VICTIM OPINION STATEMENTS: PROVIDING JUSTICE FOR GRIEVING FAMILIES

Abstract

This Note addresses in five parts the need for victims to have an opportunity to voice their opinions on the type and length of sentence that should be imposed on a defendant in a capital case. Part I gives a brief history of Booth v. Maryland and Payne v. Tennessee and address the ambiguities resulting from the Supreme Court's lack of clarity on whether a victim opinion statement may be admitted during the sentencing portion of a capital trial. Part II then outlines the lower court split and discusses how some courts perceive Payne as holding that the Eighth Amendment creates a per se bar against a victim's sentencing recommendation in a capital case. Part III reviews the reasoning of Professor Paul Cassell-one of the Nation's leading experts on victim's rights-for supporting the admission of victim impact statements during capital cases. Next, part IV addresses the opposition to the admissibility of victim opinion statements as violating the Eighth Amendment. Part V concludes by providing a brief recap of why the Supreme Court needs to rule with finality that allowing victims to submit their opinions during the sentencing phase of a capital trial does not violate the Eighth Amendment.
How to Cite
. VICTIM OPINION STATEMENTS: PROVIDING JUSTICE FOR GRIEVING FAMILIES. Journal of Law and Family Studies, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 2, aug. 2010. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/jlfs/article/view/368>. Date accessed: 25 nov. 2017.
Section
Notes