Victim and Execution Impact Statements
Impact statements are controversial because they represent extra-legal factors that can sway jurors' verdicts. The emotional nature of impact statements may impede jurors' abilities to impartially weigh aggravating and mitigating factors. For my undergraduate honors thesis, advised by Dr. Monica Miller (University of Nevada, Reno), I conducted survey research with student mock jurors to determine how victim and execution impact statements impact sentencing decisions. Overall, the impact statements influenced emotions, but not verdicts. My future research seeks to use more realistic experimental methods to test the emotional influence they may have on mock jurors (video vs. written testimony).
2015 - Grants-in-Aid Funding Award, American Psychology-Law Society: $750
2010 - General Undergraduate Research Award, University of Nevada, Reno: $1,200
West, M. P., Boppre, B., Miller, M. K., & Barchard, K. (2019). The Effects of Impact Statements on Jurors’ Decisions and Perceptions of the Victim and Defendant. Applied Psychology in Criminal Justice, 15, 185-200.
Boppre, B., & Miller, M. K. (2014). How Victim and Execution Impact Statements Affect Mock Jurors’ Perceptions, Emotions, and Verdicts. Victims & Offenders, 9, 413-435.