Victim Impact Statements
Victim impact statements are written or oral information from crime victims, in their own word about how a crime has affected them. All 50 states allow such statements to be introduced at some phase of the sentencing process.
Victim's statements in the Stanford sexual assault caseMost of us know and have read the victim's statements in the Stanford sexual assault case. This letter was presented and presumably was heard by the trial judge presiding over the trial and who sentenced the defendant. We do not know her identity--all we know, as in most cases of sexual assault or abuse, is that she is identified as "Emily Doe."
The victim is allowed a great deal of discretion to state on the record what he or she wants the judge, probation officer, prosecutor, defense attorney and most of all, the defendant to know about the following: the physical damage caused by the crime, the emotional damage caused by the crime, financial costs to the victim from the crime, medical, psychological or both treatments required by the victim or his or her family, the need for restitution, his or her views of the crime or the defendant, victim's views on an appropriate sentence. The last two are allowed in all states but most states do want to hear from the victim of all aspects.
Marsy's LawThese rights are commonly referred to as "Marsy's Law" which was passed by California voters in 2008 as Proposition 9, the Victims' Bill of Rights Act of 2008. This measure amended the California Constitution to provide additional rights to victims. It became the strongest and most comprehensive Constitutional victims' rights law in the U.S. and put California in the forefront of the national victims' rights movement.
Dr. Henry T. Nicholas, the co-founder of Broadcom Corporation was the key backer and proponent of Marsy's Law. Marsy's Law was named after Dr. Nicholas' sister, Marsalee (Marsy) Nicholas. While a student at the University of California Santa Barbara, she was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend in 1983. Only a week after Marsy was murdered, Dr. Nicholas' and Marsy's mother, Mrs. Marcella Leach, walked into a grocery store after visiting her daughter's grave and was confronted by the accused murderer. She had no idea that he had been released on bail.