p. 316.660-3600toll free. 800.432.6878
535 N. Main
Wichita, KS 67203
First, call 911. Emergency
Communications will dispatch officers in priority situations. In
those instances where follow-up is not immediately required, your
call will be transferred to the appropriate law enforcement agency
to make a full report.
If a suspect has been identified by the police and sufficient
evidence is available, the case is presented to the District
Attorney. The District Attorney is the people's representative in
the criminal justice system, with sole responsibility for deciding
whether charges should be filed and what those charges should be.
Kansas law classifies criminal offenses into two broad
categories: misdemeanors and felonies.
the less serious crimes punishable by a term of imprisonment not
exceeding one year in the county jail and/or a fine up to
most serious class of criminal offense punishable by
incarceration in a state prison. In addition, fines in varying
amounts may be imposed.
You are a witness because you have seen, heard, or know something
about a crime that has been committed. If you are the victim of a
violent crime or owner of property that has been stolen, damaged or
misused, the case cannot be prosecuted unless you cooperate and
participate by appearing to testify.
You may not think that what you know about the case is very
significant; however, small pieces of information are often required
to determine what really happened.
Your presence and willingness to testify may be the deciding
factor in determining what will be done in the case. If the
defendant decides to plead guilty, the plea may come at the last
moment because the defendant is hoping you, the witness, will not
show up, or that the case will be dropped for other reasons.
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 the law enforcement agency that investigated the
case or the District Attorney's Office. In an emergency situation,
call 911. Do so as soon as possible 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
The person charged with a crime is now called the defendant. Soon
after arrest by a law enforcement officer, the defendant is taken
before a judge who informs the defendant of the reason he/she has
been arrested, and of the facts contained in the complaint. This is
called the first appearance. At this time, the judge sets the amount
of bond and advises the defendant of his/her rights, which include
the right to a preliminary hearing. Unless the defendant can post
bond in the amount set by the judge, he/she remains in custody and
is normally transferred to the county jail to await further action
in the case.
Bond is allowed in most all criminal cases, including felonies.
The amount of bond is not set by the District Attorney but by the
judge. Its legal purpose is to assure the defendant's appearance in
court when ordered for later proceedings and to assure the public
safety. In setting the amount, the judge is required to consider a
number of factors, including: the seriousness of the offense against
the defendant, the defendant's prior criminal history, and the
likelihood the defendant will return to court to face the charges.
A subpoena is a court order directing you to appear in court at a
particular time and place. It may be delivered by mail or in person.
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
Usually you are notified well in advance of the court date. If
you change your address or telephone number, immediately notify the
Victim/Witness Division of the District Attorney's Office. They
may need to contact you if there is a change in the date or time you
are to appear. Our telephone number will be provided for your use in
the event you have questions regarding your appearance. Be sure to
call before you report to the courthouse.
When subpoenaed, you must appear or risk being held in contempt
of court and/or fined. Inform your employer that you have been
called to testify and may have to appear. Always contact the
Victim/Witness Division for confirmation before making arrangements to
be absent from work. 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 District Attorney's
No one can tell you in advance how many times or how long you
will have to be in court. The process of justice 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
that is based on the principle that every person is presumed
innocent until proven guilty. The constitutional rights that protect
the defendant are the same rights that would protect you if you were
accused of a crime.
The primary stages involved in processing a criminal case are
summarized below to help you understand what happens when a person
is accused of a crime.
In cases involving misdemeanor offenses, usually
your first and only appearance will be for the actual trial.
In a felony case, the first time you appear as a
witness will usually be for the preliminary hearing. This
hearing is not held to determine the innocence or guilt of the
accused, but merely to determine whether there is sufficient
evidence to charge the defendant with the crime. If the judge
determines that the evidence establishes that a crime has been
committed and that it is probable that the accused committed
such crime, the judge will set the case for trial. In this
event, the judge may order the accused held in jail or released
on bond. However, if after listening to the evidence from both
parties the judge determines that the evidence is insufficient
to charge the accused, the judge must release him/her.
Pretrial motions by the defense attorney or by
the prosecuting attorney may require additional hearings before
the trial begins. On occasion, a victim or witness may be called
to testify at such a hearing.
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 assistant district
attorney in charge of your case and to have him/her with you at the
time of the interview.
If the prosecuting attorney handling a criminal case determines
there is not sufficient evidence to take the case to trial, the case
may be dismissed. This action is taken only after the case has been
completely investigated, and normally after the police and
prosecutor have exhausted all avenues for obtaining additional
The reduction of charges or the dismissal of some counts in an
existing case occurs from time to time. This procedure, which is
called plea negotiation, plays an important part in the criminal
justice system. As a case develops, certain facts may be discovered
that require the reduction of charges against a defendant. In some
instances it is because things not known at the time of charging are
brought to light; sometimes it is because evidence or statements
made by the defendant thought to be available at the trial are not
available; sometimes important witnesses cannot be located. In any
event, when plea negotiation is used by the District Attorney's
Office, it is only after a careful determination that justice is
best being served. While the ultimate decision belongs to the
District Attorney, the victim and police agencies are made aware of
the reasons and necessity of the plea negotiation, and their
concerns are considered.
