Criminal History and Victim Impact
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According to Christine Englebrecht, there has been an increase in support for victim participation in the criminal justice system. However, there is very little known about the effectiveness of victim participation in a court setting (2012, p.1). Support for victim’s rights has afforded victims the opportunity to obtain information regarding court dates or if the offender is released from incarceration which are considered “significant events (ibid).” Victim’s are also afforded the right to make a victim impact statement in the sentencing phase of court proceeding. However, many scholars argue that victim impact statements only, “use victims suffering as a tool to rationalize punitive measures against offenders (p.2).” In direct reference to victim statements there are guidelines for each particular state and what is allowed by the judge of a trial regarding the rules of victim statements. Englebrecht states that there is a particular that must be followed for victim’s addressing the court through victim statements that are as follows: (1) the victim (2) the defense (3) the defendant (p.14).
Next, the defendants past criminal actions are an integral part of the sentencing phase of the criminal justice system. According to James Jacobs, previous criminal activity by a defendant is merely considered public knowledge. However, if the defendant was charged but not convicted of a crime, the ability for prosecution to use these previous criminal acts as persuasion is greatly limited (2013, p.1). The most important aspect regarding past acts as an admission of evidence in a trial is, ” if they constitute proof of motive, opportunity, intent, preparation, plan, knowledge, identity or absence of mistake or accident. (2013, p.2).”
Englebrecht, C. M. (2012). Where Do I Stand?: An Exploration of the Rules That Regulate Victim Participation in the Criminal Justice System. Victims & Offenders,7(2), 161-184.doi:10.1080/15564886.2012.657290
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Discussion Board 2
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The committee that I am on has been asked to evaluate the current rules regarding the defendants past and the impact of the victims injuries or death as a result of the crime. I will find out as much information I can about the defendant concerning his past. I will try to find out what would have made the defendant so angry to commit the crime that he had committed. I will also try to find out why the injuries or death as a result of the crime. I live in the state of Virginia so I will have to make sure that the committee that I am on will go by the current rules regarding the admission of prior crimes or bad acts. The committee will have to go by the Virginia Codes and Rules. I will try my best to make sure that the committee does not make any mistakes regarding the information. We will keep all private information confidential. We have to focus on the impact that the crime caused the defendant to have. It can cause a lot of hurt, harm, danger, and depression. It can also have an impact on the families. The families can be going through a lot and the impact can make someone do something that they will regret later in life.
Law and Criminal Justice Journals
Exodus 20:13 “Thou shalt not kill.”
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