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If the defendant’s lawyer or someone working on the defendant’s lawyer’s behalf asks to speak to you about the case, you have the right to refuse. The defense attorney’s job is to gain information that will help his client and anything that you tell him/her can be brought up later in court. It is for you to decide if it is in your best interest to discuss your case with anyone other than the prosecutor that is assigned to your case.
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The Venango County Courthouse is located at 1168 Liberty Street, Franklin, PA 16323. There are parking meters located all around the courthouse. There is also free parking within walking distance.
When you get to the courthouse, please report to the District Attorney’s Office which is located on the third floor of the Courthouse.
Often you will have to wait to testify, so you may want to bring something along to help you pass the time. You may choose to bring your own games or reading material.
Times will vary. Although we try to limit the amount of time that you waiting, it is not uncommon to experience delays throughout the day for various reasons, please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to move things swiftly for you.
A victim advocate will answer questions, show you the courtroom and go with you to any court events. You may also bring another person with you for support. Your support person can be in the room with you when you testify if he/she is not under subpoena.
A trial is a public event and anyone may sit in the courtroom unless they will testify. People who are going to testify are typically sequestered, meaning they are not permitted in the courtroom until they are called to come in.
You can show your subpoena to your employer or school official. The victim advocate can also provide a letter to you upon request.
If the case is waived, this simply means that the defendant agrees that the Commonwealth would be able to prove their basic case and that they will allow the case to proceed to the Court of Common Pleas without having a hearing to make that determination.
Please let our staff know. We routinely make arrangements with police and sheriff’s deputies to escort your entrance/exit from the courthouse.
You do not press charges. The charges are filed by law enforcement and prosecuted by our office. If you are reluctant to testify, it is very important to speak with the prosecuting attorney and victim witness staff who can advocate on your behalf. Tell them about your concerns, so that they can be addressed early on. We may be able to clarify misconceptions and offer choices.
If bail is an issue, it may be addressed at the end of the preliminary hearing. If there are special conditions that you want, let the District Attorney or Assistant District Attorney know ahead of time to see if your conditions can be met.