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crime victims

Michigan Capitol Building
Matthileo / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Defendants in the state of Michigan will now be required to listen to their victims' impact statements according to a bill approved by Governor Snyder Wednesday.

Impact statements are often the only opportunity a victim has to share their experiences in a legal setting.

Olivia Cowan
Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Lawmakers in Lansing have been working on legislation in response to the Larry Nassar case. And while they’re at it, some say they might want to clarify who counts as a victim when it comes to giving impact statements at a defendant’s sentencing.

Looking up into the rotunda of the Michigan Capitol.
user cedarbenddrive/Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Victims would have more rights under bills passed by the state House Thursday.

One bill would require defendants be physically present in the courtroom when a victim or victim’s family gives an impact statement at sentencing. The other is aimed at making sure students don’t have to go to school with someone who sexually assaulted them.

Yumi Kimura / Wikimedia Commons

The Michigan Supreme Court says judges have to actually see evidence that a victim has been traumatized if they want to cite trauma as a reason for a longer sentence.

Anthony White pleaded guilty to armed robbery and breaking and entering. That was after he robbed a gas station and at one point held a gun to the victim’s head.

The trial judge increased White’s sentence because he assumed psychological trauma to the victim. The defendant also admitted that the victim was afraid she would be shot.