Victim Impact Statements

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The Victim Impact Statement allows the victim to provide information for the judge’s consideration at sentencing. It can be written or oral. It allows the victim to show the pain, anguish and financial devastation the crime may have caused. The offender and his/her attorney will also have an opportunity to read your V.I.S. or will hear you testify, if you chose to do so. Any financial restitution that the offender is ordered to make will be determined from the information you supply on the form. The V.I.S. may be read again by parole officials prior to making a decision of the eventual release of the offender. Your address, telephone number, or any other identifying information are not to be included on any documents to which the offender has access.

 

Please click the following link for the document: Victim Impact Statement
Please click the following link for the document: Restitution Form

 

Victim Impact Statements at Sentencing

Base:

The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall provide notice to all crime victims of their right to offer a written victim impact statement at the the time of sentencing and upon request of the victim, to receive assistance in preparing his or her statement. (See Standard on Victim Rights in Homicide Trials.)

Procedures:

  1. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall provide a guideline for completing a victim impact statement.
  2. The Victim/Witness Coordinaor shall obtain a copy of "Impact Statement: A Victim’s Right to Speak, a Nation’s Responsibility to Listen" from the National Center for Victims of Crimes (available through the Internet www.ojp.us.doj.gov/ovc or PCCD’s Bureau of Victims’ Services).
  3. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall meet with the District Attorney to discuss policy for ensuring that victims have an opportunity to submit a written victim impact statement.
  4. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall encourage the District Attorney to inform the court of the intended policy and its procedures.
  5. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall contact the victim by letter or phone following a conviction, prior to a listing in whcih the case may be disposed and sentenced, and prior to the defendant’s sentence.
  6. Victim impact statements shall include information concerning the effect that the crime committed by the defendant being sentenced has had on the victim, including but not limited to: the physical or psychological effects, and financial harm. Some suggested guidelines include:
    • Statements shall be made by the victim of the crime or in cases of homicide, a surviving family member.
    • Child victims shall be encouraged to prepare a victim impact statement and the Victim/Witness Coordinator shall ensure the availability of age appropriate assistance.
    • Victims Shall be encourage to focus their comments only on the crime for which the defendant is being sentenced, not pending or unrelated charges.
    • Victim Impact Statements are considered discoverable if completed prior to trial or actual conviction of the defendant.
    • The primary purpose of a victim impact statement is to provide crime victims with an avenue to articulate the impact that the crime has had on them. All other benefits gained by the use of the impact statement should be considered extra and not the primary focus.
    • The ideal time for completion of a victim impact statement is after the verdict and hopefully after a reasonable period of time from the incident. Often the fast tracking of cases has reduced the use of victim impact statement to the collecting additional data from the victim that is used for a variety of reasons. Not withstanding the importance of this type of data collection, a victim impact statement should remain true to its original intent.
  7. If possible, the Victim/Witness Coordinator shall provide in-person assistance in the preparation of a victim impact statement.
  8. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall determine with the local victim/witness policy board which agencies assume the responsibility of notification, assistance, collection and distribution of victim impact statements.

Enhanced/Model:

In addition to the above, all crime victims shall be afforded an opportunity to provide an oral victim impact statement to the court at time of sentencing.

Procedures:

All procedures described above enhanced by the following:

  1. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall prepare each crime victim choosing to provide an oral victim impact statement, of the possibility of cross-examination by the defense.
  2. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall work with the District Attorney to inform the court of the intended policy with respect to oral statements by the victims at sentencing and seek the courts support for the policy.
  3. The Victim/Witness Coordinator shall ensure that home visits are an option to assist victims who are unable to come into the office for assistance with the preparation of their oral or written statements.

 

Last Updated: 03/24/08 15:18:58
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