Although three justices voted to review the case, the United States Supreme Court opted not to review Kelly v. California and Zamudia v. California. In the cases, the defendants argued that video scrapbooks with photos and home movies of victims violated their rights to a fair trial. In both cases, the state of California disagreed and affirmed the death penalty. The defendants believed that having the victim impact statements in such a medium was prejudicial and called for the jury to use their emotions rather than reason in deciding to impose the death penalty.

In his dissent, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens stated, “[t]he videos added nothing relevant to the jury’s deliberations and invited a verdict based on sentiment, rather than reasoned judgment.”

For more information, go to:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/CRIME/11/10/scotus.victim.impact/index.html

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-11073Stevens.pdf

http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/08pdf/07-11073Breyer.pdf