Hardball with Chris Matthews, 7/18/13, 5:59 PM ET

Matthews: We can’t forget about families of victims

After the George Zimmerman trial, Hardball’s Chris Matthews says that “the scales of justice must be weighed for the victim as well as for the defendant.”

‘Scales of justice’ must be weighed for victim and defendent

Updated

Let me finish tonight with the Martin family.

A lot of defense attorneys over the years have opposed giving rights to the families of the victims.

I think that’s wrong. I think it’s vital when we speak about murder cases – including in capital cases where execution is a possible sentence – that we consider the alleged criminal act itself.  We need to look at what happened, the full horror of it, and that includes the horror and loss done to the families of the person killed.

There is nothing colder than to pretend that the purpose of the law, the emotions of a jury, should only be swayed by the punishment facing the accused.  The jury should also see before it, in the courtroom, the price incurred by the crime, the horror inflicted on the victim as seen in the eyes of the family and others closes to the victim.

I know this isn’t a popular notion – or hasn’t been in this trial of George Zimmerman – but perhaps now, seeing the Martins and hearing their grief, we have a stronger sense that when it comes especially to the sentencing, the scales of justice must be weighed for the victim as well as for the defendant.

Just a thought.

'Scales of justice' must be weighed for victim and defendent

Updated