Prosecutor Functions

Prosecutor Functions

The Prosecutor serves in the Judicial Circuit and serves as prosecuting attorney in court, including:

  • Juvenile cases
  • Grand jury
  • Child support issues
  • Bad checks
  • Citizen complaints
  • Charges defendants
  • Oversees plea bargain policy
  • Trains police and fire departments on various laws and how they effect law enforcement
  • Establishes procedures for obtaining prosecution

 

Bad Check Recovery Program

In Hancock County, merchants and individual citizens lose thousand of dollars each year because of bad checks. Consumers share in these losses through higher prices. In an effort to assist the citizens of Hancock County, the Bad Check Recovery Program was implemented in January of 1991. Since, 1991, over five hundred thousand dollars have been returned to merchants and individual citizens through the Bad Check Recovery Program.

Eligibility

Any person or business receiving a bad check in Hancock County is eligible to participate in the Bad Check Recovery Program.

The check must be returned to the victim by the bank with one of the following statements: Non-sufficient funds, Closed Account, No. Account, Unable to Locate Account, Refer to Maker.

Ineligible Bad Checks

  • Post dated checks. (Postdated checks constitute promissory notes.)
  • Checks held for an agreed time. (Checks held for an agreed time period constitute credit to the check writer.)
  • Stop payment checks
  • Checks for which partial restitution has been received
  • Checks which have been given to a private collection agency for collection
  • Third party checks

Bad Check Recovery Process

The following requirements must be met before this office can take action:

When you receive a bad check, YOU must notify the bad check writer by certified mail giving them ten (10) days to make the check good or you will turn matter over to the Prosecutor’s Office.

If the person does not make the check good within the ten days, YOU should bring the following to the Prosecutor’s Office:

  • The signed certified mail card OR the refused certified letter 
  • A copy of your letter
  • The bad check
  • A check made payable to the Treasurer of Hancock County for $10.00 per case (this fee will be reimbursed to you with collection of the bad check)
  • Complete a REPORT OF BAD CHECK form obtained from this office

When you bring the above information to this office, a letter will be sent to the check writer. Our letter gives the check writer fifteen (15) days to make restitution. This includes a $30.00 fee that will be remitted to the victim for filing costs and expenses.

If the restitution is not made you will be notified to return to this office to sign documents for the Prosecutor to file Check Deception charges.

Protect Yourself

  • Record the check writer’s social security number, driver’s license number and date of birth on the face of the check at the time the check is issued and accepted. Make sure the check writer does not write their own I.D. on the check.
  •  DON’T take counter checks. DON’T take two party checks. Our office is unable to prosecute these types of checks. DON’T take partial payment on a check. If you do, it nullifies your right to criminal prosecution. DON’T take postdated checks.
  •  We urge you not accept checks from persons who live or bank out of state. It is difficult to obtain bank records from another state. In addition, extradition from other states is declined in Bad Check cases.

For further information, please contact:

Hancock County Prosecutor's Office
Bad Check Recovery Program


Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
27 American Legion Place
Greenfield, IN 46140
Phone: 317-477-1139

 

What Is IV-D and What Can It Do for Me?

Hancock Co. IV-D Child Support Office under the supervision of Brent E. Eaton, Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney

Child Support Administrator
Ms. Susan Sherwood
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Monday through Friday
Phone: 317-477-1713
Fax: 317-477-1313

Who We Are And What We Do

The Child Support Division of the Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office was created through Title IV (D) of the Social Security Act. Thus, you may hear our office referred to as the “IV-D Office.” The actions of our office are established by State and Federal law.

The Child Support Division represents the State of Indiana. While the State’s interest may be similar to yours, the Child Support Division cannot give private legal advice or act as the attorney for a particular party. That being said, the custodial parent may find that we can be of assistance to him/her by providing child support establishment and enforcement procedures.

While we cannot force an irresponsible person to be responsible, we will use all available enforcement tools to secure the right of children in Hancock County to be supported by both parents. We acknowledge, though, that there are some circumstances in which, despite our best efforts and use of all available tools, we will be unable to reach this goal. In those circumstances, the Child Support Division refers documentation to the Criminal Division for consideration of filing a criminal charge of Non-Support of a Dependant Child.

Topics the Child Support Division is Authorized to Address

  • Establishment of paternity
  • Establishment of child support orders
  • Enforcement of child support orders
  • Modification of existing orders
  • Locating of an absentee parent

Topics the Child Support Division is Not Authorized to Address

  • Acceptance or distribution of child support payments
  • Discussion or enforcement of custody issues
  • Discussion or enforcement of parenting time or parenting style issues
  • Disputes about whether a child is disabled or should be emancipated
  • Disputes about which parent should be entitled to the child’s tax exemption
  • Discussions or actions for termination of parental rights

From Where Do IV-D Support Cases Come?

