Preserving Integrity in Capital Sentencing: Booth v. Maryland
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McCoy, Kevin J.
INTRODUCTION|The decade of the 1980's has seen a groundswell of popular support for legislation designed to try to change what many critics perceive to be a justice system that overprotects the accused and ignores the plight of victims and their families. One of the most readily accepted legislative reactions to the influence of victims' rights advocates has been the requirement that a "victim impact statement" ("VIS") be prepared before the sentencing of criminals in order to relate to judicial decisionmakers the consequences of the crime upon its victims. A few jurisdictions, such as Maryland, went so far as to allow emotionally-charged statements from victims' families to be admitted at the sentencing stage of capital trials. It is at the sentencing stage that the jury weighs information in determining the appropriateness of the death penalty to the convicted defendant. In the case of Booth v. State, John Booth, who shot and killed an elderly Baltimore couple while burglarizing their home, was given a death sentence...
22 Creighton L. Rev. 333 (1988-1989)
Creighton University School of Law