U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Victim Appearances at Sentencing Under California's Victims' Bill of Rights

NCJ Number
E Villmoare; V V Neto
Date Published
5 pages
This study examines victims' use of their mandated right to address the court before any felony sentencing in California and assesses the extent of victims' awareness of this right and their reaction to it.
In the fall of 1982, the study surveyed agencies statewide to determine the activities and attitudes of officials related to victims' allocution right. A total of 171 victims were interviewed by telephone. Victims exercised their allocution right in less than 3 percent of the cases. Generally, victims were more interested in information about their cases than in their right to participate in case processing. Eighty percent of the victims interviewed, however, believed the allocution right is important. Victim impact statements included in the presentence reports provide many victims with a satisfactory opportunity to express their sentencing views. Allocution at sentencing is a modest victim right because plea bargaining resolves most sentences, particularly in a determinate sentencing system, before the victim expresses any view of sentencing. Meaningful victim participation in the sentencing decision should occur early in case processing. Form letters sent by probation departments to notify victims of their allocution right are inadequate. More personal and direct communication is required if victims are to understand this right.