48 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2002
Currently, Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 32(c)(3)(E) provides for victim impact testimony in cases involving violence or sexual abuse. This article proposes that the rule be expanded to cover other federal felony cases -- particularly those involving fraud. After reviewing the relevance of victim impact testimony under the Sentencing Guidelines, the article compares the advantages of in-person victim impact testimony (more effective communication, the opportunity for expression, and increased victim satisfaction) with the advantages of written victim impact statements (efficiency, restraint on emotion, and minimal demands on the court's resources). It then considers some of the disadvantages of victim impact testimony (exacerbation of the victimhood experience, problems for those who may be anxious, inarticulate, or enraged). The article concludes by proposing an amendment to Rule 32(c)(3)(E) that recognizes that not all federal felonies have identifiable victims, and that not all victims (of multiple-victim frauds, for example) will always be able to testify. Nonetheless, the rule as amended would require courts to invite victim-impact testimony in most federal felony cases.
Keywords: Victim, victim-impact testimony, allocution, fraud
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation