Justice is a delicate subject that should always be addressed carefully, whether in court hearings or our day-to-day lives; emotional should not be allowed when passing or pressing charges as this clouds judgment, eliminating clarity and fairness to either the offender or victim. During the trial, victim impact statements occur where the victim or victim’s family can express the psychological, physical, and financial impact subjected to by the crime. The fact that the victim families were not witnesses of the crime incidence and the statements cannot be used as evidence raises a lot of controversy around the victim impact statements issue. Emotions and biasness disrupt or challenge the legal decisions either about sentencing or quilt, to gain clarity and good judgment, victim impact statements should not be allowed in the court hearings.
Emotions should always be avoided in any activity involved in and most in cases involving justice and other issues like business investment doctors treating family members. Victim impact statements are an act of giving voices to the victim’s family and friends in the court hearing, explaining what they have been going through since the crime was committed, for the judge to estimate the extent of the damage of the offense (Nuñez et al., 2011). This, in turn, fills the room with a lot of emotional baggage to the judges and the jury, making it difficult to give a fair justice based on the moral judgment which should be found on the defendant’s characteristics and the crime circumstances. While at the same time, the victim impact statements favor one side of the parties involved in the court hearing neglecting the impact on the side of the offenders and their families. Whether guilt or sentencing, judgment should always be based on evidence from witnesses or what the police could obtain from the crime scene and not be found on the emotions resulting from victim impact statements.
When used in criminal proceedings, victim impact statements increase the percentage of potential bias when making legal decisions on whether the offender is guilty or deserves sentencing. Crime suspects have often been found to be innocent for crimes they were falsely accused of, as the law is clear that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. Victim impacts statements take away the place of evidence which is an offense and unfairness against the defendant who only consent relies on the collection of the evidence, and now it is put away due to the biasness and harmful picture painting in the minds of the judges (Roberts & Edgar, 2006). The defendants have no power to refute the content presented by the victim impact statements that convey negative information to the judge about the suspect’s character. This affects decision-making and opens doors for biasness when it comes to passing legal decisions. The fact that the statement undermines the evidence provided to the court should act as a limit of using them while much research is conducted as the judiciary system keeps on growing and evolving to serve each person better.
In conclusion, emotions and biasness undermine people’s ability to make a proper judgment, whether in court or in everyday life. Evidence is the only component that can be used to pass reasonable and fair judgment according to the law regarding either the victims or the defendant. Victim impacts statement impairs judgment and the importance of evidence, and before the judicial systems conclude on using them, proper research should be conducted to decide the effects they have on criminal proceedings.
Law & Crime Network. (2020). Retrieved 7 February 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbzSmAm3-CU
Nuñez, N., Egan-Wright, D., Kehn, A., & Myers, B. (2011, March). Impact of different methods of victim impact statement delivery at capital trials: Emotionality of statements and its impact on sentencing decisions. In Talk presented at the 4th International Congress of Psychology and Law, Miami, FL.
Roberts, J. V., & Edgar, A. (2006). Victim Impact Statements at Sentencing: Judicial Experiences and Perceptions, A Survey of Three Jurisdictions. Ottawa, ON, Canada: Department of Justice Canada.