Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 28, 2006
Sen. Glenn Coffee
Senate Approves Victim's Impact Statement Bill
Under a proposal approved by the State
Senate, victims and family members would be able to
give their impact statement in person, without fear
of further trauma. Senate Bill 1503, by Senator Glenn
Coffee, would prevent the cross-examination of victims
or their family members after presenting an oral impact
statement during the sentencing phase of a trial.
"Right now, if you choose to submit a written impact
statement, that isn't subject to cross-examination,"
explained Coffee, R-Oklahoma City. "However, if
you decide to give that exact same information in person,
you could be questioned by the defense attorney. It's
a double standard that may force some victims or family
members to decide they'd rather not go through that
Coffee says that other states, such as Arizona, have
similar laws to ensure both kinds of impact statements
can be given without cross-examination. He says it won't
affect the outcome of a trial.
"These statements are presented after the conviction.
It does not impact evidentiary issues related to the
trial itself. What it will do is give some protection
to the dignity of victims and family members who decide
they want to give their statement in person without
being subjected to a cross-examination."
SB 1503 now goes to the House of Representatives for
more information contact:
Senator Coffee's Office - (405) 521-5636