibility of restoration on the individual
                    •	 maintaining regular supervision meetings

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
Chapter             Advocate. In essence, the system “blames the                                             two of the terms that have been coined
                    victim” in a way, parallel to the treatment we                                           that embrace the significant benefits of this
                    abhor in other systems. By individualizing the                                           work. Recognizing the ways in which one
Table of Contents   problem, organizations do not and will not                                               learns about coping and resilience from the
                    make the changes necessary to sustain their                                              coping of victims in the face of adversity,
                    staff. Areas of workplace focus that can build                                           researchers stress the value of consciously
                    resilience and decrease STS include: quality                                             attending to this learning and applying it to
                    supervision, peer support, support of healthy                                            one’s own life. They further underscore the
                    work/life balance, training and consultation                                             value of recognizing the “complex potential
                    and decreasing the number of traumatized                                                 of therapeutic work both to fatigue and to
                    victims in one’s case load.9                                                             heal.”12

                    While this chapter has focused on Secondary
                    or Vicarious Trauma, and ways to ameliorate
                    the negative effects, it is important to
                    recognize the myriad benefits that come
                    with victim services work. Compassion
                    Satisfaction10 and Vicarious Resilience11 are
                    9 Bober T, Regehr, C. (2006); Slattery (2009) Violence Against Women ;
                    Iliffe, G. & Steed, L. (2000). Exploring counselor’s experience of working
                    with perpetrators and survivors of domestic violence, 15, 292-412;
                    Pearlman, L.A. & Saakvitne, K.W. (1995). Trauma and the therapist.
                    Countertransference and vicarious traumatization in psychotherapy
                    with incest survivors. New York: W.W. Norton. Hesse, A. (2002). Secondary
                    trauma: How working with trauma survivors affects therapist. Clinical
                    Social Work Journal, 30, 293-309.

                    10 Hudnall Stamm

                    11 Hernandez P., Gangsei D, Engstrom D. (2007). Vicarious resilience: a                  46(2), 229-241.
                    new concept in work with those who survive trauma. Family Process,                       12 Hernandez, et.al., p.237.

For Advocates: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Self Care
                                                                                              In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                    GLOSSARY                                                     which requires reporting of child abuse.
                    of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
Table of Contents
                    10-Day Hearing:
                    the “return” hearing for a 209A petitioner.                  a person who knowingly and voluntarily aids,
                    The time when both victim and abuser may                     assists, cooperates or is an accessory with
                    address the judge.                                           the principal offender in the commission of a
                    209A:                                                        Accusation:
                    a term for Massachusetts General Laws                        a formal charge against a person, to the
                    chapter 209A, entitled Abuse Prevention,                     effect that he is guilty of a punishable
                    which grants protective orders for abused                    offense, laid before a court or magistrate
                    persons.                                                     having jurisdiction to inquire into the alleged
                    a reference to the state law entitled                        Acquittal:
                    Harassment Prevention Order law,                             the legal and formal determination that the
                    Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 258E,                    evidence is not sufficient to prove that a
                    which grants certain protections to victims                  person who has been charged with a crime
                    of sexual assault, stalking and criminal                     actually committed it.
                    harassment regardless of their relationship to
                    the perpetrator.                                             Adjudication:
                                                                                 the determination or decision made by the
                    51A:                                                         court, usually resulting in a judgment of
                    a term used to describe actions under                        acquittal or a judgment of conviction.
                    Massachusetts General Laws chapter 119
Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Admission to Sufficient Facts:                                decision of a lower court.
                    an acknowledgment on the part of the
                    accused admitting that there is sufficient                    Appellate Court:
Table of Contents   evidence to warrant a finding of guilty.                      a court having jurisdiction of appeal
                                                                                  and review; a court to which causes are
                    Affidavit:                                                    removable by appeals, certiorari, error or
                    a written or printed declaration or statement                 report. A reviewing court, and, except in
                    of facts, made voluntarily, and confirmed by                  special cases where original jurisdiction is
                    the oath or affirmation of the party making                   conferred, not a “trial court” or court of first
                    it, taken before a person having authority to                 instance.
                    administer such oath or affirmation.
                    Alibi:                                                        the initial court appearance of the accused
                    a defense that places the defendant at the                    which is held for the purpose of reading the
                    relevant time in a different place than the                   complaint or indictment against the accused,
                    scene involved and so removed there from                      having the accused enter a plea to the
                    as to render it impossible for him to be the                  charges, and setting bail and other release
                    guilty party.                                                 conditions.

                    Allegation:                                                   Arrest:
                    the assertion, claim, declaration, or statement               the apprehension or detention of an
                    of a party to an action, made in a pleading,                  individual by legal authority for the purpose
                    setting out what he expects to prove.                         of charging him or her with a specific offense.

                    Appeal:                                                       Assistant District Attorney:
                    a request to a higher court to review the                     a lawyer for the Commonwealth who

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    represents the interests of the general public              Bench Trial:
                    (also known as the prosecutor or ADA).                      a trial held before a judge without a jury.

