Topic: Defendants and Victims
A crime resulting in the death of or severe injury to the victim can have a profound impact on a spouse, children, co-workers, brothers and sisters, and the community. Some contend that the criminal justice system focuses too much on the troubled past of the defendant and not the devastating impact on the victim of violent crime.
Assume you are on a committee that has been asked to evaluate the current rules regarding what information may be presented regarding:
1) the defendant’s past and,
2) the impact of the victim’s injuries/death as a result of the crime.
Evaluate the current rules regarding the admission of prior crimes or bad acts by the defendant as well as how his background/life led him to commit the crime.
Evaluate the current rules regarding the admission of prior crimes or bad acts by the victim as well as the limitations on victim impact statements.
You may use either the federal court rules or your state’s rules.
Provide both the scriptural and scholarly criminal sources you are relying on to form your analysis.
Discussion Board Forums Assistance:
What factors should define the limits of why a defendant acted in such a way as to cause the death or injury of another person? Sexual abuse? Physical abuse of a parent? Poverty? Bullying? Traumatic Brain Injury? Drug/alcohol addiction? Can the defendant raise the issue of the victim’s criminal history, immoral lifestyle, or fringe religious beliefs? Can the defendant produce a video with music and poetry describing his/her childhood and efforts to overcome a troubled life? What factors should define the limits on whose views about the impact of the victim’s injury or death may be heard and what types of testimony can be given? Immediate family? Friends of friends? Employers? Neighbors? Patients? Must those speaking on behalf of the victim appear and testify? Can they just send in a letter? Can they produce a video with music and poetry? Can they speak only about the victim or can they also share their views about the defendant?