In certain court cases, some judges feel that by protecting victim’s rights in the courtroom that the judge is showing bias towards the victim. Judges believe that they are violating the offenders constitutionally protected rights. There are many rights that victims and offenders have under the Constitution of the United States. There are certain rights that offenders and victims have in a court case that affect the sentencing of the individual. I believe that victim’s rights to Victim Impact Statements are very important in a court case because it shows their side of the story when their offender is on trial. I agree that Victim Impact Statements are inflammatory and prejudices the jury whereby the defendant may receive a harsher sentence and or a higher restitution fines.
Offenders and victims both have basic rights that are protected when they enter the courtroom. There are many basic Constitutional Rights individuals have in the criminal justice system. Criminal defendants have several constitutional rights. Perhaps the most essential protection is the requirement that the prosecution prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Defendants have other rights, which include the rights to remain silent, confront witnesses, have a public trial, be represented by an attorney and not to be tried twice for the same offense. These rights are protected and the criminal justice agencies and officials have to abide by.
A victim is usually defined as a person who has been directly harmed by a crime that was committed by another person. Victim rights are legal rights afforded to the victims of crime. All states and federal government have passed laws to establish a set of victim’s rights. In general, these laws require that victims have certain information, protections and limited role in the criminal justice process. Victim’s rights depend on the laws of the jurisdiction where the crime is investigated and prosecuted. There are many victim rights that are provided by the law in most jurisdictions. These rights may vary, depending on federal or stat law. The victims rights include right to be treated with dignity, respect and sensitivity; right to be informed, right to protection, right to a Victim Impact Statement, right to apply for compensation and right to restitution from the offender and more.
Victim Impact Statements are very important in a court proceeding. A Victim Impact Statement is a written or oral statement made as part of the judicial legal process. The purpose of Victim Impact Statements (VIS) is to allow crime victims, during the decision-making process on sentencing or parole, the describe to the court the impact of the crime, emotional damage caused by the crime and financial costs to the victim from the crime.
I believe that Victim Impact Statements can affect the offender’s sentence. The judge is required to consider all relevant information when deciding on the most appropriate sentence of the offender. The offender can ask to see a victim’s impact statement. In my opinion, I believe that they can harshen the sentence because these statements are the victim’s only opportunity to participate in the criminal justice process or to confront the offenders who have harmed them. This affects victims because they finally get closure speaking about and to their offender in the courtroom. It helps them recover from the crime that has affected them psychologically, emotionally, and physically.
I do believe that this victim impact statement are inflammatory and prejudices the jury whereby the defendant may receive a harsher sentence or higher restitution fines. It is not mandatory to write an impact system, but it definitely will be helpful in the case. The judge gets to hear your side of the story. This is usually the first time you can actually tell the court your side of the story. In the criminal justice system process, the main focus is the offender. When the judge hears from those that have been affected by the crime will make the court know the victim and never forget them. It is such a great opportunity as well because some victims aren’t alive to tell their unique story.
Another reason why it is important and it can affect the sentencing is that the victim has a chance to tell the judge how they want sentencing to occur. You can make a difference in the amount of time an offender receives by speaking up. You have the time to address the court and the offender and how the crime has detrimentally affected them. This helps a victim cope and move on from the crime and their journey of victimization. When the victim addresses the offender of how they harmed them can be helpful towards their mental health. The impact statements become part of the offenders record. It is a constant reminder of how harm they caused that certain individual and that the victim was brave enough to speak out and make sure the offender is accountable of their actions.