Law And Literature

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“ LAW AND LITERATURE Final Essay Discuss the narrative dimension of victim impact statements in light of Booth v Maryland. To what extent do you agree that the court should admit such statements in the sentencing stage of cases? UID: 2008401391 I. Introduction The delivery of a victim impact statement at sentencing is well enshrined in various jurisdictions[1]; lawmakers began to enact legislation addressing victim-related problems in the criminal justice system in the 1970s, including the introduction of such statements.[2] Indeed, this seemingly plainly written text is much more than just a narrative piece of work due to its inherent influence at the sentencing stage. There exists an inherent tension between the two schools of thoughts: one view among the legal academy is that such statements are no more than some maneuver to elongate criminals’ sentences or even encourage votes for death penalty in some extreme cases by evoking unnecessary emotionalism, while some argue that they undeniably convey essential information to sentencing judges and possess other advantageous effects. A literary analysis of a victim impact statement thus becomes essential – exploring the camouflaged narrative techniques as employed to explain their role in court. In this essay, I shall discuss the narrative dimension of victim impact statements in light of Booth v Maryland, followed by an analysis of whether the court should admit such statements in the sentencing phase of cases. II. Literature in Law – Victim Impact Statements Literature and law scholarship has been an entrenched interdisciplinary venture; in particular, literary texts often illuminate the operation of law.[3] Despite criticisms by several legal academics alleging that this interdisciplinary endeavor breaches the “inherent insularity” of disciplinary discourse and challenges the “disciplinary identity” of

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