A community impact statement is generally used in property crimes, drug crimes, felon in possession crimes, and other cases where the community sees the person in question as a chronic offender.
In July of 2011, a man was caught breaking into cars at an apartment complex in Minnesota. The 50-year-old man was charged with two felonies for burglary.
In September of the same year, a 22-year-old man from Minnesota admitted to breaking into a local restaurant. He was sent to jail and was charged with burglary.
The community took these two crimes as an opportunity to be heard.
According to a representative from the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office, the community impact statements are an opportunity for the community to tell the court how a particular crime has impacted their lives. It is a right given to direct victims of a crime, as well as to community members who are indirect victims of these same crimes.
Defense attorney Douglas Kans of the Kans Law Firm, LLC was recently interviewed by ABC News affiliate Eyewitness 5 news on the topic and acknowledges that these statements can be seen as positive (depending on what is being said for the defendant). However, these statements are often used to appeal for specific sanctions against a particular defendant.
In Minnesota, community impact statements carry a lot of weight. The 50-year-old man is currently serving a seven-year sentence behind bars, while the 22-year-old man will be going to court in September for sentencing.
In order to ensure that people are telling the truth, community impact statements are not anonymous. An individual fearing his or her safety may be issued a court watch number, and only the court will know the person’s real identity.
If you are charged with a crime in Minneapolis, call us at (952) 835-6314 for a free consultation and case evaluation.