Senator Steve Saland (R, I, C - Poughkeepsie) today announced that the Senate has passed his “Victims’ Voices for Justice Act” which expands the number of victim’s family members who may speak at the sentencing of a defendant (S.4092).
Current law allows for a single victim impact statement from a member of a victim’s family if the victim is unable to speak or is deceased. However, courts have interpreted this provision as prohibiting more than one member of the victim’s family from speaking, thus preventing parents, grandparents and children from addressing the court prior to sentencing.
Senator Saland stated, “The ‘Victims for Justice Act’ removes this unjust limitation and permits the family of a victim to testify as to how the criminal’s act affected their life and the life of the victim at sentencing if the victim is otherwise unable to express himself or herself before the court.”
The bills will now be sent to the Assembly for consideration.