Victim Witness Investigator and Case Management Program
The rights and interests of crime victims have been under-represented within America’s court system. To even the most casual observer, the judicial system often appears to emphasize the rights of the criminal offender rather than justice for the victim. In large part this has resulted from an archaic remnant of common law jurisprudence whereby the sovereign (government) is deemed to be the victim of criminal offenses “against the State.” Our founders retained this ancient concept of criminal law while simultaneously instituting a set of legal restraints upon the sovereign’s ability to vindicate such offenses. Such legal restraints are principally those which are found within the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. This framework was and is a laudable limitation upon the power of the government by assuring basic fairness to those accused of crime; however, over time the real victims of crime have often been overlooked by the process. In fact, it has taken many years for the voices of crime victims to be heard by the law-makers in America.
In 1996, the voters of The Commonwealth of Virginia ratified an amendment to the Virginia constitution which created a set of rights applicable to crime victims. While the amendment was limited by language that subordinated such rights to those which apply to criminal offenders, the amendment was an important step toward recognizing the reality that people suffer from criminal wrongdoing, and the government’s role in pursuing justice should accord basic respect and fundamental fairness to such persons. The Fauquier County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office is committed to fighting for justice on behalf of the real victims of crime. Within the limits of the law, our office will continue such fight on behalf of victims so that the system treats them with dignity, and that the results of criminal prosecutions are firmly consistent with justice.
Our Victim-Witness case managers are here to serve the victims and witnesses of crime. Our primary function is to assist persons who have become victims of crime by providing support and information about the Criminal Justice System. We offer a variety of services including assistance in filing with the Virginia Criminal Injuries Compensation Fund, assistance with court appearances, and referrals that connect victims and witnesses with resources available in our community. Victims and their families may encounter physical, emotional and economic hardship long after a crime occurs. We are available to assist these individuals throughout the remainder of the criminal justice process and help them with concerns that arise as a result of the offense. Our staff are advocates to affirm victim and witness rights and to provide information and services to victims of crime.
—Jim Fisher, Commonwealth’s Attorney, Fauquier County, Virginia