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50 Brook. L. Rev. 301 (1983-1984)
Victim Impact Statements and Restitution: Making the Punishment Fit the Victim

handle is hein.journals/brklr50 and id is 325 raw text is: VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENTS AND
The Victim and Witness Protection Act of 19821 (Act) was
signed into law     on October 12, 19822 having been approved by
Congress eleven days earlier.' The Act is a result of a national
' Pub. L. No. 97-291, 96 Stat. 1248 (codified at 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512-1515, 3146(a),
3579, 3580 (1982)); FED. R. CRIM. P. 32(c)(2). The Victim and Witness Protection Act
(Act) provides that 1) before sentencing a criminal defendant, the judge must be in-
formed of the crime's impact on the victim, FED. R. CRIM. P. 32(c)(2); 2) one who tam-
pers with or retaliates against a witness, victim, or informant is subject both to severe
criminal sanctions and to civil restraints, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1512-1514; 3) a defendant must
pay restitution to the victim as ordered by the sentencing judge, 18 U.S.C. §§ 3579-3580;
4) the Attorney General shall develop guidelines for the fair treatment of victims and
witnesses by the criminal justice system, 18 U.S.C. § 1512 (comments); and 5) the Attor-
ney General shall report to Congress on the efficacy of any laws necessary to prevent
federal criminals from deriving profit from the sale of the story of the crime, 18 U.S.C. §
3579 (comments).
S. 2420, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., 128 CONG. REc. S13,415-16 (daily ed. Oct. 20, 1982).
The series of bills that developed into the Act moved through both houses very
quickly. The process began in the Senate on September 17, 1981 with the introduction of
the Criminal Code Reform Bill. S. 1630, 97th Cong., 1st Sess., 127 CONG. REC. S9769
(daily ed. Sept. 17, 1981). Part V of that bill contained a provision for government com-
pensation for crime victims. Id. at S9771; see note 8 infra. The bill encountered difficulty
in the House, however, because there was disagreement among the cosponsors as how to
implement the funding of compensation for victims. 128 CONG. REC. S3855 (daily ed.
Apr. 22, 1982) (statement of Sen. Heinz). The Omnibus Victims Protection Act of 1982,
introduced on April 22, 1982, S. 2420, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., 128 CONG. REC. S3853-61
(daily ed. Apr. 22, 1982), substituted restitution, paid by convicted criminals, for govern-
ment compensation. This bill was passed by the Senate on Sept. 14, 1982. S. 2420, 97th
Cong., 2d Sess., 128 CONG. REC. S11,439 (daily ed. Sept. 14, 1982).
Later, on the same day that he introduced the Omnibus bill, Senator Heinz also
introduced An Act to Establish a Victims Compensation Fund, S. 2433, 97th Cong., 2d
Sess., 128 CONG. REC. S3861 (daily ed. Apr. 22, 1982). This bill was referred to the Com-
mittee on the Judiciary, id. at S3913, but expired with the session. This second attempt
to secure government compensation was later succeeded by the Victim's Assistance Act
of 1983, introduced as a follow-up measure of the Act. S. 704, 98th Cong., 1st Sess.,
129 CONG. REC. S2291 (daily ed. Mar. 8, 1983). It was introduced by Senator Heinz and
is still on the floor for consideration.
In the House, two bills were originally introduced: The Victims of Crime Compensa-
tion Act of 1982, H.R. 6447, 97th Cong., 2d Sess., 128 CONG. REC. E2356 (daily ed. May
20, 1982), which contained provisions for compensation to be funded by a handgun tax,
and The Victims and Witness Protection and Assistance Act of 1982, H.R. 6448, 97th
Cong., 2d Sess., 128 CONG. REC. E2357 (daily ed. May 20, 1982), which called for a victim
impact statement in the presentence report. Both bills were introduced by Representa-

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