Criminal – sentencing, refuting victim impact statement: Phillips v. Commonwealth (COA 9/25/2009)

Phillips v. Commonwealth
2008-CA-001817 9/25/09 2009 WL 3047727 5

Opinion by Judge VanMeter; Chief Judge Combs and Senior Judge Lambert concurred.

The Court affirmed an order of the circuit court denying appellant’s motion for an evidentiary hearing regarding the accuracy of statements made in a victim impact statement considered by the court during appellant’s sentencing.

The Court held that the trial court did not err by declining to afford appellant an opportunity to controvert the contents of the victim impact statement. The Court rejected appellant’s argument that a defendant’s opportunity to controvert the contents of a presentence investigation (PSI) report pursuant to KRS 532.050 applied to a victim impact statement submitted pursuant to KRS 421.520. The Court further held that, even if error, the error was harmless, as the trial court specifically indicated that it did not rely on the questioned statement but rather considered it in conjunction with the PSI report and sentenced appellant to the agreed-upon punishment.