Definition - What does Allocution mean?

Allocution is the name given to a specific point in criminal court proceedings that occurs after conviction and prior to sentencing. This is when the defendant can speak directly to the judge in an effort to lessen their punishment. It is an opportunity to express remorse, take accountability, apologize, or try to explain the reasons for their actions.

In some jurisdictions, victim impact statements are also made or read aloud at this time.

Justipedia explains Allocution

Allocution is frequently depicted as a key moment in TV crime dramas and films.

This is the time after the defendant has been convicted, when the judge will ask if there is anything that they would like to say before their punishment is announced. The judge will also ask if there is any legal basis for withholding the punishment.

If the defendant has accepted a plea deal or otherwise entered a guilty plea, this is when the judge will ask if they have done so voluntarily. The judge will also ask if they understand the charges that they are facing and the consequences of pleading guilty.

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