View Full Version : Victim refusing to testify during parole hearing

01-23-2011, 02:40 AM
If a victim becomes weary of parole hearings can he opt out of testifying? If so, does that make it easier for the victim? Further note: My MC won't consider even having something read on his behalf. He wants detachment from the whole incident.


01-23-2011, 03:21 AM
A victim can't be forced to speak at a parole hearing. Isn't it purely voluntary? I don't know about easier for the victim. There's pros (doesn't have to testify or see the inmate (I'm assuming the baddie is in the room) and cons (possibly feeling like the victim didn't do all they could to keep scumbag in prison).

01-23-2011, 03:26 AM
Victims do not testify at a parole hearing.

Victims are allowed to speak their thoughts on the matter of parole. Its strictly voluntary. Many don't...

01-23-2011, 03:46 AM
Thanks for the info. If the victim does choose to speak, or submit a letter to be read, can it affect the outcome?

Soccer Mom
01-23-2011, 04:37 AM
Victims are invited to attend parole hearings. In my experience they rarely speak. I suppose it could possibly affect the outcome if it was a heinous crime, but the real issue is whether a defendant is a good candidate for parole based upon his behavior now and such things as whether he has attended recomended counseling and such.

01-23-2011, 07:02 AM
Standard notice for a parole hearing is the police department that arrested, the prosecuting attorney's office, and the victim. Sometimes they show up, usually they do not.

Parole hearings, as Soccer Mom, are a lot about the behavior in prison. Has the inmate done the programming expected of him, such as anger management, drug rehab, sex issues, whatever. Further, how many infractions has he had and of what type. The opinion of the unit manager (person in charge of the section of the prison the person is in) is asked his/her opinion. The inmate's plans are given a review, and whether the plan is likely to protect the inmate from temptation.

Inmate can supply whatever information that he can in support of his release. Frequently this involves the inmate having found God, in some form. The inmate can have witnesses at the hearing.

The police department, the prosecutor, and/or the victim are all given an opportunity to speak or submit documents. The closer to being on the line (release/don't release) the more this impacts the decision. However, politics, such as the case with the Manson family, can be a big factor in the impact of these statements.

The state's philosophy on parole is important here. Some states release virtually everybody at their first parole hearing, others don't like to.

Most parole hearings are rather quick and very informal.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

01-23-2011, 07:44 AM
Thanks! More interesting points to consider, particularly with having the convict bring in his own witnesses, which I never even considered. I love this board!

01-23-2011, 08:05 AM
If a victim becomes weary of parole hearings can he opt out of testifying? If so, does that make it easier for the victim? Further note: My MC won't consider even having something read on his behalf. He wants detachment from the whole incident.


Victims can submit a statement in writing, on video, or they can send someone to speak for them. There shouldn't be any legal obligation for a victim to speak at a parole hearing.

Also, there are many instances in which the victim's statement is heard on a different day or the prisoner is kept out of the hearing room until after the victim has finished speaking to the parole board.

Parole board hearing rooms tend to be extremely small, smaller than any courtroom, and security would be a concern - even with armed guards or law enforcement in the room, so everything possible is usually done to minimize direct contact between the victims, surviving family members, etc. and the prisoner.

Ive edited this message to correct some minor technical errors I made during my first post.

01-23-2011, 12:01 PM
Thanks for all the advice. I found this brochure which was a help as well, in case anyone is researching this topic as well.


01-23-2011, 12:49 PM
Victims are supposed to be invited to speak at parole hearings, but often times, the notice to appear never comes. There are many victims whose perps are released on parole and they are notified after the fact or not at all.

01-23-2011, 05:02 PM
Most states have victim notification systems that they can sign up for to be notified when their offender is being released. In Ohio, it's called VINE.

FYI some states call it Post Release Control as opposed to Parole now.

The only time a victim can be required to take the stand is during a trial or evidentiary hearing under subpoena. Parole/PRC hearings are not in court, but in front of the Department of Corrections Parole/PRC Board. I've never heard of a victim being subpoenaed to a Parole/PRC hearing, although they have a right to be heard.