Table of Contents   Attorney-Client Privilege:                                  Binding Over:
                    a professional relationship between an                      the act by which a court or magistrate
                    attorney and a client which prevents the                    requires a person to enter into a recognizance
                    attorney from disclosing the content of                     or furnishes bail to appear for trial, to keep
                    communications with his or her client                       the peace, to attend as a witness, etc. Also
                    without the client’s consent.                               describes act of lower court in transferring
                                                                                case to higher court or to grand jury after
                                                                                a finding of probable cause to believe that
                    B                                                           defendant committed crime.
                    an amount of money or property sometimes                    Boston Municipal Court (BMC):
                    required by a judge to be paid to the court                 the part of the Massachusetts Trial Court
                    by the defendant to insure future attendance                which has jurisdiction over certain cases
                    in court.                                                   originating with-in the downtown Boston
                    Bail Hearing:
                    a hearing entitled to the defendant if he/she               Burden of Proof:
                    feels the amount of bail set by the judge is                a legal standard which establishes the
                    too excessive. These hearings may occur at                  amount of evidence that must be met for
                    any time during the court proceedings once                  proving a case. The burden of proof in
                    the bail has been set.                                      criminal trials requires prosecutors to prove
                                                                                beyond a reasonable doubt that a defendant
                                                                                is guilty of the alleged crime. The burden

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    of proof in civil trials requires plaintiffs to               to adequately care for and protect that child.
                    prove their case by a preponderance of the                    OR A child between the ages of 6 and 16
                    evidence, which means that it is more likely                  who persistently and willfully fails to attend
Table of Contents   than not that the facts alleged by the plaintiff              school or persistently violates the lawful and
                    occurred.                                                     reasonable regulations of his or her school.

                                                                                  Care and Protection:
                    C                                                             an action from the Department of Children
                    CARI:                                                         and Family which determines whether or
                    Court Activity Record Information                             not a child is receiving adequate care. Also
                                                                                  referred to as a C&P.
                    Charge to Jury:
                    the final address by the judge to the jury                    Case Law:
                    before the verdict, in which he sums up the                   the area of law where legal precedent has
                    case, and instructs jury as to the rules of law               been created by earlier published court
                    which apply to its various issues, and which                  decisions. This law is distinct from the
                    they must observe. The term also applies to                   Constitution, state and federal statutes
                    the address of court to grand jury, in which                  or administrative regulations but often
                    the latter are instructed as to their duties.                 interprets them.

                    Child in need of services (CHINS):                            Cause of Action:
                    a child below the age of 17 who persistently                  the legal basis for a civil lawsuit brought by
                    runs away from home or refuses to obey                        one party against another, such as the victim
                    the lawful and reasonable commands of his                     against the offender.
                    or her parent(s) or legal guardian, thereby
                    resulting in that -parent or guardian’s inability

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Change of Venue:                                                 enactment of legislatures, the common law
                    the transfer of a case from one court to                         comprises the body of those principles and
                    another having the same authority but in a                       rules of action, relating to the government
Table of Contents   different geographic location.                                   and security of persons and property, which
                                                                                     derive their authority solely from usages and
                    Civil Action:                                                    customs of immemorial antiquity, or from
                    a lawsuit to enforce private rights, to obtain                   the judgments and decrees of the courts
                    compensation for a violation of those rights,                    recognizing, affirming, and enforcing such
                    or to recover monetary damages. A civil                          usages and customs; and, in this sense,
                    action is brought directly by the person who                     particularly the ancient unwritten law of
                    is complaining, usually with the help of a                       England and the American colonies before
                    private attorney. Civil actions are all types of                 the American revolution.
                    actions which are not criminal proceedings.
                                                                                     Community Based Advocate:
                    Clerk Magistrate Hearing:                                        an individual who works with victims of
                    also called a “show cause hearing,” can be                       crime providing support and resource
                    one of the first stages of the criminal justice                  referrals and is directly associated with a non
                    system. See Show Cause Hearing.                                  governmental agency.

                    Co-defendant:                                                    Commutation:
                    one of two or more persons charged in                            an act of the Governor, with the assent
                    the lawsuit or tried in the same criminal                        of the Governor’s Council, changing a
                    proceedings.                                                     sentence imposed for a crime to a less severe
                                                                                     punishment after a formal request from the
                    Common Law:                                                      offender.
                    as distinguished from law created by the

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                      In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Competency:                                                    Confidentiality:
                    a determination that a defendant has                           the state or quality of being confidential
                    sufficient mental capacity to stand trial and                  treated as private and not for publication.
Table of Contents   to assist defense counsel in the defense of
                    the charges.                                                   Consecutive:
                                                                                   Successive; succeeding one another in regular
                                                                                   order; to follow in uninterrupted succession.
                    Complaint:                                                     Contempt of Court:
                    a formal written document submitted to the                     the willful failure to obey a court order or
                    court to formally initiate a civil or criminal                 the showing of disrespect or unacceptable
                    proceeding.                                                    behavior in the presence of the court.