The defense of mental disease or defect is recognized in Kansas.
In cases where the defense is raised, the final decision as to the
defendant's mental condition at the time of the commission of the
crime is made by the judge or jury.
If during the court proceedings the judge finds that the
defendant is mentally incompetent and unable to assist in his/her
own defense or unable to understand the nature and purpose of the
criminal proceedings, the defendant is committed to an institution
until such time as competency is restored.
The State may request that the Court consider transferring the
juvenile offender's case to the adult court only in limited
circumstances. A Motion for Adult Prosecution (MAP) is a request by
the District Attorney's Office that the juvenile offender be tried
as an adult because of the seriousness of the offense, the prior
criminal record of the juvenile or the demonstrated inability of the
juvenile to be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system.
Only juveniles between the ages of 10 and 18 may
be charged with criminal offenses. However, those under the age of
the 10 may still come under court supervision if they commit a
crime. Child In Need of Care (CINC) proceedings are commenced in a
variety of circumstances allowing the court to assume jurisdiction
over the child and his/her parents to make appropriate orders for the
continuing welfare of the child.
The trial of a person charged with a felony is held in district
court before a judge and a jury of 12 people, randomly selected, who
will determine whether the accused is guilty. Misdemeanor cases are
tried in district court before a judge and a jury of 6 people. The
verdict is based on the testimony of witnesses and evidence
presented according to our state law.
Trials follow a certain procedure. Some of the events that you
should be aware of are as follows:
OPENING STATEMENTS: In
their opening statements, the district attorney and defense
attorney outline the evidence expected to be presented to the
jury. Opening statements are not evidence, but are only
explanations by the attorneys of what each side expects the
evidence to prove. A defense attorney may give an opening
statement immediately after that of the district attorney or at
the close of the State's case. Likewise, a defense attorney may
elect to give no opening statement at all.
STATE'S CASE: The
district attorney on behalf of the State will present evidence
against the defendant. This begins with the attorney for the
direct examination of a witness. Next, the defense attorney may
cross-examine the witness. Upon completion, the district
attorney may again question the witness. This is called redirect
THE DEFENDANT'S CASE:
After presentation of evidence for the State has been completed,
the defense attorney may present witnesses for his/her side.
This is the usual procedure. However, since the burden to prove
that the defendant committed the alleged offense is on the
State, the defense need not present any evidence if they so
choose, and the defendant is not required to testify on his/her
JURY INSTRUCTIONS: At
the conclusion of all the evidence, the judge will inform the
jury of the issues to be decided and the rules of law that apply
to the case.
CLOSING ARGUMENTS: After
jury instructions, closing arguments will be presented. Closing
arguments are not evidence but are only summaries by both sides
of the evidence presented during trial from their respective
JURY DELIBERATIONS: Following the judge's instructions and closing arguments, the
jury considers the evidence and decides whether the defendant is
JURY VERDICT: Jury
deliberations are concluded when a unanimous verdict has been
reached. When this is done, the jury returns to the courtroom
and the jury verdict is announced. If the jury is unable to
arrive at a unanimous verdict, the judge will declare a
mistrial. This means that a new trial will probably be scheduled
at a later date.
Witnesses naturally feel apprehensive about their first
appearance in court because they do not know what to expect. The
following suggestions should help you prepare for your court
If you have been summoned by a subpoena, bring it to court
with you. The subpoena will provide information on when and
where to appear.
If you are going to testify about records, familiarize
yourself with them before the trial.
The trial of a criminal case is a serious matter. While in
the courthouse, conduct yourself in a dignified manner.
A neat appearance is important.
Do not try to memorize what you will say in court, but try
to recall just what you observed at the time of the incident.
Remember jury members are ordinary people like yourself.
Don't be embarrassed. Speak frankly and loudly enough for them
to hear you.
Look at the jurors and speak to them when testifying. A jury
considers attitude, facial expressions, and body language when
Do not lose your temper. Be courteous.
Do not exaggerate.
Do not hedge questions or try to argue with the defense
Listen carefully to the questions. If improper, an attorney
will object. Never answer a question you don't understand or
give a snap answer without thinking. Have the question repeated
If you can't answer a question with a yes or no, you should
Directly and simply answer only the question asked. Do not
If your answer was not correctly stated, correct it
Do not give your opinions or conclusions unless asked.
Testify only to facts you observed or know, not what you think
about those facts.
You will be asked to take an oath to tell the truth.
