In Minnesota, anyone who has been affected by a crime, even indirectly, has a right to tell the court what impact the incident had on them. Victims and the community at large are entitled to provide information and input to the court.
Victim Impact Statements
Victims have rights in the court of law, including the right to provide a Victim Impact Statement that tells the court how this crime has affected their life. Victim Advocates from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office help in this process.
Community Impact Statements
Many crimes undermine the safety and well-being of entire neighborhoods. People who live and work in areas where crimes have occurred may submit Community Impact Statements. If you feel unsafe, anxious, or afraid due to a crime in your neighborhood, you are entitled to share that information with the court.
Community impact statements put an offense in context, informing the court of the negative social or economic impacts of specific criminal activities. They are submitted in response to particular offense or offender and should include:
- The full name of the offender;
- Summary of the alleged criminal activity;
- How these events have impacted your life, family, neighborhood, etc. Specific examples are particularly useful and paint a picture of the negative effects. Examples could include changes you have made in your daily routine, additional security measures, or concerns about leaving your house; and
- Thoughts or suggestions about appropriate outcomes.
How to Submit a Community Impact Statement
Impact Statements Make a Difference
Impact statements are submitted to the court and are taken into account by the judge. They may affect bail, conditions for release, probation, or sentencing. Community members may choose to appear in court to present impact statements, or they may provide these statements to the prosecutor who will then present the statement to the judge and defense counsel.
Impact statements are an opportunity for anyone who has been negatively affected by crime to make sure their voice is heard. They often provide information that is not included in official reports. This valuable community input helps achieve appropriate outcomes.