                    Concurrent Sentence:                                           Continuance:
                    a criminal penalty consisting of two or more                   a postponement of a scheduled court event
                    sentences of any type which are to be served                   until a future date.
                                                                                   Contingency Fee Basis:
                    Confession:                                                    when an attorney accepts the case and
                    a voluntary statement made by a person                         you are not successful in recovering civil
                    charged with the commission of a crime or                      damages, you are not required to pay
                    misdemeanor, communicated to another                           attorney fees; the attorney’s fee is contingent
                    person, wherein he acknowledges himself                        upon winning a judgment from the
                    to be guilty of the offense charged, and                       defendant.
                    discloses the circumstances of the act or the
                    share and participation which he had in it.                    Continued Without a Finding (CWOF):
                                                                                   a procedure by which, after accepting

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    an admission of sufficient facts from a                      courtroom.
                    defendant, or finding after trial that there are
                    sufficient facts to support a finding of guilt,              Court Order:
Table of Contents   the court does not enter a guilty finding, but               the decision of a judge on any motion or
                    rather continues the case for a period of time.              request by which a particular outcome is
                    At the end of that time, if the defendant has                granted.
                    not further violated the law and has met the
                    conditions of the continuance, the charge is                 Court Record:
                    dismissed.                                                   official record of court decisions in a
                                                                                 particular case.
                    the result of a criminal trial which ends in a               Court Reporter/Stenographer:
                    verdict or finding that the defendant is guilty.             the person who records all proceedings in
                                                                                 the court room.
                    CORI Certification:
                    a process by which a victim of crime or                      Criminal Case:
                    other citizen becomes eligible to receive                    matters or cases concerning acts considered
                    certain information about a convicted                        harmful to the general public that are
                    offender.                                                    forbidden by law and are punishable by fine,
                                                                                 imprisonment or both. Most criminal cases
                    Court Officer:                                               are tried in state courts. Those tried in federal
                    uniformed officers who announce the                          courts generally involve mail fraud, robbery
                    beginnings and end of court sessions, direct                 or federally insured banks, or illegal drug
                    victims and witnesses to where they should                   importation.
                    be seated in the courtroom, and escort
                    defendants and jurors into and out of the

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Criminal Responsibility:                                      detainer of a man’s person by virtue of lawful
                    having sufficient mental capacity to be held                  process or authority.
                    responsible for the commission of criminal
Table of Contents
                    Cross-Examination:                                            Damages:
                    a part of a trial when questions are asked of                 a pecuniary compensation or indemnity,
                    a witness by the opposing counsel, following                  which may be recovered in the courts by any
                    the direct examination, usually in the form of                person who has suffered loss, detriment, or
                    leading questions.                                            injury, whether to his person, property, or
                                                                                  rights, through the unlawful act or omission
                    Custodial Parent/Guardianship:                                or negligence of another. A sum of money
                    the parent who has been given physical                        awarded to a person injured by the tort of
                    custody of a minor child.                                     another.

                    Custody:                                                      Dangerousness Hearing:
                    the care and control of a thing or person. The                court hearing where the judge hears
                    keeping, guarding, care, watch, inspection,                   testimony on whether the defendant is a
                    preservation or security of a thing, carrying                 threat to society and he or she should be
                    with it the idea of the thing being within                    held without bail.
                    the immediate personal care and control of
                    the person whose custody it is subjected.                     Deadly Force:
                    Immediate charge and control, and not                         force likely or intended to cause death
                    the final, absolute control of ownership,                     or great bodily harm; may be reasonable
                    implying responsibility for the protection and                or unreasonable, depending on the
                    preservation of the thing in custody. Also the                circumstances.

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Default Warrant:                                              Department of Children and Family
                    a warrant issued to arrest an individual who                  Services (DCF):
                    failed to appear in court when scheduled.                     the leading state agency that responds to
Table of Contents                                                                 child abuse and neglect reports throughout
                    Defendant:                                                    the Commonwealth.
                    a person who is formally charged with
                    committing a crime or, in a civil case, a                     Department of Mental Health (DMH):
                    person against whom an action is filed for                    the state’s Mental Health Authority, assuring
                    monetary damages or to enforce other rights.                  and providing access to services and
                                                                                  supports to meet the mental health needs of
                    Defense Attorney:                                             individuals of all ages, enabling them to live,
                    the attorney representing the defendant in                    work and participates in their communities.
                    criminal or civil proceedings.
                                                                                  Department of Youth Services (DYS):
                    Delinquent Children:                                          the agency responsible for operating the
                    an infant of not more than specified age                      holding facilities for juveniles who committed
                    who has violated criminal laws or engages in                  offenses between the ages of 7 and 17.
                    disobedient, indecent or immoral conduct
                    and is in need of treatment, rehabilitation, or               Depositions:
                    supervision.                                                  pre-trial proceedings in which attorneys for
                                                                                  parties in a civil case have the opportunity to
                    Department of Corrections (DOC):                              question, under oath, the opposing parties
                    the agency responsible for the care, custody                  and potential witnesses in the case.
                    and rehabilitation of state prisoners.
                                                                                  Direct Examination:
                                                                                  a part of a trial when questions are asked to

