How to Write Letter

How to Write a Character Letter to a Judge

When a person is convicted of crime, the court begins to consider an appropriate sentence, which is justifiable to the victim and punishable to the defendant. Before giving the final verdict, the Judge critiques the severity of the crime, the impact on the victim and the past behavior of the defendant. If the crime has been committed for the first time, the defendant's friends, or family members write a character letter to the judge, defending the person's case.

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You may be thinking that writing a character letter to a judge is difficult since it carries the weight and can affect the life of someone you personally know. Actually, it is similar to writing any other character letter. The only difference is that you needn't have to write about his job skills in this letter. You should focus on the person's personality and explain some of the good qualities of the person, or any volunteer work done for the society.

Let's talk about the instructions on how to write a character letter to a judge.

  • Keep the format of the letter formal. Better to type the letter than to submit hand-written one. If you are on a good position working for some company, you can write it on company's letterhead, provided the defendant is an employee. If you are a friend or relative, write it on plain white paper. Provide your contact information correctly on the top left-hand side of the letter.
  • The letter should be addressed to the judge. Give the reference of the case name and number on the letter. You can get the information by calling the court clerk or court administrator in which the case has been heard.
  • Give sufficient information to the judge about your knowledge of the defendant's character. Tell about yourself briefly and precisely. Explain how and since when you know the defendant and in what capacity. Write the content properly on the letter so that it is easy to read and pleasant to see. Use each paragraph for a separate idea.
  • Don't provide any vague information about the defendant. Be specific and give some example about his good character. If he volunteers for the poor with some fund-raising campaign or offered free computer coaching to the elderly, write it in your letter. This will show the judge that he can be kind and committed towards sharing his contribution to the society.
  • Tell about your feelings on learning about the defendant's charge. Write some instances of how the defendant helped you and how you think he is a good person.
  • Don't request any particular sentence to the judge. This might annoy the judge and may affect the sentence. Instead, you can write about the problem the defendant has to face from the sentence. If the defendant is a single parent, then tell the judge how it would be difficult to raise the child alone.
  • Close the letter with "Sincerely" or "Yours truly". Leave some blank spaces and sign it.
    • Check the letter for spelling and grammar mistakes. Share the letter with the defendant's lawyer and make the changes as per the lawyer's suggestion.
    • Mail the letter to the judge before the sentencing hearing to enable the judge to review it.
These are the instructions to follow when writing a character letter to a judge. Remember not to criticize the law or police or too informal with the tone of your letter. Just provide the facts about the person's character.

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