The victim impact statement is introduced because the victim needs to be given a chance to express what they feel, because they were the ones who suffered, were threatened, beaten, had to listen to the defendant and bear their cruel attitude.
A victim’s statement includes the physical, financial and psychological damages, the harm done to the victim’s family, the medical treatment which the victim has to go through and the victim’s own opinion of the appropriate sentence for the offender. Even though it sounds fair, there are ethical issues with victim impact statement and these issues would be discussed in this essay.
Sentencing a criminal is always done, keeping under consideration the utilitarian concept, which applies to the society. However, a victim statement reflects the interest of individuals and not the society. Thus, if a private party has influence over the sentencing of a criminal, then there wouldn’t be any proper procedures for establishing the guilt of the defendant, the sentence wouldn’t be fair or just. Another ethical consideration is that the victim is not objective in many instances, and the judge would face difficulty in deciding what he should or should not take into account.
The ethical concerns are not only related to the defendant alone, but lawyers would then exploit the victim, based on the statement he or she has given. This would further damage the victim emotionally, as lawyers from each side would ask difficult questions to save their respective clients (Moriarty, 2003). It becomes an ethical issue for the jury, as sometimes the victim statement has such strong emotions, that the jury ignores the evidence presented to them and focus on the victim’s statement. However, according to the eight amendments, a sentence must be based on facts, rather than emotions.
Victim Impact Statement is an ethical concern because if the judge and the jury