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    a witness by the attorney who called that                    Disposition:
                    witness to testify.                                          the outcome of a criminal case, usually
                                                                                 referring to the sentence imposed.
Table of Contents   Dismissal:
                    the formal decision to terminate a court                     District Attorney:
                    action.                                                      an elected public official in each county
                                                                                 who prosecutes crimes on behalf of the
                    Dismissal with Prejudice:                                    Commonwealth.
                    a judge’s decision to terminate the
                    prosecution of a pending charge in a case                    District Court Department:
                    after which the same criminal charge cannot                  the part of the Massachusetts Trial Court
                    be brought against the defendant at a later                  which has jurisdiction over all misdemeanor
                    date.                                                        criminal offenses and certain felony criminal
                                                                                 offenses, except for parts of Boston over
                    Dismissal without Prejudice:                                 which the Boston Municipal Court has
                    a judge’s decision to terminate the                          jurisdiction.
                    prosecution of a pending charge in a case
                    but which does not prevent the prosecution                   Docket:
                    from bringing the same criminal charge                       the calendar of court cases awaiting action
                    against the defendant in the future.                         on a particular day; also refers to the books
                                                                                 in which all official court action on a case is
                    Discovery:                                                   recorded.
                    pre-trial process by which both parties
                    seek and obtain the disclosure of facts and                  Double Jeopardy:
                    evidence about the case from the other.                      the constitutional prohibition against a
                                                                                 person being tried twice for the same

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    offense.                                                        Ex Parte:
                                                                                    on one side only; by or for one party; done
                    Due Process:                                                    for, in behalf of, or on the application of,
Table of Contents   the constitutional guarantee that legal                         one party only. A judicial proceeding, order,
                    proceedings will be carried out according                       injunction, etc., is said to be ex parte when
                    to basic rules of fairness established for the                  it is taken for granted at the instance and
                    protection of an individual’s rights.                           for the benefit of only one party only, and
                                                                                    without notice to, or contestation by, any
                    E                                                               person adversely interested.
                    Earned Credits:
                    a specified period of time which is earned                      Ex Parte Hearing:
                    by incarcerated offenders by successfully                       hearings in which the court or tribunal hears
                    participating in rehabilitative programs                        only one side of the controversy.
                    operated by correctional facilities, and is
                    applied as a reduction in the amount of time                    Exhibits:
                    an offender is to be incarcerated.                              any document or other physical item offered
                                                                                    and admitted in evidence at trial.
                    any type of admissible information presented                    Expert Witness:
                    before a court that relates to or establishes a                 a specialist in a particular subject matter
                    point in question, the use of which is dictated                 whose training and expertise is sought at
                    by the laws and rules of evidence.                              trial to provide information and opinions on
                                                                                    a contested issue and who is approved as an
                    Exculpatory:                                                    expert witness by the judge.
                    clearing or tending to clear from alleged fault
                    or guilt; excusing.

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    F                                                                 G
                    Finding:                                                          Grand Jury:
                    the formal decision of “guilty” or “not guilty”                   a group of 23 citizens whose duty is to
Table of Contents
                    made by a judge upon completion of the                            receive complaints and hear evidence in
                    trial.                                                            criminal cases as presented by the prosecutor
                                                                                      and decide whether that evidence is
                    Fines:                                                            sufficient to charge an individual with a crime
                    a pecuniary punishment imposed by lawful                          by issuing an indictment.
                    tribunal upon person convicted of crime or
                    misdemeanor. A pecuniary penalty. It may
                    include a forfeiture or penalty recoverable                       H
                    in a civil action, and, in criminal convictions,                  Hearing:
                    may be in addition to imprisonment.                               a court proceeding in which evidence and
                                                                                      arguments on a particular legal issue are
                    Felony:                                                           presented to a judge.
                    a criminal offense deemed to be of a more
                    serious nature and punishable by stiffer                          Hostile Witness:
                    penalties, including a sentence to state                          a witness who is antagonistic and adverse
                    prison.                                                           to the party who called the person to testify
                                                                                      and, therefore, may be questioned by the use
                    Furlough:                                                         of leading questions.
                    the temporary release of an inmate from a
                    correctional institution for a brief period.                      House of Correction:
                    Inmates convicted of first degree murder are                      a county correctional facility run by the
                    not eligible for furlough releases.                               county sheriff to house defendants awaiting
                                                                                      trial and those convicted offenders who are

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                       In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    sentenced to shorter terms or for crimes                       Insanity Defense:
                    which the law determines to be less serious.                   a criminal defense which is based on the
                                                                                   theory that a defendant suffered such a
Table of Contents   Hung Jury:                                                     degree of mental impairment that he or she
                    a jury in a criminal case whose members                        was unable to understand the nature and
                    cannot agree unanimously as to whether                         consequences of his or her criminal actions.
                    the defendant should be found guilty or not
                    guilty. The case may be retried at a later date                J
                    with a new jury.                                               Jail:
                                                                                   is usually run by the county sheriff and holds
                    I                                                              defendants awaiting trials.
                    Incident Report:
                    a police officer’s written report of a police                  Judge:
                    response to a reported crime.                                  a public official appointed to preside over
                                                                                   legal proceedings and decide questions of
                    Indictment:                                                    law brought before the court. The judge may
                    a formal written statement issued by a                         also be the trier of fact in a jury-waived trial.
                    grand jury concluding that there is sufficient
                    evidence to charge a person with committing                    Judgment:
                    a crime.                                                       the final decision of the court in a given case
                                                                                   resolving legal questions.
                    a court order directing one or more persons                    Jurisdiction:
                    to refrain from doing specified acts.                          the subject matter and geographical range of
                                                                                   a court’s authority to hear a particular issue.

