VICTIM IMPACT LETTER
purpose of this outline is to assist you in putting your own thoughts on paper
or for an oral presentation to the court.
The following format is only a suggestion.
The Honorable ___________________
RE: People vs. (case
1st PARAGRAPH: State your
name and your relationship to the case (as the crime victim or on behalf of a
loved one or a colleague).
2nd PARAGRAPH: Provide the
date and a short summary of the crash. Include
the defendant and victim's name.
Describe the impact this crash has had on you, your family, friends and
community, if this crash has caused great economic hardship such as large or
ongoing medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, etc.
4th PARAGRAPH: Explain
how you feel about a future without your loved one, or about the injuries that
you or a loved one must live with.
5th PARAGRAPH: Tell the judge
what you feel is just in the way of
a penalty for this crime. If you
want restitution, this is the time to request that also.
Discuss this outline with your Advocate
for suggestions and range of penalties for this type of crime.
It is important to be realistic about penalty ranges and the choices a
judge can legally make. Do not
include technical court evidence; the judge knows this information already and
will not want to hear it again. Remember,
your opinion is the only one the judge has not heard.
Family and friends may also write to the judge during the sentencing
phase. All letters must be
routed through the probation department.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL
IMPACT STATEMENT TO THE COURT
Put statement on 4x6 cards (if you shake, cards won't
Number the cards (in case they drop).
Write on front only (easier to keep track).
Use capital letters (so you don't lose your place).
Use highlighter on key words to draw your eye to that
Before you speak, remember to take a deep breath to get extra oxygen
to your brain. Shallow breathing
constricts the blood vessels and decreases the flow of oxygen to the brain:
this, in turn, causes lightheadedness.