Victim Impact Statement Act

Victim Impact Statement Act

Summary

This Act would require the probation department to solicit a victim impact statement from a victim of a felony, after the conviction but before the sentencing of the felon. The probation officer would then be required to attach a victim impact statement to the presentence report submitted to the sentencing court. Furthermore, this Act would allow victims of all crimes to submit impact statements to the probation department, which would then be required to attach the statement to the presentence reports. The sentencing court would be required to consider victim impact statements when deciding on sentences.

Model Policy

{Title, enacting clause, etc.}

Section 1. {Title.} This Act may be cited as the Victim Impact Statement Act.

Section 2. {Definitions.} As used in this Act:

(A) “Victim” means an individual who suffers direct or threatened physical, emotional, or financial harm as the result of the commission of crime, or an immediate family member of a minor victim or a homicide victim.

(B) “Victim impact statement” means a statement providing information about the financial, emotional, and physical effects of the crime on the victim and the victim’s family, and specific information about the victim, the circumstances surrounding the crime, and the manner in which it was perpetrated.

(C) “Victim representative” means a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or other relative of a deceased or incapacitated victim or of a victim who is under [cite state law] years of age, or a person who has had a close relationship with the victim and is designated by the court to be a victim representative.

Section 3. {Notice to victim or victim representative.}

(A) If a defendant is convicted of a felony involving one or more identifiable victims who suffered death or physical, emotional, or financial injury, the probation department (prosecuting attorney) shall notify the victim or the victim representative in writing of the date, time, and place of the sentencing hearing and advise him or her of the opportunity to present a victim impact statement.

(B) A copy of any relevant rules and regulations pertaining to the victim impact statement and the hearing shall accompany the notice.

(C) The notice and the copy of any relevant rules and regulations shall be sent to the last known address of the victim or the victim representative at least [determined by legislature] days prior to the sentencing hearing.

Section 4. {Submission of victim impact statement to the court.}

(A) Prior to imposition of sentence in a felony case, the probation department shall prepare a written victim impact statement and append it to the presentence report on the defendant. The statement shall include applicable information obtained during consultation with the victim or the victim representative. If the victim or victim representative cannot be located or declines to cooperate in the preparation of the statement, the probation department shall include a notation to that effect in the statement. If there are multiple victims and preparation of individual victim impact statements is not feasible, the probation department may submit one or more representative statements.

(B) Prior to imposition of sentence in both felony and misdemeanor cases, the victim or victim representative may also submit a victim impact statement in one or both of the following means:

(1) by presenting an oral victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing. Where there are multiple victims, the court may limit the number of oral victim impact statements;

(2) by submitting a written statement to the probation department, which shall append such statement to the presentence report of the defendant.

Section 5. {Access to written victim impact statements.} The court shall make available copies of the statement to the defendant, defendant’s counsel, and the prosecuting attorney. These parties shall return all copies of the statement to the court immediately following the imposition of sentence upon the defendant.

Section 6. {Consideration of the victim impact statement.} Any victim impact statement submitted to the court pursuant to Section 4 shall be among the factors considered by the court in determining the sentence to be imposed upon the defendant.

Section 7. {Limitation.} This Act shall not be construed to require a victim or victim representative to submit a victim impact statement or to cooperate in the preparation of a victim impact statement.

Section 8. {Severability clause.}

Section 9. {Repealer clause.}

Section 10. {Effective date.}

 

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors on January 1995.

Re-approved January 9, 2014.

Keyword Tags: 2013 SNPS, Justice Performance Project Task Force, Victims' Rights