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National Crime Victim Law Institute

United States v. Grigg, No. 09-6017, 2011 WL 4056317 (6th Cir. Sept. 14, 2011) (slip copy).

September 29, 2011

Defendant pled guilty to wire and mail fraud charges and received a sentence of 120 months of imprisonment, which was above the stipulated advisory guideline range.  On appeal, Defendant argued, inter alia, that the trial court erred in relying on the victim impact statements to influence its sentencing decision because the victims had not sworn to tell the truth.  The court rejected this argument, concluding that the trial court’s consideration of the unsworn statements was not “plain error.” In reaching its decision, the court found that the right to be heard under the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, 18 U.S.C. § 3771(a)(4), does not have an oath requirement. The court also observed that trial courts generally have discretion to consider a broad range of information when determining a criminal sentence.  In addition, the court found that every court that has examined this issue has reached the same conclusion.  For this and other reasons, the court affirmed the judgment.