View Full Version : Writing an effective character witness letter...any tips?


MJG'S_B
08-29-2007, 12:59 AM
I need some help and advice on how to write a character witness letter for my bf. He's asking me to get this written. However, I've NEVER had to do this for anyone before in my life. And I don't want to say anything wrong nor do I want to drone on and on about how much I love him either.

I am not sure if this was the right thread to post this or not. So if I made a mistake could someone point me to the right direction? Or even if you know of other posts on PTO that could help me.

Any and all advice on how to accomplish my task at hand would be greatly appreciated! Also if more information is needed to anyone to help give me a hand in this letter, I will be willing to give it. Again, I'm not sure exactly what is needed to write this.

Have a good day
B
:)

meganlea
08-29-2007, 06:20 AM
When I wrote one it was kind of like a letter of recommendation for a job. Write it up and post it here and we'll give you thoughts after that.

MJG'S_B
08-29-2007, 09:13 AM
Ok...I'll work on it over the next few days and when I have something put together I'll post what I can on here!..Thanks

Jus' Mom
08-30-2007, 03:45 AM
I found this site that has this free sample letter for court character witness letters. Maybe it can help give you a start. Good Luck! Teri

http://www.businessballs.com/referencesletterssamples.htm

character reference letters for court appearances

Here's an example of the sort of letter you can write if asked to provide a character reference for someone you know who is to appear in court on a criminal charge. First ensure that you are personally comfortable with the responsibility of providing the character reference and potentially being called to appear in court as a character witness (the accused legal team should normally advise you on how best you can help - if in doubt ask). When using the sample letter below you can substitute the relevant character aspects of the accused that you wish to endorse or support, and which should logically relate to, and counter, the type of behaviour alleged in the court charge. If the charge relates to violence you should try to endorse and describe peace-loving attributes; if the charge relates to dishonesty, obviously try to endorse and describe honesty attributes. Integrity endorsements are obviously helpful for any situation because they hopefully support the validity of the accused person's own statements in court.
N.B. It is important to bear in mind that whatever you write you should be comfortable and capable of reliably repeating, and potentially providing examples, if required, under oath in court. Both the prosecution and defence sides have the right to force witnesses of all sorts to appear personally in court, and while most written statements and letters do not lead to a requirement to appear in person, the possibility of the need arising always exists.

sample character reference letter (written by the character witness)

Obviously, change gender as applicable.

(date)
To whom it may concern (or Your Honour, or as advised by legal team)
Person's Full Name (heading)
I have known (name) for (number) years as (state relationship - business associate, staff member, socially, etc).
I can confirm that he is a man of great integrity, is extremely dedicated to his family and work, and is entirely peace-loving. (substitute character descriptions as applicable).
Furthermore, (add further character descriptions and/or examples of the person's behaviour and/or history supporting the above testimonial.)
For your information, I am (personal statement building your own credibility - details of position held and any other details that help build your own credibility, particularly any experience in judging the characteristics or behaviour referenced above).
Yours faithfully

Name
Position (if applicable)
----------------------
I liked how this site explains character witness:
http://everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1491645


A character witness is a witness in a hearing or trial who vouches for the defendant's character. They usually don't have anything substantial to say about the facts of the case - merely that their friend couldn't possibly have done it, because they are an upstanding citizen too busy saving kittens from trees and feeding the homeless to possibly have embezzled thousands of dollars or garroted their boss. I served as a character witness once for a friend who was on trial for stealing a car. I told them about the time he had helped my mother pay the rent, and how I didn't see him as the type of person who would ever do something risky like stealing a car. I conveniently left out the time we had pulled a minor insurance fraud (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=insurance%20fraud) scam by both vouching that his foot "injury (http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=injury)" had been caused on the job, and not horsing around (the truth). He was acquitted, of course; I don't know if he actually stole the car.

Don Quixote
09-03-2007, 04:15 PM
The judge isn't going to pay much attention to a girlfriend's endorsement of a defendant (unless it is a domestic violence case, and the gf describes what they are both doing to fix the problem).

If I were you, I'd ask his pastor (even the one he had growing up), former bosses (or a current boss if there is one), a work colleague, a former school teacher if it wasn't too long ago, the person who cared for his kids if he picked them up regularly from her, or similar.

Pantasia
09-05-2007, 12:48 PM
Do you think the amount of character witnesses is important?

MJG'S_B
09-05-2007, 12:57 PM
Whether or not a judge will take consideration of any letters or words that I might utter on my BF's behalf, I am still going to write and speak them. Only because he and his attorney's has asked EVERYONE he has known to write such a letter.
Yes, we are asking, pastors, teachers, bosses, and many other people from his community that he has known to write letters. I wasn't asking if my letter would be taken into consideration, I was asking for some tips on how to prepare and write one, since I have never done so in the past. But thank you for making my attempt feel meaningless as I try to do all I can to support and stand by my loved one.

Thank you, Jus'Mom, for posting that website on the letters, I will continue to research this as I begin writing my letter. I appreciate the time you put into helping me. I will definitely use these sites to help compose my letter!! :)

B

Pantasia
09-07-2007, 01:55 PM
If you are talking about me .. I never meant it to make you feel that way I was asking because we did not have alot of them for my son's sentencing and he is in the process of appeal and he is preparing I think it is called mitigation in case the appeal does not go thru. I am sorry if I made you feel this way.

MJG'S_B
09-07-2007, 07:11 PM
In no way Pantasia was my last comment directed at you! I AM sorry that you thought it was.
I was referring to the post by Don. He made it sound like I was just wasting my time on this since a judge won't put much consideration into the ramblings of a "girlfriend". But either way, I am going to write it.
So you had to write some for your son?..Any advice you can give me of what you learned on doing these would be GREAT!

B

Pantasia
09-09-2007, 02:38 PM
I wish that I had some advice on that one it looks like the link Jus Mom left above is a great way to start. We had no idea when it was going on with my son there is so much I wish I would have said when I was in front of the judge but the PD had warned me not to try the case again.. I wish I would have said you know he does not belong in prison for defending himself by all of your instructions you outlined it was self defense.. but no I did what the PD told me to do thinking I would jeorpardize his sentence.. I mean I was naive enough to think the judge may overturn the jury... to be honest I wonder sometimes if there had not been the media coverage and the federal funding if he would have? Any way I wish you luck with your bf like I said that link looks really good. I will use it to try and get letters for my son .. he is working on mitigation in case his appeal is not approved.