Victim Impact Statements are a powerful tool used in the sentencing phase of a violent criminal case by the Prosecuting Team. Your statement will be a part of the court record. This is your statement to let the judge (the court) know how this crime has and continues to affect you and your family.
Your Victim Impact Statement may be difficult and emotional to prepare and write. This is your time to let the court know exactly how this crime affects your family, friends and yourself. This is your time to let the court know about the life of your loved one.
Introduce your loved one in words for the court to hear. What was your loved one like? What memory of your loved one makes you smile? What memory makes you laugh? Talk about the last time you saw/spoke to your loved one.
You should stay, ‘feeling focused’ in your written victim impact statement. Your personal feelings of the effects of the crime can and should be in your statement. You may write about what events your loved one has missed and will miss.
You statement may incorporate other survivors’ feelings and thoughts. There is no length of a victim impact statement, however two to three typed pages is a good length.
Please be aware that your statement will be a part of ‘aggravation’ in a sentencing hearing. The Prosecuting Attorney and/or Victim Witness Personnel may review your statement prior to the sentencing hearing and they may have to delete or change parts of your statement that may not be appropriate for court. They should let you know about any changes that are necessary for your statement prior to court.
Avoid making statements to the murderer. Do not ask for a specific sentence for the murderer. This is the prosecuting attorney’s job. He/she will include the sentence their office is asking for in their argument.
Remember, that you are in a court of law. Let any outbreaks happen OUTSIDE the courtroom. Sometimes the process is different than what you expect and it may be confusing and irritating for you. But, remember the Prosecuting Attorney and the Victim Witness personnel are there to answer questions or concerns you might have. They should prepare you for what to expect during every phase of a criminal case, including the sentencing phase.
Your Prosecuting Attorney and Victim Witness Personnel are there to help you. They should assist you in your quest for information regarding the prison system where the murderer is going. At a later date, you may receive information what prison the murderer is in and his tentative outdate, if applicable.
You may use your Victim Impact Statement for parole hearings at a later date.
If you have a question, please reach out to the National Office at 513-721-5683.