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Jury:                                                         no answer. Leading questions are permitted
                    a panel consisting of a statutorily defined                   only by opposing counsel during cross
                    number of citizens selected according to                      examination, or of a witness who has been
Table of Contents   law and sworn to hear evidence and decide                     declared a hostile witness during a direct
                    matters of fact in a criminal or civil action and             examination.
                    to render a verdict in such action.
                    a young person who has not yet attained the                   M
                    age at which he or she should be treated as                   Massachusetts General Laws (M.G.L.):
                    an adult for purposes of criminal law.                        the collection of laws set forth by the
                                                                                  Massachusetts legislature that are used to
                    Juvenile Court Department:                                    govern the Commonwealth.
                    the part of the Massachusetts Trial Court
                    which has jurisdiction over cases of                          Mandatory Sentence:
                    delinquency, children in need of services                     a type of sentence which by statute requires
                    (CHINS) and Care and Protection petitions.                    that a fixed penalty shall be imposed upon
                                                                                  conviction for certain crimes and does not
                    Juvenile Delinquent:                                          allow a judge discretion in sentencing.
                    an individual under the age of 17 who has
                    been found to have violated a criminal law.                   Mediation:
                                                                                  a process by which a trained facilitator
                                                                                  assists the conflicting parties in reaching a
                    L                                                             settlement.
                    Leading Question:
                    a question asked by an attorney of a witness                  Misdemeanor:
                    which offers information and requires a yes or                a criminal offense considered by law to be

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    less serious than a felony which may be                       evidence or reports that have not been
                    punished by a house of correction sentence                    turned over to the defense. This motion is
                    or a fine, but not by imprisonment in state                   decided by the court and is argued orally by
Table of Contents   prison.                                                       the prosecution and the defense.

                    Mistrial:                                                     Motion to Suppress:
                    a trial which is terminated by a judge                        a motion made by the defense to eliminate
                    prior to its normal conclusion because                        any evidence that has been illegally obtained.
                    of circumstances which the judge has                          These motions are usually evidentiary
                    concluded prevent fair proceedings, or a trial                hearings, which means that there will be an
                    ending in a hung jury.                                        actual hearing with witnesses and testimony.
                                                                                  They may be conducted well before the
                    Mitigating Circumstances:                                     trial date, or just prior to the jury selection
                    factors related to the commission of an                       process.
                    offense or the offender which do not excuse
                    a criminal act but which may reduce the                       Motion to Continue:
                    severity of the sentence for that act.                        the prosecution or the defense may motion
                                                                                  the court for additional time. Such delays
                    Motion:                                                       become necessary for a variety of reasons,
                    an application to the court requesting that                   including the unavailability of witnesses,
                    an order be issued to bring about a specific                  or when more time is needed for medical
                    action.                                                       testing.

                    Motion for Discovery:                                         Motion to Dismiss:
                    a motion made by the defense to determine                     the defense may motion the court to dismiss
                    whether the prosecution has additional                        one or all of the indictments against the

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    defendant based upon a variety of factors.                   sentencing consequences as a plea of guilty.

                    Motion for a Required Finding of Not                         Nolle Prosequi:
Table of Contents   Guilty:                                                      the termination of court action by the
                    a motion made by the defense at the closing                  prosecutor’s decision not to pursue the case.
                    of the prosecution’s case for a required                     Not Guilty:
                    finding of not guilty due to the lack of                     a plea of the general issue in the actions
                    sufficient evidence to conclude that the                     of trespass and case. Plea entered by the
                    defendant is guilty of each and every element                accused to criminal charges.
                    of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

                    N                                                            Objection:
                    No Bill:                                                     opposition by either of the parties to some
                    this phrase, endorsed by a grand jury on                     proceeding or evidence in the course of a
                    the indictment, is equivalent to “not found”,                case on the grounds that what is objected
                    “no indictment”, or “not a true bill”. It means              to is illegal or improper. Objections are used
                    that, in the opinion of the jury, evidence was               to call the court’s attention to improper
                    insufficient to warrant the return of a formal               evidence or procedure. Objections are usually
                    charge.                                                      made in open court so that they will appear
                                                                                 on the record if there is an appeal.
                    No Contest/Nolo Contendere:
                    a defendant’s formal response in court in                    Overruled:
                    which it is stated that the charges are not                  the judge’s denial of any objection raised
                    contested and which, while not an admission                  to the judge. If an objection to a question
                    of guilt, subjects the defendant to the same                 is overruled, the judge allows the question