Remember the seriousness of this oath during the entire time you
are testifying. If you willfully fail to tell the truth while
testifying, you will be subject to penalties for perjury.
If asked whether you have discussed the case with anyone,
you should indicate any occasion that you have talked with the
prosecutor, the defense lawyer, or anyone else.
If the judge interrupts or an attorney objects to your
answer, stop answering immediately. Likewise, if an attorney
objects to a question, do not begin your answer until the judge
tells you to do so.
You should never attempt to talk to a juror about the case
or any other matter while the case is being tried. This includes
chance meetings during recesses, in hallways, at lunch, or any
TELL THE TRUTH!
If a defendant is convicted of a criminal offense, the judge will
determine the appropriate sentence. The trial judge generally has
some discretion in what specific punishment is ordered. This
discretion must be exercised in accord with the sentencing
guidelines enacted by the Kansas Legislature. The guidelines allow
the judge to impose a sentence between minimum and maximum
Sentencing will occur following the preparation of a pre-sentence
investigation report (PSI). A PSI report is prepared by a court
officer who obtains the victim's statements and gathers information
on 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 trial judge also has the authority to place the defendant on
probation. Probation may include supervision by Community
Corrections, work release, or a house arrest program. This procedure
permits the court to try to fit the particular punishment to the
crime and to the defendant. The Kansas Legislature has directed that
most non-violent offenders should receive probation.
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 the State Supreme Court or Court
of Appeals that will determine if there was any legal error in the
trial as revealed by the written record. 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.
A victim may be reimbursed for damages or losses suffered as a
result of a crime if the court orders the defendant to make
restitution. "Restitution" means that the defendant must 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 form to the
District Attorney Office.
Foreign language interpreters and interpreters for the hearing
and/or speech impaired are available. If you are in need of
interpreting services while in attendance at court, contact the
District Attorney Victim/Witness Division as soon as possible at
A witness in a criminal case is entitled to a fee of $10 a day
for each day you appear as required, and preapproved reimbursement for
mileage necessarily traveled en route to court. You should sign up
for your fee at the District Attorney Victim/Witness Division on the
day you appear in court. The Clerk of the District Court will send
your check by mail.
Victims of violent crime (including intentionally inflicted
injuries and D.U.I.) may apply for money under the Kansas Crime
Victim's Compensation Program administered by the Kansas Attorney
General's Office. An application form can be obtained through the
District Attorney's Victim/Witness Division.
Children, as well as adults, naturally feel apprehensive about
their first appearance in court because they do not know what to
expect. If you and the child have received a subpoena, bring it to
court with you. The subpoena will provide information on when and
where you are to appear.
The trial of a criminal case is a serious matter
and because a child may have to testify at one or more stages of
the trial, the following suggestions should help you prepare for
the child's court appearance. As a care giver, you may also be
required to testify. In each case, the attorney assigned will
visit with the child to make him/her more comfortable about
court and to answer any questions of the child or care giver.
Never attempt to help the child or coach the
child with their testimony. A child should always be encouraged
and supported in telling the truth.
A neat appearance for both the child and their
care giver is important.
Remember jury members are ordinary people like
yourself. Don't be embarrassed. Speak frankly and loudly enough
for them to hear you.
Above all, help the child not be afraid of the
courtroom, judge, prosecutor or defense attorney. The courtroom
is a safe place where they can tell the Judge or jury what
happened to them. As a care giver, look at the jurors and speak
to them when testifying. A jury considers attitude, facial
expressions, and body language when evaluating testimony.
Do not hedge questions or try to argue with the
defense attorney. Listen carefully to the questions. If
improper, an attorney will object. Never answer a question you
don't understand or give a snap answer without thinking. Have
the question repeated if necessary.
If you can't answer a question with a yes or no,
you should say so.
Directly and simply answer only the question
asked. Do not volunteer information.
Do not give your opinions or conclusions unless
asked. Testify only to facts you observed or know, not what you
think about those facts.
You will be asked to take an oath to tell the
truth. Remember the seriousness of this oath during the entire
time you are testifying. If you willfully fail to tell the truth
while testifying, you will be subject to penalties for perjury.
If asked whether you have discussed the case with anyone, you
should indicate any occasion that you have talked with the
prosecutor, the defense lawyer, or anyone else.
If the judge interrupts or an attorney objects
to your answer, stop answering immediately. Likewise, if an
attorney objects to a question, do not begin your answer until
the judge tells you to do so.
You should never attempt to talk to a juror
about the case or any other matter while the case is being
tried. This includes chance meetings during recesses, in
hallways, at lunch, or any other place.
All victims of violent crime (including intentionally inflicted
injuries and D.U.I.) may apply for money under the Kansas Crime
Victims' Compensation Program administered by the Kansas Attorney
General's Office. An application form can be obtained through the
District Attorney's Victim/Witness Division.
