Domestic Violence Victims' Advocate

The Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate is responsible for assisting victims of domestic violence through court procedures and working with City prosecutors. Lorena Lacey is available by phone at 614-237-9802.

The Victims’ Advocate is in Franklin County Municipal Court for each court date, including arraignments. She is assigned to all Domestic Violence and Violation of Protection Order cases that happen in the City of Whitehall. 

Court is generally a three-phase system: 

1. Arraignment

  • Arraignment court takes place at 375 S High Street in downtown Columbus. Courtroom 40. Once the offender has been arrested, he/she will typically be seen in arraignment court the following morning, including Saturday. Court is closed on Sunday.
  • The offender will enter a plea to the charge. This plea is almost always "not guilty".
  • The judge sets bond.
  • The judge can issue a recognizance bond which requires no money to be released, an appearance bond which 10% is required or a cash or surety bond which means the entire amount is required or the offender can hire a bail bondsman. 
  • This is the best time to get a protection order. If you want to get a protection order you must be in court, unless you are in the hospital. Please be in court at 9:00 a.m. 

If you are not sure what day the arraignment will take place please call our Victims’ Advocate at 614-237-9802.

2. Pre-Trial

  • The case is assigned to a permanent judge.
  • The prosecutor and defense attorney exchange information and discuss the case.
  • The victim will be interviewed by the Domestic Violence Victims’ Advocate.
  • The offender can either continue to plead "not guilty" or the offender can plead "guilty’’ to the charge or a lesser charge if that is offered by the prosecutor. If the offender continues to plead "not guilty" the case will be continued and go on to the next phase.
  • If the offender enters a plea the victim has a right to make a statement in open court, to the judge. The victim is not required to make a statement. 

3. Jury Trial

  • The offender can continue to plead "not guilty". If the offender continues to plead "not guilty" the case will go to trial. The guilt will be determined by a jury or by the judge if the offender waives a jury trial. 
  • This court date can be continued several times. 
  • The offender can also plead guilty at this stage to the charge or to a lesser charge if that is offered by the prosecutor. 

Helpful Resources

  • If you are a victim of Domestic Violence and would like to get counseling or need shelter, please contact Choices at 614-224-4663 or click here
  • Or you can also contact Directions for Youth and Families at 614-294-2661 or click here.
  • Or Mount Carmel Crime and Trauma at 614-234-5900 or click here
  • If you incur expenses such as time off work, medical bills or counseling, etc. that have resulted from a crime, you can look into getting reimbursed through the Ohio Attorney General Victims of Crime Compensation Program at 1-800-824-8263 or click here.
  1. Michael Bivens-8039.jpg

    Michael T. Bivens

    City Attorney

    360 S. Yearling Road
    Whitehall, OH 43213
    Ph: (614) 237-9802
    Fx: (614) 237-9953

    Brad Nicodemus
    Assistant City Attorney

    Kylie Keitch

    Charles Ellis

    Lorena Lacey
    Domestic Violence Victims' Advocate
    Ph: (614) 306-4777

    Julie Harris
    Legal Assistant

    Kristen Lippert