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: <>. Date accessed: 16 nov. 2018.