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 find that it is the best interest to close
the file of a juvenile under the age of fourteen (14). On sex
offenses cases, information identifying victims shall not be
disclosed to the public. Social history and information on the
juvenile offender remains confidential.
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
(i.e. pawn shop), the court must decide to whom the property should
Kansas law provides that when a crime has occurred where it
appears from the nature of the charge that the transmission of
bodily fluids from one person to another may have been involved,
infectious disease testing and counseling is available for the crime victim.
After conviction of the defendant for any such crime, and at the
request of the crime victim or the parent or legal guardian of a
victim who is a minor, the COURT IS REQUIRED to order that the
defendant submit to test that detects HIV and hepatitis B.
Under some circumstances, the court may also order testing after
arrest but before conviction.
The results of any infectious disease test conducted after
conviction will be divulged to the following persons:
The judge ordering the test;
The convicted person;
A health care provider or counselor designated to receive
such information by the victim or parent or legal guardian of a
victim who is a minor.
If the infectious test results in a positive reaction, the results must
be reported to the Secretary of Health & Environment and to the
Secretary of Corrections.
The cost of the test and any victim counseling that may be
necessary will be provided at no cost to the crime victim.
As a crime victim, you have the right to be notified and to
attend public hearings in which the defendant has a right to be
The Kansas Parole Board may recommend pardons, commutations, and
reprieves for prisoners. They may also grant parole to prisoners of
certain very serious crimes.
However, before they take any action, they must consider any
statement you make about the case. Beginning July 1, 1993, a
defendant is automatically released after serving the sentence, less
good time credit earned. Good time credit equals a maximum of 15% of the
The prisoner review board plays a significant role in the two
sentencing systems that presently govern those confined within Kansas Department
of Corrections' facilities. Under the indeterminate release structure, the
prisoner review board determines when an incarcerated inmate will be released.
Furthermore, the board establishes supervision conditions of parole and
conditional release, discharges successful parole and conditional releases from
supervisions per the recommendation of the parole officer and revokes the
release of those who have violated the conditions of their supervision.
The prisoner review board conducts monthly Public Comment
Sessions in the cities of Wichita, Topeka and Kansas City. Additionally,
sessions are conducted bi-annually in both Hays and Garden City. The
sessions provide an opportunity for board members to receive written and oral
input from victims, victims' families, inmates' families, community members and
other interested persons regarding the possible parole of inmates. Notice
of the public comment sessions and a list of relevant inmates are available at:
PRB public comment
You will receive notification from the prisoner review board
or the victim/witness division staff if the offender is considered for a pardon,
reduced sentence, or parole. When you receive a notice, send the prisoner
review board a written statement about your case immediately at the following
The Victim/Witness Division is designed to help you understand the
criminal justice process and your role as a victim or witness.
Coordinators will contact you in an effort to keep you better
informed and to notify you of court hearings and other legal
proceedings. Your questions and concerns can be addressed by calling
the Center at 660-3600 or through our toll free number,
If you are lawfully subpoenaed to court, an employer cannot
prevent court attendance. When appropriate, the District Attorney's
Office will contact your employer to discuss the importance of your
role as a witness.
Kansas Law provides that certain persons convicted of sexual
offenses or violent crimes must register with the sheriff of the county in which
they reside. Requirements as to who must register are based on the year of
conviction and/or the number of convictions if prior to 1993. Only information
on the crimes of offenders committed after April 14, 1994 are open to public
disclosure. Information on the locations of these offenders is available through
the Sheriff's Office.
Kansas Bureau of Investigation Offender Registry
Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office Offender Watch
The Commissioner of Juvenile Justice decides when a juvenile
offender is released from a juvenile correctional facility and
whether their release will be direct with no supervision or
conditional with supervision by a social worker or court services
In certain cases involving serious offenses, the Juvenile
Correctional Facility must notify the District Attorney of the
future release. The District Attorney, in turn will notify the
victim or the victim's family if their address is known.
In the event that a juvenile offender attempts to contact you
from a facility or otherwise, please alert the facility
superintendent and this office for assistance that can be offered.
In an emergency, immediately contact your local law enforcement
When the District Attorney notifies you about the future release,
send the Juvenile Correctional Facility a written statement about
your case immediately. The Juvenile Correctional Facility have the
following mailing addresses:
Correctional Facility at Topeka
1440 Northwest 25th Street
Topeka, Kansas 66618
Correctional Facility at Atchison
P.O. Box 459
End North Second Street
Atchison, Kansas 66602
Correctional Facility at Larned
R.R. 3, Box 89
Sellers and Allen Buildings
Larned, Kansas 67550
Correctional Facility at Beloit
P.O. Box 427
1720 North Hersey
Beloit, Kansas 67420
Mission: To assure quality public services that provide for the present and future well-being of the citizens of Sedgwick County.
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