Most of our cases are referrals from TANF.  Any custodial parent receiving TANF in Hancock County is automatically referred to our office. Federal law requires that we open and pursue these cases. TANF recipients are required to cooperated with our office as a condition of receiving TANF. If a TANF recipient fails to cooperate with our office, his/her TANF benefits may be sanctioned.

If you are a custodial parent and your children are receiving Hoosier Healthwise or Medicaid, you may request our services. If you are a custodial parent and you are receiving Medicaid. There is no charge for our services if the custodial parent or the child(ren) receive TANF, Hoosier Healthwise or Medicaid.

The second source of IV-D cases is custodial parents who are not receiving public assistance. These custodial parents may sign on for our services by paying a $25 fee. If you would like an application packet, please contact our office and one will be sent to you.

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When and How Should I Contact My Caseworker?

On average, our caseworkers work with 400 case files. Because of this volume, we cannot give daily attention to every case. Action on cases is handled on a first-come, first-served basis. While our staff welcomes your input, the final decision about how your case is handled is left to the determination of the Child Support Division.

It is important that you notify your caseworker at any time when you have a new address, a new telephone number, or a new employer. That being said, contacts that do not provide information that will impact our support enforcement case (for example, to request assistance that is outside of areas in which we are authorized to provide assistance) can slow the enforcement process, as these contacts take away time that caseworkers otherwise devote to addressing concerns in the areas which we are authorized to address.

You may find it easiest to contact your caseworker in writing, either by traditional mail or by e-mail. If you contact your caseworker in writing, please include the name of all parties in the case, your address, your daytime telephone number, and, if known, your case number. If you elect to call your caseworker, please be prepared to leave the name of all parties in the case, your daytime phone number, and a brief but direct summary of the topic of your call. Because of the nature of the judicial system, we may not be able to provide immediate responses to your questions.

Due to federal confidentiality laws, we will not respond to inquiries from third parties, regardless of the method of transmission of the inquiry.

Where Do I Go from Here?

  • For questions about a child support payment, call the Kids Line at 800-840-8757. You may press 0 at any time during the recorded message to be directed to a live person.
  • For questions regarding custody or parenting time issues, you should consult legal counsel of your choosing, either as a private counsel, through Legal Aid of Hancock County, or by acting as your own attorney. To preserve our limited resources for those topics which our office is permitted to address, our staff will not return communications relating to custody or parenting time issues

Information for Victims of Property Crimes

The criminal justice system works in two ways to help crime victims whose loss includes the taking or destruction of personal property. First, the police try to recover stolen property so that it may be used in trial as evidence to obtain a conviction and then be returned to its legal owner. Second, the Hancock County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requests that the sentencing judge order convicted offenders to pay restitution when the property has not been located or the loss is due to the destruction of property.

Return of Property

When stolen property is recovered by a police department, it is kept in the police property room until it is known whether it will be needed as evidence at trial. If the defendant pleads guilty, the property is not needed as evidence and efforts are made to release the property to its legal owner. Even in contested cases in which there will be a trial, property which has been recovered often does not have to be physically present at trial. In those cases the police will release your possessions to you as soon as possible. However, the police agency will first be required to photograph the item and identify it on a printed form prepared by the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. You will be required as the true owner of the possessions to sign a statement indicating that you are owner of the items recovered. The photograph of the property recovered and the statement may then be used as evidence at trial. Of course, your testimony at trial may also be required.

In those instances in which the property is needed as evidence at trial, it cannot be released until completion of the trial and appeal process, which may take years.

Restitution

Restitution is the money which the court may order a guilty person to pay to compensate victims of his or her crimes for financial loss and lost time from work resulting from theft or destruction of property. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Office will ask the judge to order restitution if we have accurate information about the amount of loss a victim suffered. We cannot successfully request restitution without that information. Be sure to inform our office about any such loss. Unfortunately, the success of restitution is directly related to the defendant’s ability to pay the amount ordered. If the defendant is truly unable to pay, then the court may not order restitution.

If your insurance company has already paid you for your loss, restitution may be ordered paid to the insurance company. Please send the name of your insurance company, the name of your agent, and your policy number. If your policy had a deductible, that amount may be paid to you if you include that information.

While on probation the Probation Officer is responsible for supervising the payment of restitution, if it is a condition of probation. However, if you know that payment was ordered in your case and several months have passed and you still haven’t received anything, contact the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and we will check on it for you. Phone: 317-477-1139

Restitution money is usually paid to the victim directly from the defendant. However, in some cases the record of payment may be made through the Clerk’s Office or through the Probation Department. The Probation Department nor the Clerk’s Office can send you the money, if they do not have your correct address. It is your responsibility to notify the Probation Department or the Clerk’s Office if you move before you have received the entire amount ordered. Do so by writing the Clerk’s Office at:

Hancock County Clerk’s Office
9 East Main Street, Room 213
Greenfield, IN 46140

In addition to your name and address, it is absolutely necessary that you give the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office the name of the defendant, the approximate date of the crime, and the case number if you have it. The court records and payment records are filed under the defendant’s name and case number.

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