This page offers a listing of frequently asked questions our office receives. If you have a question you would like answered that is not found below, please contact Vanessa Spence at email@example.com.
Can I talk to Mr. Sanders? I think he’s the person who is working on my case because his name appears on my court documents.
Rob Sanders is the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney so his name appears on most criminal court documents and office correspondence. The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office handles thousands of cases per year. While Mr. Sanders does prosecute a full caseload personally, many cases are prosecuted by his Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys. Please call our office at (859) 292-6580 to speak or arrange a meeting with the prosecutor assigned to your case. If you still have questions or concerns, you may request an appointment with Mr. Sanders or his First Assistant, Casey Burns.
How do I get my property back?
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 the prosecutor, it can be obtained by contacting the evidence custodian of the police agency investigating the case.
How do I press counter-charges against someone?
This request generally arises from assaults. Regardless of whether you have already been charged, if you believe that a crime has been committed against you, go to the appropriate police department to file a complaint and request an investigation. Your case will be reviewed on its own merits.
I am a defendant in a felony case. Can I speak to the prosecutor assigned to my case?
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.
I am a defendant in a felony case. Who represents me?
The Commonwealth’s Attorney Office does not represent criminal defendants. The Department of Public Advocacy (public defender) can be reached by calling (859) 292-6596.
I am the victim. Can I drop the charge?
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 community, not just the individual 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. This is important because it takes the responsibility for prosecuting the defendant off the victim’s shoulders and makes it the prosecuting attorney’s responsibility. It also means that the defendant cannot “pressure” the victim into dropping the charges.
Although the decision whether to prosecute or not prosecute is ultimately up to the assigned prosecutor, the victim’s opinion is important; the prosecutor will take those wishes into account when making his or her decisions regarding the case.
A variety of factors are taken into account when deciding whether to honor a complainant’s request to discontinue prosecution, including the nature and extent of the defendant’s prior criminal history, the severity of the alleged crime, whether the defendant has other pending charges in the criminal justice system, and future danger to the community (including the current victim).
I believe a crime has been committed. How do I press charges? Can I report a crime directly to the prosecutor’s office?
Felony crimes are investigated by the police, not the prosecutor. Crimes should be reported to the police department or other law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction where the crime occurred. For example, crimes occurring in the City of Covington should be reported to the Covington Police Department. Crimes committed in other cities within Kenton County (e.g. Erlanger, Independence, Ft. Mitchell, etc.) should be reported to those local police departments.
Once the initial investigation has been completed, the police department may determine whether a crime is a misdemeanor or felony offense. If the crime is a felony, the report will be forwarded to the Commonwealth’s Attorney Office for review. If a crime is a misdemeanor, traffic, or juvenile offense, the police officer will probably refer the complainant to the County Attorney Office for charges. In either event, the prosecutor reviewing the reports may send the case back to the police for further investigation. Ultimately, the reviewing prosecutor decides what charge(s), if any, will be issued and when the charges(s) should be issued.
I have been cheated by a contractor, shopkeeper, or other person who provides labor or services. Can the Commonwealth’s Attorney help me?
If you believe a crime has been committed, it should be reported to the police of the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. The Kentucky Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (502) 696-5300 may also be of assistance or may be able to refer you to an agency that can help.
I need help getting child support. Can the Commonwealth’s Attorney help me?
Child support collection and prosecution is handled by the Kenton County Attorney. You can contact child support caseworkers and prosecutors by calling (859) 491-4114.
I received a subpoena; what should I do?
Visit this page to view several questions and answers about subpoenas.
Is your job risky or dangerous?
Many of the cases we prosecute involve serious, violent crimes; emotions often run high. Occasionally, those emotions are directed at the prosecutor. Kentucky prosecutors are eligible for Judicial Carrying Concealed Deadly Weapons licenses, which permit prosecutors to be armed at all locations within the Commonwealth. Prosecutors in Kentucky and throughout the country have been threatened, attacked, and even killed. Fred Capps — Commonwealth’s Attorney for Clinton, Cumberland, and Monroe Counties — was killed by a defendant he prosecuted in 2000. Thankfully, these incidents are rare.
The defendant is not paying court-ordered restitution. Who can help me?
If the defendant is on probation or parole, call the Office of Probation and Parole at (859) 292-6555 and ask for the probation officer who is assigned to the defendant. If the defendant is still under supervision, the probation officer can help you get your money if restitution was a condition of the defendant’s probation or parole.
If probation or parole has expired and your court-ordered restitution has not been paid in full, contact the Victim’s Advocate in our office at (859) 292-6580. The Victim’s Advocate will work with the assigned prosecutor to bring the defendant back before the court. If restitution was not ordered by the court and probation or parole has expired, you should contact a private attorney to seek compensation through the civil justice system.
The defendant is threatening me. What should I do?
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 the Victim’s Advocate at (859) 292-6580 during business hours. The Victim’s Advocate 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.