Victim vices, victim voices, and impact statements: on the place of emotion and the role of restorative justice in capital sentencing

Author(s)Arrigo, Bruce A. and Williams, Christopher R
Title Victim vices, victim voices, and impact statements: on the place of emotion and the role of restorative justice in capital sentencing
Source Crime and Delinquency, 49.4, Oct 2003: p603(24p)
Date 2003
Document type Journal article
Coverage USA
Summary This article examines the efficacy and legitimacy of using victim impact statements (VIS) in capital cases. Basic principles of critical restorative justice are outlined, followed by a general discussion of the goals of victim impact statements and results of empirical research into the use of VIS during capital trials. Two questions that arise from the research are considered: whether there is a prejudicial imbalance introduced through encouraging juries to consider evidence that may be biased with retributive emotion, and whether emotion has a legitimate role in the process of justice. US Supreme Court case law is considered in response to these questions. Several police changes are recommended around the use of controlled mediation sessions, with definable outcomes.
Keywords Victim impact statements; restorative justice; sentencing
Topic Victim impact statements