The Ninth Circuit Victim Witness Program was developed to assist those who find themselves involved in the criminal justice system as victims of crime or witnesses. This program helps ensure that fair and compassionate treatment is given. Our goal is to reduce confusion by explaining the criminal justice process, while providing information about services that are available. The legal process can be long and complicated. The Victim/Witness Program is available to make sure the needs of the victims and witnesses are met. We offer assistance to over 15,000 victims and witnesses each year. If you have been the victim of a crime, you may suffer from physical, emotional and/or financial difficulties long after the crime has occurred. We are committed to providing the necessary information and support throughout the legal process in order to minimize the unpleasantness of a difficult situation. Because victim and witness participation is vital to pursuing any criminal matter, the Victim/Witness Program considers your input and opinions essential in bringing criminals to justice. With a cooperative effort from the victim, witnesses, and the Solicitor’s Office, we will more effectively prosecute those who have violated the law and provide valuable services to those who have been adversely affected by crime. Therefore, we pledge to serve your needs and advocate for your rights to the best of our ability throughout your involvement in the system.
The Victim/Witness Assistance Program of the Ninth Judicial Circuit has served crime victims and witnesses since its inception in March of 1981. The Victim/Witness Assistance Program is involved in community awareness and education. The program staff often speaks in the community on victim/witness issues. The participation of victims and witnesses is vital to the effective administration of justice in the Ninth Judicial Circuit (Charleston and Berkeley Counties). In 1984, South Carolina General Assembly approved a program solely for the aid of victims and witnesses. The overall goal of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program is to balance the scales of justice ensuring that victims and witnesses receive appropriate legal attention and supportive services. Victims and witnesses often feel intimidated and inconvenienced by the criminal justice system. The advocates working in the program are trained to provide necessary services to those who require support from this program. Too often in our criminal justice system, the rights of the crime victim have taken a backseat to the rights of the perpetrator. To correct this, our office is charged with enforcing the South Carolina Victim and Witness Bill of Rights. We stand ready to assist if you should become a victim of a criminal act, or are a witness to one. Our goal is to minimize the personal hardship and inconvenience which may result from your interaction with the criminal justice system. We pledge to do our part in assisting you, and ask for your cooperation in seeking justice against those who have violated our laws.
Scarlett A. Wilson
Notice from the Solicitor
The Ninth Judicial Solicitor's Office has taken a strong position in prosecuting those who threaten our community and break our laws. We recognize, however, that first-time offenders on nonviolent crimes may sincerely wish to turn their lives around, and that we may all benefit from their doing so through our Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI). Our program requires the participant to repay the community and the victim for criminal activity through community service or restitution; to gain an understanding of the judicial system through court observation and prison tours; and to be a productive and responsible citizen. While in PTI, participants must undergo drug treatment or counseling sessions and must submit to random drug testing to ensure their compliance. In return for compliance with all Pretrial requirements participants will be eligible to have all records of their criminal arrest that were referred to the Pretrial Program removed from their record. I urge anyone who is genuinely committed to leading a responsible and productive life in our community to take advantage of an acceptance into PTI.
Scarlett A. Wilson