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Our Victim’s Rights were violated – we were neglected by Prosecutor’s office

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter in order to educate the taxpayers of Clare County.  I want everyone in Clare County to be well aware of how poor our Prosecutors office is.  When the next election comes around I want all Clare County voters to put thought into who they want defending them if they ever become the victim of a crime.  As a taxpayer and voter I can honestly tell you with 100% of my being, I do not want the current prosecutors office defending me again.

In November 2013 my family and I became victims of a crime.  The criminals in our case were caught shortly after the crime due to being caught on video with our surveillance cameras.  Starting the day after the crime I began calling the Prosecutors office to make sure that we were always in the loop and aware of how the case was going.  We filled out all our victims paperwork including indicating that we wanted to be involved in all court dates as well as the sentencing.  My husband and I did go to every court date for every defendant even if it was simply a court date for them to waive their right to a speedy trial.

Shortly after the arrest of all the defendants we received a letter from the prosecutors office stating what each defendant was being charged with.  When we noticed that the juvenile was being charged with more offenses than the male adult we called the prosecutors office.  The male adult was the mastermind behind the entire crime and we felt he should be getting charged with just as many crimes, if not more than the juvenile.  When we spoke to the Prosecutor we were told that the reason that not all the charges were the same was because the ones the adult male were being charged with were for a higher possible sentence of up to 10 year in prison.

We met with the office on December 30, 2013 to discuss the sentencing process.  During this meeting were told many different things including two different possible ways that sentencing could occur.  After this meeting my husband and I made it quite clear to the office that we would be involved in every aspect of this case.

The sentencing was set for February 24, 2014.  My husband and I were present in the courtroom for the sentencing and even gave our victims statement.  The crime that was committed left 3 young children scared to sleep alone at night and question every bump that they heard.  This is no way that children should live in their own home.  Our victims statement was given so that people would understand how this crime impacted not only my husband and I, but also 3 young innocent children.

After the victims statement as given the sentencing was rescheduled for another date along with an order for a restitution hearing.  Unfortunately this sentencing and hearing had to be rescheduled due to the defendant committing another crime.  After the sentencing had to be rescheduled again I called the office to find out what was happening.  I was told about the other crime and also told that the case would either be thrown out or have to go to trial because I told the judge I did not agree with the recommended sentence and I thought he should serve more time.  According to the Prosecutor, there was not enough cause for the judge to sentence above the sentencing guidelines.  This was a huge hit.  We went from originally being told he could get up to 10 years to now possibly nothing.  Once again it was rescheduled for May 12th we were ready for a sentencing and to finally be able to put as much of this behind us as possible.

The morning of May 12th we were ready and prepared to go to court and hear the sentencing come down on the defendant of a crime that we were still dealing with.  We were ready for the sentencing as well as to have a hearing for restitution.  I called the Prosecutors office at 8:30 am on May 12th to verify that the sentencing was still schedule for 11 am that day in the Clare County Circuit Courthouse.  Staff verified it and they were told we would be there.

My husband and I both left work in order to be in the courtroom in time for the sentencing, something we had been waiting almost 6 months for.  After a few minutes of sitting in the courtroom waiting we were asked whose case we were there for.  We told them and were then told that the case in question had been sentenced at 9:30 am.  Immediately devastation.  Something we had waited almost six months and we were not even there for it.

I called the office to find out why it was done early and why we were not notified.  We were not even called to be informed that it had happened and to save us the trip.  Unfortunately we were given no good explanation.   The judge sentenced according to my victims statement and I am very grateful to Judge Mienk for sentencing the way he did.  However, the Prosecutors office did nothing the entire case but talk circles and go back on what we were told.  Not only did we miss the sentencing we also missed the restitution being ordered.  We were not present to state how we felt about the restitution or given the opportunity to fight more for restitution, which we were entitled to due through the hearing.

Another violation of our victims rights was when the juvenile was released from the detention center.  We were not notified about his release, we found out he was released through Facebook.

I want Clare County voters and tax payers to know that if they are ever the victim of a crime the current prosecutors office will not be much help to you.  You will have to be sure and do the majority of the work including staying on top of them to be apart of the case and creating a victims statement detailing the pain or anguish you have been through.  I feel as though our victims rights were neglected and violated by giving us the wrong sentencing time which resulted in us not being at the sentencing or the ordering of the restitution, as well as not even being notified that the sentencing took place.

I hope that people of Clare County will read this letter and understand the disappointment that we have in the Clare County Prosecutors office.  I also hope that residents of Clare County will imagine being the victim of a crime and continuously being told different stories, being lied to about sentencing and dates, and having the feeling as though the office meant to defend you as a victim does not do their job.  Thank you for taking the time to listen to an aggravated victim tell her story about being neglected by the Clare County Prosecutors Office.  Please remember this next election when you are trying to decide who to vote for.

Thank you very much,

Name withheld

upon request

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