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    to be answered and the evidence objected                     Board also makes recommendations to the
                    to is admitted for the jury’s or judge’s                     Governor on the merits of petitions for
                    consideration.                                               pardons and commutations, supervises all
Table of Contents                                                                those released on parole, and revokes parole
                                                                                 permits for violations of parole conditions.
                    Pardon:                                                      Parole Officer:
                    an act of the Governor releasing a prisoner                  an employee of the Parole Board whose
                    from serving the remainder of a sentence.                    responsibility it is to supervise offenders
                                                                                 throughout their parole period.
                    the conditional release of an offender from                  Parole Revocation Hearing:
                    a house of correction or prison prior to                     parole revocation hearing is in the nature of
                    completing the sentence imposed, under                       an administrative proceeding for the purpose
                    the supervision of a parole officer, which is                of determining whether a parolee has
                    granted at the discretion of the Parole Board                violated the conditions of his parole.
                    and subject to its own rules and certain state
                    statutes. Specific conditions can be placed on               Peremptory Challenge:
                    an offender’s conduct while on parole.                       removal of a prospective juror without
                                                                                 stating a reason. The number of such
                    Parole Board:                                                challenges permitted to the prosecution and
                    the state agency authorized to determine                     the defense is limited, and challenges are
                    whether and under what conditions an                         not allowed if they are part of an effort to
                    eligible offender should be released on                      exclude based on race, sex, national origin or
                    parole to serve the remainder of his or her                  other discriminatory factors.
                    sentence in the community. The Parole

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Personal Recognizance:                                         truth. See Burden of Proof.
                    a pre-trial release in which the defendant
                    signs a promise to appear in court whenever                    Presentence Report:
Table of Contents   notified to do so, but does not pledge                         a report completed by the probation officer
                    anything of value to be forfeited upon non-                    and submitted to the judge before the
                    appearance on a court date.                                    sentencing of a defendant. The report is
                                                                                   based on an investigation by the probation
                    Plaintiff:                                                     officer into the defendant’s background, the
                    the party which brings suit or complaint in                    circumstances of the crime and information
                    court.                                                         supplied by the victim.

                    Plea Agreement:                                                Presumption of Innocence:
                    an admission in court by the defendant                         a fundamental principle of law which
                    to some or all of the charges, based on an                     assumes that the defendant is innocent of
                    agreement that the prosecutor will make                        the offense charged, and requires that the
                    a certain sentence recommendation. If the                      prosecution prove the guilt of the defendant
                    defendant enters a guilty plea, there is no                    beyond a reasonable doubt.
                    need for a trial.
                                                                                   Pretrial Conference:
                    Police Complaint:                                              a meeting, before trial, between the
                    a formal charge brought by the police.                         prosecutor and the defense attorney. During
                                                                                   this meeting the attorneys may discuss
                    Preponderance of the Evidence:                                 the merits of the case, exchange discovery
                    is the burden of proof required in a civil trial,              information, and possibly work out a plea
                    were one side provides more convincing                         agreement.
                    evidence and such evidence is probably the

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Pretrial Hearing:                                            magistrate to determine whether there is
                    it is a court hearing that happens before the                sufficient evidence to hold a defendant who
                    trial, and both attorneys exchange the require               was arrested without an arrest warrant until
Table of Contents   information and discuss hoe the case may                     his or her arraignment.
                    proceed.                                                     Probation:
                                                                                 a sentence whereby conditional freedom is
                    Privileged Communications:                                   granted by a judge to a convicted offender.
                    statements made by persons with a certain                    The offender is required to abide by
                    relationship to each other, such as husband/                 established conditions or face a period of
                    wife, priest/ penitent, attorney/client and                  imprisonment.
                    doctor/patient, which by law either do
                    not have to be disclosed, or may not be                      Probation Department:
                    disclosed.                                                   a court agency whose primary functions
                                                                                 include the investigation and supervision
                    Probable Cause:                                              of individuals placed on probation by the
                    a set of facts or circumstances which would                  court and the preparation of presentence
                    indicate to a reasonable person that an                      reports to assist judges in determining the
                    offense was committed by a particular                        appropriate penalty.
                                                                                 Probation Officer:
                    Probable Cause Hearing:                                      an employee of the probation department
                    a court proceeding held before a judge                       whose main responsibility is the supervision
                    to determine whether there is sufficient                     of a convicted offender who is not
                    evidence to transfer the criminal case from                  incarcerated.
                    District Court to Superior Court; Also, a court
                    proceeding held before a judge or clerk

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                  In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Prosecutor:                                                 evidence or lack of evidence, and it is doubt
                    an attorney employed by a government                        which reasonable man or woman might
                    agency whose primary responsibility is                      entertain, and is not fanciful doubt, is not
Table of Contents   to conduct criminal proceedings against                     imagined doubt, and is not doubt that
                    individuals accused of committing criminal                  juror might conjure up to avoid performing
                    offenses. See Assistant District Attorney.                  unpleasant task or duty.

                    PTSD:                                                       Redirect:
                    Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. immediate                   after the “cross-examination” both attorneys
                    and/or prolonged emotional reactions as a                   have another opportunity to ask you further
                    result of victimization.                                    questions in order to clarify your responses.

