Two boys (both over 18) robbed and assaulted my son while at school. Because we had an unreliable witness, who is likely too affraid to tesitfy, the prosecutor decided to accept a plea of theft (down from assault and robbery). Just wondering if is necessary for us to appear at the hearing, or to write a statement for the judge. Thanks.
It is hard to answer your question in this forum. The short answer is that it is not "necessary" in that the deal should go down whether you are there or not. The question about whether it is a good idea to show up can only be answered based on you and your son's goal and desires. I suggest you speak to the prosecutor and get his/her point of view. Your appearance could make a difference to the judge in determining the sentence.
Please understand, without forming an attorney/client relationship this office is not providing legal advice. We are simply providing general information which should not be acted upon without careful consideration and the assistance of an experienced attorney.
I agree with my colleague. I write only to add that the DA should have asked you if you wanted to attend the hearing and give a statement to the court. Since it is a guilty plea, there likely isn't much you can say to change the sentence, but it is certainly possible to sway the judge for a harsher sentence. It comes down to what you hope to achieve by attending the hearing. If it's closure, perhaps going there and making a statement will provide that. Good Luck.
You do not have to go. If you want to go, you have a right to attend. It sounds like you are reasonably well informed about how this case will conclude, but just in case, many prosecutor's offices have "victim's advocates" that help crime victims understand the system and assist in communicating with the court. You should inquire whether your local prosecutor has such an advocate. Most judges will appreciate the fact that you took the time to come to court.
The response I have provided is general in nature, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. My practice is based in Rhode Island, and the law and practice in other states or jurisdictions may be different.
Although other counsel have provided good advice, I think Mr. Felsen's advice hits the nail on the head. It is not "necessary" for you or your son to be present. Speaking with the State's Attorney handling the case may provide better guidance than those of us on the Avvo boards could provide as to whether it would be helpful or not. Best of luck to you and your son.
If you do not appear or prepare a statement for judge to read, how will the judge know your desires or how much money you lost or how valuable your items were. It is your choice as a victim.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline