What are the victim’s rights to speak after punishment?

Victim’s Right to Speak After Punishment Article 42.03 (1) (b), Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, provides victims of violent crime (or the close relative of a deceased victim, or the guardian of a victim) the right to speak in court after punishment has been assessed. The victim’s remarks are limited to the victim’s views about the offense, the defendant and the effect of the offense on the victim. Although the victim may address both the court and the defendant, the victim may not ask any questions of the defendant. The court reporter may not transcribe the victim’s statement, and the statement may not be made until after the sentence has been pronounced. For those victims who would like some assistance in preparing their oral statement, we have developed a guideline to help them organize their thoughts. Guide for Preparation of Victim’s Statement to be presented to Court after Sentence has been pronounced. Your remarks are limited to your thoughts about the crime, the defendant and the effect of the crime on you or the victim’s family. You may direct your comments to the court (Judge) and the defendant. You may not ask the defendant any questions. The court reporter may not record your statement. We suggest that you take some time before the sentencing to organize your thoughts. It has been more effective to write down your thoughts than to speak without preparation. Many victims are emotional at the time of sentencing and having an outline of your thoughts can be very helpful. Date of sentencing:_____________ Court Number:______ Suggested Outline:

  • The Crime
  • The Defendant
  • The effect of the crime on the victim or the victim’s family
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