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WARREN Victim's input praised



Published: Fri, January 4, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A defendant's parole may have been denied partly because the victim chose to speak to the parole board, a victim's advocate says.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

WARREN -- A 41-year-old former city man will have to serve at least 10 more years in prison before he has another chance at freedom.

The state parole board declined last month to free Marvin Dixon, formerly of Palmyra Road, who is serving a 10- to 25-year sentence. Dixon pleaded guilty in March 1996 to a charge of felonious sexual penetration. He was sentenced by Judge W. Wyatt McKay of Trumbull County Common Pleas Court.

"I'm very happy that it will be a long time before he has another chance of getting out," said Miriam Fife, a victim-witness advocate with the Trumbull County prosecutor's office.

Fife said she believes one of the reasons Dixon's parole was denied was that the victim chose to speak to the parole board.

"There are so many things the parole board doesn't know about the case," Fife said. "It's important the victim tells the board how they were affected physically and emotionally. There is no way the parole board knows what the victim went through unless the victim speaks out."

Victims have a say

Fife said many victims don't realize that what they say can have an effect on how long the offender stays in prison.

"In 1996 the law changed and we have truth in sentencing, which means there is no more early parole," Fife said. "Criminals, however, can now get judicial release, which means they can ask the judge to get out early. The victims can go to court and voice their opinion."

Fife said that most criminals, especially in sex offense cases, must serve five years of parole. She said that victims can ask the court to place certain restrictions on them during that time.

"Victims can request that the offender stay away from them and their family," Fife noted. "They can also request that the offender attend counseling and stay off of drugs and alcohol."




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