                    Public Defender:                                            Restitution:
                    an attorney employed by a government                        a condition of a sentence imposed by a court
                    agency to represent defendants who are                      which requires the offender to pay for crime-
                    unable to pay the costs of hiring an attorney;              related financial losses incurred by the victim
                    Also, term sometimes applies to a private                   because of the offender’s crime, such as
                    attorney when appointed by the court to                     repair or replacement costs for damaged or
                    represent defendants who are unable to pay                  stolen property.
                    the costs of hiring an attorney.
                                                                                Restraining Order:
                                                                                see 209A.
                    Reasonable Doubt:                                           Revise and Revoke:
                    reasonable doubt which will justify acquittal               this means that the defendant is seeking to
                    is doubt based on reason and arising from                   have his/her sentence reviewed by the trial

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    court.                                                      Sequester:
                                                                                to set witnesses apart from the court
                                                                                proceedings so that they do not hear the
Table of Contents
                    S                                                           testimony of other witnesses. Also, to set
                    Safety Plan:                                                apart a jury during court proceedings and/or
                    is a valuable tool to use in abusive                        deliberations so that the jurors are not unduly
                    relationships or if you are planning on leaving             influenced in reaching their verdict in a case.
                    an abusive relationship. Safety plans are
                    tools to help you keep safe. It is important to             Sexually Dangerous Person Petition:
                    have a conversation with an advocate when                   is a civil proceeding for those convicted
                    creating a safety plan.                                     on sex offenses during which the District
                                                                                Attorney’s Office presents evidence through
                    Sentencing:                                                 police reports, trial transcripts, and experts
                    the post-conviction stage of the criminal                   who can offer testimony with regards to the
                    justice process in which the defendant is                   defendant’s current state of mind.
                    brought before the court for imposition
                    of sentence. Usually a trial judge imposes                  Sheriff:
                    sentence, but in some jurisdictions                         the chief executive and administrative
                    sentencing is performed by jury or by                       officer of a county, being chosen by popular
                    sentencing councils.                                        election. His principal duties are in aid of the
                                                                                criminal courts and civil courts of record;
                    Sentencing Guidelines:                                      such as serving process, summoning juries,
                    an instrument developed to indicate to                      executing judgments, holding judicial sales
                    judges a range of appropriate sentences for a               and the like. He is also chief conservator of
                    particular offense.                                         the peace within his territorial jurisdiction.
                                                                                When used in statutes, the term may include

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    a deputy sheriff. He is in general charge of                   if committed by an adult runaway, truancy,
                    the county jail in most states.                                stubborn child, etc.

Table of Contents   Show Cause Hearing:                                            Statute of Limitations:
                    a hearing, usually before a clerk magistrate,                  a law which sets forth the period of time
                    that shows reason a criminal charge may be                     within which a civil action or criminal
                    filed.                                                         prosecution must be started after the date of
                                                                                   the crime or wrongful act.
                    Split Sentence:
                    one where penalty of fine and imprisonment,                    Statutory Credits:
                    as provided by statute, is imposed and                         a set amount of time that is automatically
                    imprisonment part is suspended and fine                        deducted from the amount of time an
                    part enforced. It is also exemplified in a                     offender is to be incarcerated. This practice
                    sentence by which the defendant serves                         was discontinued for offenders convicted of
                    some time and the balance of the sentence is                   crimes after July 1, 1994.
                                                                                   Stay Away Order:
                    State Prison:                                                  an order by a judge were the defendant is
                    a correctional facility run by the Department                  told not to contact the victim or witness of
                    of Correction to house convicted offenders                     the criminal case.
                    who are sentenced to longer terms or for
                    crimes which the law determines to be more                     Subpoena:
                    serious.                                                       a court-issued written command to appear
                                                                                   at a certain time to give testimony about a
                    Status Offenses:                                               crime or other matter.
                    a juvenile crime that would not be a crime

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                    In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Superior Court Department:                                    Sustain:
                    the part of the Massachusetts Trial Court                     a judge’s acceptance of any objection. If
                    which has jurisdiction over all crimes and                    an objection is sustained, the evidence or
Table of Contents   generally exercises jurisdiction over the                     conduct objected to will not be admitted for
                    most serious felony matters (those carrying                   the jury’s or judge’s consideration.
                    potential sentences of ten years or more in
                    state prison).
                    Supreme Judicial Court:                                       Testimony:
                    the highest court in the state (court of last                 statements given under oath by witnesses as
                    resort). 7 justices sit on the court; 5 justices              evidence in court.
                    sit en banc. Mandatory jurisdiction in civil,
                    criminal, judge disciplinary, advisory opinion,               Time Served:
                    and original proceeding cases. Discretionary                  a period of time spent in confinement during
                    jurisdiction in civil, criminal, administrative               the pendency of a case, prior to conviction
                    agency, juvenile and interlocutory decision                   and sentence, which is subtracted from the
                    cases.                                                        amount of time an offender is required to be
                    Suspended Sentence:
                    a conviction of a crime followed by a                         Transfer Hearing:
                    sentence that is given formally, but not                      is held to determine whether a juvenile
                    actually served. A suspended sentence in                      defendant should be tried as an adult.
                    criminal law means in effect that defendant is
                    not required at the time sentence is imposed                  Trial:
                    to serve the sentence.                                        a legal proceeding consisting of an
                                                                                  examination in court of the issues of fact and

