Allocution has several meanings:
1. An allocution is the process by which a guilty plea is made and accepted in a criminal case. The judge poses a series of questions to determine whether the Defendant understands the consequences of the plea bargain and determines whether the Defendant has entered the plea under his own free will.
2. An allocution is the Defendant's personal statement prior to sentencing. For example, after the Prosecution and the Defense have both presented their cases, the judge will ask the Defendant whether he has anything further to say. Depending on what the Defendant says, the allocution can mitigate the sentence (make it less severe).
3. An allocution is the victim's explanation of the ways in which the crime has impacted his or her life. This is also referred to as a “Victim's Impact Statement.”