The Criminal Justice System often proves to be confusing to those individuals who are thrust into it through no fault or act of their own. The staff of the Victim/Witness Division of the Scioto County Prosecutor’s office hopes that this information will be of help to you during the next weeks and months.
The rights of criminal defendants are often a source of frustration to victims of crime, and to witnesses who participate in the criminal justice system. These rights, however, are articulated in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution. Although you may feel frustrated if you have been a crime victim, we ask you to consider how valuable these same rights would be to you, if you were ever accused of a crime. Convictions based upon false accusations are avoided by carefully protecting the rights of a criminal defendant. Some of these rights are:
- To have a speedy trial. And, the right to have the trial postponed for a valid reason.
- To be represented by an attorney.
- To have a reasonable bond set, in almost all cases.
- To “remain silent”, during the investigation, and the right not to be required to testify at any time during the criminal justice process.
The rights of crime victims are also protected by the Constitution of the State of Ohio. In Ohio, crime victims are guaranteed the following rights:
- To confidentiality.
- To be treated with dignity and respect.
- To know the case status at all times during the prosecution process.
- To receive notification at various time when significant events occur.
- To be present at all hearings, when the defendant is present.