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                   In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    law in a case, for the purpose of reaching a
                    judgment of conviction or acquittal of the
                    defendant in a criminal case or the liability
                                                                                    To annul; to set aside; to cancel or rescind.
Table of Contents   and damages caused by a defendant in a civil
                                                                                    To render an act void; as, to vacate an entry
                                                                                    of record, or a judgment. As applied to a
                                                                                    judgment or decree it is not synonymous
                    Trial Court:
                                                                                    with “suspend” which means to stay
                    the court of original jurisdiction; the first
                                                                                    enforcement of judgment or decree.
                    court to consider litigation. Used in contrast
                    to appellate court.
                                                                                    a place from which a jury is drawn and where
                    True Bill:
                                                                                    a trial is held.
                    the endorsement made by a grand jury
                    upon a bill of indictment, when they find it
                    sustained by the truth of the accusation. The
                                                                                    a formal decision by a jury at the end of the
                    endorsement made by a grand jury when
                    they find sufficient evidence to warrant a
                    criminal charge. An indictment.
                                                                                    one who has suffered as the result of the
                    Truth in Sentencing Law:
                                                                                    commission of a crime or some other wrong.
                    enacted July 1, 1994, changes the formula
                    for determining parole eligibility dates for
                                                                                    Victim Impact Statement:
                    offenders who committed crimes after July 1,
                                                                                    a written or oral statement made by the
                                                                                    victim to the court at sentencing describing
                                                                                    the physical, emotional and financial effects

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                     In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    of the crime and recommending a sentence                   Witness:
                    to be imposed on the offender.                             someone who has personal knowledge of
                                                                               relevant circumstances of a case and who
Table of Contents   Victim Witness Advocate:                                   testifies under oath as to what has been seen,
                    an individual employed by the prosecutor’s                 heard, or otherwise observed by that person.
                    office or other criminal justice agency to
                    inform crime victims of their rights and                   Witness Fee:
                    available services and to assist them through              a token fee provided to victims and other
                    the criminal justice system.                               witnesses to cover travel expenses for
                                                                               each day they are required to come to
                    Voir Dire:                                                 court or otherwise participate in a criminal
                    a process of examining prospective jurors by               proceeding.
                    prosecutors and defense attorneys through
                    which persons who might be biased or
                    incapable of rendering a fair verdict may be               Y
                    screened out of the jury pool.                             Youthful Offender:
                                                                               a juvenile who, between the ages of fourteen
                                                                               and seventeen, is charged with a felony
                    W                                                          and has previously been committed to
                    Warrant:                                                   the Department of Youth Services, or has
                    an order issued by a court which directs a law             committed an offense which involves the
                    enforcement officer to arrest a person, search             infliction or threat of serious bodily harm,
                    a location, seize an object, or do some other              or has committed certain firearm offenses.
                    specified act.

Glossary of Legal and Criminal Justice Terms
                                                                In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    W     ith appreciation, the Massachusetts
                          Office for Victim Assistance would like
                    to gratefully acknowledge the following
                                                                              Kevin Becker
Table of Contents   people and their organizations for their                  Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard
                    invaluable contribution to updating this                  Medical School; Department of Psychiatry,
                    publication.                                              Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center;
                                                                              Director, Institute for Trauma & Crisis
                    The members of the Victim                                 Steve Bocko
                    Witness Assistance Board (VWAB):                          Deputy Commissioner, Training and Research,
                                                                              Office of the Commissioner of Probation
                    Martha Coakley
                    Massachusetts Attorney General, Chair                     Sandra Clark
                                                                              Director (ret.), Office of the Attorney General,
                    Jonathan Blodgett                                         Victim Compensation and Assistance Division
                    Essex County District Attorney
                                                                              Diane Coffey, Director
                    Timothy Cruz                                              Victim Services Unit, Massachusetts Parole
                    Plymouth County District Attorney                         Board

                    Yoko Kato                                                 Marie-Elena Edwards
                    Victim/Public Member, Victim Witness                      Director, Victim Services, Massachusetts
                    Assistance Board                                          Department of Youth Services

                    Evelyn Tobin                                              Erin Gaffney
                    Victim/Public Member, Victim Witness                      Director, Victim Services Unit, Massachusetts
                    Assistance Board                                          Department of Correction

                                                               In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts
                    Jennifer Franco                                             Lisa Tieszen
                    Staff Attorney, Massachusetts District                      Project Coordinator, Advocate Education
                    Attorneys Association                                       & Support, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical
Table of Contents
                    Elizabeth A. Keegan
                    Director, Victim Witness Advocates Program,                 Cheryl Watson
                    Berkshire County District Attorney’s Office                 Director, Victim Witness Advocates Program,
                                                                                Essex County District Attorney’s Office
                    Katherine Manners
                    Clinical Coordinator, Advocate Education                    Jennifer Decourcey
                    & Support, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical                    Director, Victim Services, Criminal History
                    Center                                                      Systems Board

                    Susan Manatt                                                Dee Kennedy
                    Director, Victim Witness Advocates Program,                 Probation Office, Dorchester
                    Franklin and Hampshire County District
                    Attorney’s Office

                    Judy Norton
                    Director, Victim Service, Sex Offender Registry                                        Design by

                    Djuna E. Perkins
                    Brody Hardoon Perkins & Kesten, LLP
                    Patrice Provitola
                    Director, Victim Witness Advocates Program,
                    Middlesex District Attorney’s Office

                                                                 In the Aftermath of Crime: A Guide to Victim Rights and Services in Massachusetts

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