How to write a professional letter to a judge
The first thing to know about writing a letter to a judge is when it might be appropriate to do so. Writing letter to the judge presiding over your case is not permissible. However it is allowed to write a judge if you feel that it can influence how the judge approaches sentencing somebody you know. In between the rendering of a verdict and sentencing is the best time to write, as the feeling is it is much more difficult to influence a verdict. Also, you may inadvertently provide information that adversely affects the verdict if a letter is sent prior to a verdict being reached. Knowing how to write a letter to a judge consists of the letter format and letter content. Essentially the letter you write will follow a standard business letter format. Before writing a letter to a judge as well as writing a letter of complaint, sample letters can be reviewed to see the proper structure.
What to include in your letter to a judge
The content of your letter and how you present it is the most important part of the letter but getting the mechanics right never hurts. The following is a brief outline of the type of content to include and how to present it:
- Salutation – Dear Judge Doe
- RE ( Defendants name )
- First paragraph – Introduce yourself and state your profession. Highlight your credentials when possible. Include your relationship to the defendant, the length of time you have known them and the positive aspects of your relationship.
- Second paragraph – Make a general statement of support. If the defendant has admitted their wrongdoing to you include this as well. Let the judge know if you will be able to offer any kind of help to the defendant, such as a place to stay after all legal troubles are taken care of.
- Third paragraph – Write a statement on the defendant’s character. Draw attention to positive character traits such as courage and honesty. Include personal experiences and examples of how the defendant has displayed the positive traits you have highlighted. Include any other information you feel might be helpful.
- Conclusion – Finish your letter by with an explanation to the judge that the defendant understands the wrong they have done and feels remorse for their actions. Remark on how the defendant wants to learn from this experience. Conclude with a request for leniency any why society wouldn’t benefit by sending the defendant to prison, and how innocent parties, such as spouse or children would be adversely affected.
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