The Pre-Sentence Impact Statement is a presentation of the affect the murder of a loved one has caused. Having the presentation by a family member or friend personalizes the murder victim and is information that cannot be obtained from other sources. Only the family or friend of the murder victim directly affected can truly describe the loss, frustration and fear the crime has created.
The Pre-Sentence Impact Statement, as told by the family or friend of a murder victim, provides the judge and jury with a perspective no one else can.
In California, courts do not accept Victim Impact Statements (VIS) (normally made known to the judge and jury before trial begins in some states). The reason for California NOT accepting VIS’s is that they are often viewed as prejudicial and could be grounds for an appeal.
Pre-Sentence Impact statements by family and friends of murder victims are accepted and made part of the pre-sentence investigation report submitted to the presiding judge for consideration at time of sentencing.
Pre-Sentence Impact Statement Outline
Pre-sentence Impact Statement (Written or Verbal)
- Introduce/describe in your own words who the murder victim was – (mother, father, brother, sister, wife, husband, son, daughter, etc.)
- What are the consequences of the loss of the murder victim.
- Specific family member – son(s), daughter(s), wife, husband, etc.
- Family support (husband, father, wife, mother)
- Funeral expenses
- To spouse, children, parents, etc.
Recommendation for sentencing.
- 25-life, life without possibility of parole, or death
- include enhancements (Note: It is important to familiarize yourself with sanctions of crime, enhancements, etc.)
Sample Pre-Sentence Impact Statement
This sample Pre-Sentence Impact Statement is just that, a “sample”. Relationship and circumstances may differ.
At no time does this sample Pre-Sentence Impact Statement use the defendant’s name. This is intentional. NEVER personalize the defendant. ALWAYS personalize the victims(s), i.e. use of names.
You know the value from speaking from the heart. Use language that best expresses your true feelings. There is no substitute for providing a perspective of the murder victim in one’s own words.
My name is ……………
Your relationship to murder victims(s)
On (date), (name of victim(s), was murdered by the defendant(s). How do I know this? You, the Jury, returned a verdict of guilty. The facts of the case were proven beyond a reasonable doubt and your verdict was rendered guilty!
Words cannot express the pain and anguish our family and friends have endured since their murder(s). The defendant(s) decision to take the life of a human being with no regard for the effect(s) it may have on others is unimaginable.
The loss of (a daughter/son/mother/father/life-long companion/friend, etc.) is beyond words. There will be no more birthday parties, backyard gatherings, holiday celebrations or other family activities to share. The laughter, hugs, guidance/advice, sense of security and those opportunities to say, “I love you” are forever gone. Our family is forever “broken”.
To say the least, the financial affect on the family has also been devastating.
Compassion is a word commonly used for and by defendants. However, I ask, how much compassion the defendant(s) considered when the decision was made to murder (name of victim)?
It is the request of the family that the maximum penalty for the crime for which the defendant(s) was convicted be imposed. On behalf of the family of (victim), I wish to express my sincerest gratitude for allowing this opportunity of expression.