1. What is a Subpoena?
A subpoena is a court order directing you to appear in court at a particular time and place. It does not mean that you are charged with an offense. Its purpose is to call you to court so that you may tell what you know about a case. When subpoenaed, you must appear or risk being held in contempt of court and/or fined. Inform you employer that you have been called to testify and you will have to appear. Your employer should not discharge, punish or threaten you for attending a criminal proceeding when you have been subpoenaed. If you are experiencing difficulties with your employer regarding a court appearance, please contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator immediately.
If you change your address or telephone number, immediately notify the Victim/Witness Coordinator of the Seward County Attorney’s Office at (620) 626-3225. They may need to contact you if there is a change in the date or time you are to appear.
2. What is a bond?
Bond is allowed in most criminal cases, including felonies. The amount of the bond is set by the Judge. Its purpose is to ensure the Defendant's appearance in court. The judge may also set conditions on the bond that the Defendant must comply. In setting the bond amount, the Judge considers a number of factors, including: the seriousness of the offense; the defendant's prior record; and, the likelihood that the defendant will return to court to answer to the charges.
3. When will my property be returned to me?
The court or law enforcement officials hold property until it is no longer needed as evidence. At that time, it will be returned to you. If more than one person claims an interest in the property, the court must decide to whom the property should be returned. There are times where an item of evidence can be photographed and released to the owner, however, that is up to the law enforcement agency.
4. What is my role as a victim or witness?
As a witness you have seen, heard or know something about a crime that has been committed. As a victim or witness, it will be necessary for you to attend some court hearings.
You may not think that what you know about the case is very important; however, small pieces of information are often required to determine what really happened.
5. What if someone threatens me?
Concerns about your well-being and safety after being victimized or witnessing a crime are normal. If you have any fears or receive any threats concerning your involvement in a case, you should immediately contact law enforcement so that the threats can be documented and appropriate action taken. There are laws to protect you against people who attempt to bribe, intimidate, threaten or harass you.
6. How many times will I have to appear in Court?
No one can tell you in advance how many times or how long you will have to be in Court. The process takes time. The number of times you may be called to appear in court and the delays you may encounter are the result of our criminal justice process.
7. Will I be notified of Court Hearings?
As a crime victim, you have the right to be notified and attend public hearings.
8. What if the defense attorney contacts me?
You are not required to discuss the case with the defense attorney or their investigator prior to testifying in court. If you choose to do so, always request proper identification and an explanation of the purpose of the interview. If you have any concerns about talking with a defense attorney or their investigator, you are encouraged to contact the Victim/Witness Coordinator.
9. What happens to the defendant if he is found guilty?
If a defendant is convicted of a criminal offense, the judge will determine the appropriate sentence. The judge generally has some discretion in what specific sentence is ordered. This discretion must be exercised in accordance with the sentencing guidelines enacted by the Kansas Legislature. The guidelines allow the judge to impose a sentence between minimum and maximum penalties.
In a felony case, sentencing will occur following the preparation of a pre-sentence investigation report (PSI). A PSI report is prepared by a court services officer who obtains the victim’s statements and gathers information on the defendant’s criminal history. The victim’s statement is your opportunity to tell the judge the injuries you suffered and the crime’s effect on your life and finances. The victim’s statement must be considered by the court when the defendant is sentenced. As a victim, you have the right to be present at sentencing and address the court if the judge allows. The judge also has the authority to place the defendant on probation. Probation may include supervision by Community Corrections or Court Services. This procedure permits the court to try to fit the particular punishment to the crime and to the defendant.
10. Can the defendant appeal his conviction?
It is possible that the case in which you testify will be appealed if the defendant is convicted. This is a right guaranteed to the defendant. When the case is tried in district court, the convicted defendant may appeal to Court of Appeals or the State Supreme Court. There is no trial or testimony during the appeal. The appeal is ‘on the record’ which means the appellate court will consider the transcript of the proceedings at trial.
11. What happens after the defendant is in prison?
You should contact the victim services of the Kansas Department of Corrections at (785) 296-8128 to obtain information and to notify them of your address, telephone number, the case number, the county where the defendant was convicted, and the defendant’s name so you may receive notifications of any parole hearings or notifications of pending release.
12. Will I be reimbursed by the defendant for my loss?
A victim may be reimbursed for damages or losses suffered as a result of a crime the defendant committed. Restitution is an order of the court which instructs the defendant to compensate the victim. If a defendant is sentenced to prison, the Department of Corrections may require payment of restitution as a condition of post release supervision. To assist the court in determining the amount of restitution, keep any receipts, bills, or estimates regarding the loss. Promptly complete and return the restitution statement to the County Attorney’s Office. If a defendant is ordered to pay restitution, the payments will be sent to the Clerk of the District Court. The Clerk of the District Court will then distribute the funds as they receive them. Nonpayment of restitution alone is not a reason to revoke a defendant’s probation if the defendant is found unable to pay. The defendant must make a good faith effort to pay.
A victim can obtain a civil judgment against a defendant pursuant to K.S.A. 60-4301, by obtaining a certified copy of the Journal Entry of Sentencing and the Order to Pay Restitution and filing them with the Clerk of the District Court.
13. Are juvenile court proceedings and records confidential?
All juvenile offender proceedings are open to the public unless the court finds that it is in the best interest of a juvenile under the age of sixteen (16) to close the proceedings. All juvenile files are open unless the court finds that it is the best interest to close the file of a juvenile under the age of fourteen (14). On sex offense cases, information identifying victims shall not be disclosed to the public. Social history and information on the juvenile offender remains confidential.
14. I got a traffic ticket, is this the correct office?
If you received a traffic ticket from a Kansas Highway Patrol or a Seward County Sheriff Deputy than yes, this is the correct office. Call (620) 626-3232 for more information.
If you received a traffic ticket from a Liberal Police Officer, you would need to call Municipal Court at (620) 626-0143.