The Hinds County District Attorney’s Office is committed to serving crime victims with the dignity and integrity they deserve. In 1998, the Mississippi Constitution was amended to provide for the fair treatment of crime victims throughout Mississippi. Section 26(a) of the Mississippi Constitution provides that victims of crime, have the right “to be treated with fairness, dignity, and respect throughout the criminal justice process; and to be informed, to be present and to be heard, when authorized by law, during public hearings.”
Likewise, Mississippi Code Annotated Section 99-36-5 provides victims of crime the following rights:
- The right to receive adequate protection from harm and threats of harm arising from cooperation with prosecution efforts, including, but not limited to, the filing of criminal charges where the perpetrator is known;
- The right to have the Circuit or County Court to consider the safety of the victim or victim’s family as an element when fixing the amount of bail for the accused;
- The right to be informed of relevant court proceedings and to be informed if those court proceedings have been canceled or rescheduled prior to proceeding;
- The right to be informed, when requested, by the district attorney’s office concerning the general procedures in the criminal justice system, including general procedures in plea negotiations;
- The right to provide a victim impact statement prior to any sentencing of the offender;
- The right to receive information regarding compensation to victims of crime as may be provided by law; and
- The right to be present at all public court proceedings related to the prosecution of the accused, consistent with the rules of evidence.
Exercising Your Rights
In order to receive this benefit of the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, a crime victim must file a written request with the law enforcement agency assigned to your case and the prosecutor. A form titled Request to Exercise Victims’ Rights has been designed by the Office of the Attorney General and is available at law enforcement agencies, district attorney’s offices and the Mississippi Attorney General’s Crime Victim Compensation Division. This form will be given to you in a packet of information provided by the investigating officer within seventy-two hours following the crime. (Until your case has been turned over to the prosecuting attorney, you will need to call the investigating officer for an update on the status of your case.)
For more information about the Crime Victims’ Bill of Rights, please contact Granard McClendon GMcClendon@co.hinds.ms.us or visit the Attorney General’s Bureau of Victim Assistance.