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Information for Lamb County Crime Victims

Our solemn job is to seek justice, and in the process, it’s a priority that each victim in Lamb County receive justice.

Toward that goal, we have developed this site to help answer commonly asked questions regarding the criminal justice system, and to provide you easy access to services available to you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions.  We are here to help.

  • In the State of Texas, prosecutors are required by law to engage with victims of crime.  It is important for the prosecutor handling your case to understand your feelings about the case and what you wish to see happen.  Sometimes, we understand you do not want a case to be prosecuted at all.  Every victim has the right to notify us of this wish by completing an "Affidavit of Non-Prosecution."

    These types of documents typically inform victims of the fact that even though the victim might wish for charges to be dismissed or dropped, ultimately, the final decision in whether a case will go forward is with the Prosecutor assigned to the case.  By law, prosecutors are required to act in every case "to see that justice is done."  Sometimes, justice means dismissing a case--but sometimes, it can also mean prosecuting a case the victim wants dropped.

    The whole community has a stake in prosecuting wrongdoers.  Once a case is handed over to our Office, it is the State's case, and it is not in the power of any individual to "drop charges."  However, if you are experiencing anxiety about testifying, or any other aspect of the case, please discuss your concerns with the Victims Assistance Coordinator, or the prosecuting attorney.

    If you have questions about how to inform the Prosecutor you don't want charges pursued, or you want to visit more about why a case has not been dropped, please plan to attend our Office's next Victim Class.  These classes are held on the first Tuesday of each month at 12:00 noon in our Conference Room.  If you are certain you want to complete an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution, you should plan to attend the next Class.

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  • It is a criminal offense to threaten a victim, complaining witness, or potential witness in order to obtain their promise of non-cooperation in a case.  Similarly, it is against the law to promise or give a benefit to a victim, complaining witness, or potential witness in exchange for their promise not to cooperate with prosecution.

    If you have been threatened by anyone related to your status as a victim, complaining witness, or cooperating witness in a criminal matter, you should report this to our Office's Victim Assistance Coordinator (Lori Zinn) as well as to the law enforcement agency responsible for your case, immediately.

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  • You are not required to attend any hearing, unless you have received a subpoena commanding your appearance.  Nearly all hearings are open to the public, and victims have a right to attend all hearings in their case.  If you choose not to attend, our office is always happy to contact you to inform you of the status of the hearing and what happened.

    If you receive a subpoena from any party to attend a hearing or trial, you are required by law to attend.  Failing to respond to a lawfully issued subpoena could lead to a Judge ordering you be taken into custody and brought before the Court.

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  • Our Office's Victims Assistance Coordinator will notify you of upcoming Court Hearings/court dates in your case.  You are always welcome to call our office or contact her if you wonder when the next hearing is.

    Our Office will always try to give you as much notice as possible before an upcoming hearing, but sometimes we have short notice.  This is why it is so important for you to tell the Victim Assistance Coordinator if you move or change phone numbers.  We must be able to contact you in order to effectively prosecute your case.

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  • As a witness, you will be questioned by the prosecutor and the defendant's attorney.  During the cross-examination (by the defense attorney), you may feel that your motive for testifying is under attack, but the process is not meant to demean you or be a personal attach upon you.  The defense attorney is charged by law with representing their client, and this often involves bringing close scrutiny upon the testimony of others.  A conference with witnesses is usually scheduled and held with the prosecutor prior to the day you testify, to help you prepare and know what to expect.

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  • Our Courts will call cases for trial in chronological order, depending on whether the Defendant is in jail.  Older cases, and those with Defendants in custody, will be called for trial before newer cases, or cases where the Defendant is out of jail on bond.

    The Judge of each Court sets his own docket.  On average, cases may be tried anywhere from 6 months to 2 years from the Defendant's arrest date.  As always, if you have questions about when your case will go to trial, or why it hasn't yet, please don't hesitate to reach out to our Office.

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  • Property which was damaged or stolen during the commission of an offense can sometimes be returned to the owner, prior to trial.  But there are times when this cannot be done, particularly if the property directly connects the Defendant to the offense committed.  Requests for return of property are considered on a case-by-case basis, and it may not be feasible to return the property.

    If you wish your property returned to you prior to the disposition of the case, you must contact the law enforcement agency that investigated your case.  That agency will notify our Office with documentation of ownership and any other necessary documentation allowing for release of the property, if that is possible.  Property which is held until trial and/or received in Court as evidence in the trial, can usually be returned once the trial is over.

    • In many instances, victims of crime may be compensated for injuries they suffered.  One way you can be compensated is through restitution, paid by the Defendant.  As a condition of community supervision, a Defendant may be required to reimburse you for losses you incurred as a result of the crime.  This restitution may also be ordered as a condition of parole, to start when the Defendant is released from prison. 

      In addition, you may be eligible for help under the Crime Victim's Compensation Act. Visit our Online Victims Services page, or contact our Victims Assistance Coordinator for more information.

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    • A "victim impact statement" (or "VIS") is a document that victims and their families can use to record the impact the crime has had on them.  The VIS is not a public document.  It is only viewed by the prosecutor, the Probation Officer, the Judge (prior to sentencing), and parole officials (prior to a parole decision being made).  The defendant and defendant's attorney may also view it before sentencing, but your confidential contact information is redacted before being sent to the Court.

      This statement lets you request notification of any parole proceedings, and provides a place for you to list any contact information which might be needed in the future.  Find out more about the VIS here (English) or here (Español).

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