Q: What is a Commonwealth Attorney and what do they do?
A: The Commonwealth Attorney is the elected felony prosecutor for the circuit in which he or she lives. The Commonwealth Attorney prosecutes all felony cases that are committed in his/her circuit. A felony is any crime in which the minimum punishment is one (1) year in prison.
This Office prosecutes all felonies that occur in the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit. The Fifteenth Judicial Circuit consists of Carroll, Owen and Grant counties, within the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Q: I believe a crime has been committed. How do I press charges? Can I report a crime directly to the prosecutor's office?
A: Felony crimes are investigated by the police, not the prosecutor. Crimes should be reported to the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the crime occurred. Once the initial investigation has been completed, the police agency may determine whether a crime is a misdemeanor or felony offense. Felony investigations are then referred to the Office of the Commonwealth Attorney for proper review.
Q: What is a Grand Jury?
A: The Grand Jury is a 12-member body of randomly selected persons who reside in the county in which the Grand Jury is meeting. The Grand Jury hears evidence of felony crimes and issues an indictment (official charge) against the defendant if at least nine (9) members of the Grand Jury believe there is probable cause that the defendant committed a felony.
Q: How do I get my property back?
A: If your property was stolen and recovered by the police, it is now evidence. Evidence can sometimes be returned to you before the case is over. In most cases, however, the property must remain in police custody until the end of the case and possibly the end of any appeals. Ultimately, the decision to release evidence is at the discretion of the assigned prosecutor. Once evidence is released by order of the court, it can be obtained by contacting the police agency investigating the case.
Q: What is the penalty range for felony offenses within the Commonwealth?
A: In Kentucky, felonies are divided into the following classifications:
Capital Offenses- Punishment: Death, Life without Parole for a Minimum of 25 years, Life in Prison, Term of not less than 25 years nor more than 50 years;
Class A Felonies- Penalty: 20 years to 50 years in prison or Life in Prison;
Class B Felonies- Penalty: 10-20 years in prison;
Class C Felonies- Penalty: 5-10 years in prison;
Class *D Felonies- Penalty: 1-5 years in prison;
*Certain felonies have penalty of 1-3 years in prison
Q: What if the defense attorney attempts to contact me?
A: In representing his client, a defense attorney may contact you and want to talk about the case. You are not required to talk to or respond to questions posed by an attorney or their investigator. Please let the prosecutor know if you or your family receive unwanted communication from anyone about your case.
Q: Can I get restitution for my loss due to a crime?
A: If you have suffered a monetary loss, such as damage to property or medical bills, because of the crime committed against you, the judge may order restitution in the amount of your loss if the defendant is found guilty.
Q: The defendant is threatening me. What should I do?
A: If you are threatened with bodily injury or otherwise fear for your safety, CALL 911! Threatening a participant in a legal proceeding is a felony offense and should be immediately reported to law enforcement. After contacting law enforcement and once you are safe, contact our office at (502) 732-5841 during business hours. We will obtain the police report and make sure the assigned prosecutor is aware of the defendant’s action. The assigned prosecutor will take any appropriate legal action in the underlying case and work with police to determine if additional charges are warranted.
Q: How can I have input into Parole Board Decision?
A: The Kentucky Parole Board has, since 1986, notified victims of crime and Commonwealth’s Attorneys throughout the state about pending parole hearings 45 to 90 days prior to the inmate hearing. The Board is provided with the names of victims by local probation and parole officers when they prepare the Pre-Sentence Investigation Report. In the event the victim’s address changes after the court proceedings, it is essential that the victim notify the Board of the change of address.
The Parole Board's toll-free Victim No. 1-800-221-5991.
The Parole Board’s Phone No. 502-564-3620.
The Parole Board's Office of Victim's Services, Phone No. 502-564-5061. The Parole Board's Office of Victim's Services, toll-free Phone No. 877-687-6818.
Q: I am a defendant in a felony case. Can I speak to the prosecutor assigned to my case?
A: Prosecutors are ethically prohibited from speaking with defendants who are represented by an attorney. If you have an attorney, you must ask your attorney to schedule a meeting with the prosecutor. If you do not have an attorney, you may speak to your assigned prosecutor at your own risk. Anything you say to the prosecutor may be used against you in court.
Q: I am the victim. Can I drop the charge?
A: Many people incorrectly believe that a victim has the power to “press charges” or to later “drop the charges.” All crimes are offenses against the Commonwealth and not just the victim. Criminal complaints are prosecuted on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, not the individual who called the police, or the person who may have been personally harmed by the defendant’s conduct. Requests to dismiss or “drop” charges must be approved by the prosecutor before being placed before the judge. The victim’s opinion is important; the prosecutor will take those opinions into account when making his or her decisions regarding the case.
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