Sue Vogt is 'unsung hero' as Victim's Rights coordinator

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By Sheila Pursglove

Legal News

Sue Vogt, coordinator of the Jackson County Victims Rights team that provides support, information and services to victims of felony crimes, misdemeanor cases and juvenile cases, was honored with the Liberty Bell award at the annual Law Day breakfast recently, held at the Country Club of Jackson.

Jackson County Assistant Prosecutor Jerard Jarzynka presented Vogt with the award, calling her "an unsung hero. The award recognizes outstanding service by a non-lawyer who has strengthened the "effectiveness of the American system of freedom under the law."

A graduate of Lumen Christi High School in Jackson, Vogt started as a part-time casual employee in 12th District Court in April 1989, and was hired as full-time Deputy Clerk in 1990, working in the civil, traffic and criminal divisions.

In July 2000, she was hired by as a legal secretary in the Victim Rights Unit by then-coordinator Ruth Stressman, a previous Liberty Bell Award winner.

In 2007, she was promoted to assistant coordinator, and in April 2010 promoted to the coordinator position, after Stressman's retirement.

The unit, part of the Jackson County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney, helps victims get through what can be a traumatic, painful and expensive experience that often leaves them angry and frustrated.

The unit helps with courtroom orientation, advocate accompaniment to court; referrals; victim memorial participation; assistance in filing and application for compensation through the State of Michigan Crime Victims Services Commission; outreach to elderly, hospitalized and special needs victims; community presentations; employer intervention when victims are required to testify; assistance with return of personal property not required as evidence; and facilitation of homicide survivors support group.

"I love my position," Vogt says.

"I enjoy working with the victims and their families, trying to help them understand the judicial system.

"It's rewarding to work with them, but it can be very heartbreaking when you spend so much time with a victim and the verdict is not what we anticipated."

Law runs in the family - Vogt's husband Bob is a sergeant for the Jackson County Sheriff Department.

Her husband, and sons, Trip, 18, and Tyler, 15, have been very supportive of her career, Vogt says.

"They help me out at the annual victim rights tribute held in April of each year, and also help at the re-dedication of the Victims of Violent crime memorial," she says.

Vogt also volunteers with the Special Olympics Michigan - Law Enforcement Torch Run, benefiting more than 18,600 children and adults with intellectual disabilities who take part in Special Olympics Michigan programs.

This year's event will take place in September.

Published: Mon, Jun 27, 2011

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