Victim Impact Statements
Victim Impact Statement Instructions
When a person is convicted of a crime, the judge reviews all information provided to him or her about the crime, the defendant, and what impact the crime has had on a victim, before passing sentence.
In felony cases a pre-sentence investigative report (PSI) is ordered by the judge. A pre-sentence investigation is conducted by an agent from the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. This agent then prepares a written report that is read before sentencing by the prosecutor, defense lawyer, defendant and judge. A PSI report contains many details about the social, family and criminal history of a defendant. Another part of the PSI is the victim impact segment. Misdemeanor cases rarely have a PSI report prepared.
Crime victims have a right to make statements to the judge before sentencing. Statements can be done by letter, in person, or both. We encourage you to take some time now to write a letter that will be forwarded to the judge in your case, as well as the district attorney and defense lawyer.
If a PSI is being done in your case, it is very likely you will be contacted by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections agent assigned to work on this particular case. The agent will talk with you, and will include your comments in his/her report. Besides talking with an agent during the PSI process, you may also write a letter, if you wish.
If no PSI report is ordered, the judge will only have the opportunity to hear from the crime victim who has taken the time to either write or appear at a sentencing hearing.
What should be discussed in your letter to the judge? Please relay the effect that this crime has had on you and your family and let the judge know what you feel the sentence should be. You can provide the judge with any additional information about the defendant that you think relevant. (Use PEN, not pencil.) Please be as neat with your handwriting as possible. Use as much paper as necessary to clearly express your thoughts and views. If the victim is a young child, a parent can help the child with their Victim Impact Statement.
The heading of your letter:
At the top of your letter, list the name of the defendant, your name, the judge’s name, and any file number assigned to your case. This information is necessary because there are thousands of documents and letters filed at the courthouse, and without identifying names and case information, it is not possible to route letters to the proper file.
Be sure to sign and date your letter and place the number for the branch of court assigned to hear this case (first page of this document will have that information). Address the envelope as follows: Office of District Attorney
Victim Witness Program, Branch of Court
912 56th Street – Molinaro Building
Kenosha WI 53140
Sometimes relatives or friends of a victim want to write a letter to a judge before a sentence is pronounced. Although this may be done, these letters (friends and relatives) should be sent to the same address as listed above.