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The Champion

August 2003 , Page 43 

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Update: No victim impact testimony without specific legislative authorization

By Chris Adams

Read more Death Watch columns.

The Wyoming Supreme Court, overturning the capital sentence of Martin Olsen, held victim impact evidence is inadmissible. Olsen v. State, No. 98-63, 4/14/03. The Court reasoned that Payne v. Tennessee, 501 U.S. 808 (1991) (overruling Booth and allowing victim impact testimony) and the dissent in Booth v. Maryland, 482 U.S. 496 (1987) (victim impact evidence violates the Eighth Amendment) emphasize the role of the legislature in authorizing the admission of victim impact testimony and victim impact evidence was never mandated. Since the Wyoming legislature never specifically authorized the admission of victim impact testimony in capital sentencing hearings, the courts are not allowed to admit it. Congratulations to the public defenders in Wyoming for their great work.

Prosecution’s contacting of juror’s family improper

The South Carolina Supreme Court held the prosecution violated James Bryant’s fair trial right by contacting the potential juror’s family members o

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