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Allocution is a procedure during sentencing by which a convicted person is given opportunity to address a judge. This is done after being found guilty and before sentence is pronounced. The judge asks the defendant whether s/he has any thing to say on the sentencing. The defendant may request for a less sentence, may make an apology, and may give an explanation for his /her criminal conduct. The defendant need not be sworn before s/he makes his/her address. His/her statements are not subject to cross-examination.
In some states, allocution refers to a procedure where the victim of a crime is given the opportunity to personally speak, before punishment is imposed, about the pain and suffering gone through by him/her or about the convicted defendant.
Allocution is also a procedure by which a guilty plea may be accepted in a criminal action. The procedure involves a series of questions put forward to assure the judge that the defendant understands the charges, is guilty of the crime s/he is accused of, understands the after effect of a guilty plea and that s/he is entitled to a trial. It is also to ensure that the defendant is voluntarily entering the plea.
Allocution also means a formal speech or address that contains an authoritative statement on a subject or an exhortation to somebody.