View Full Version : Templates for Character letters


jasonzwifey2011
05-08-2008, 12:17 PM
Hey y'all:

I know this has probably been posted somewhere but I couldn't find it - does anyone have any character reference letter templates? I found a couple on line but they seemed more like job reference letters than a court reference letter.

Any assistance is mucho appreciated! Thanks in advance,

*~Meri~*

Gryphon
05-08-2008, 03:10 PM
Don't use a template. The letter will sound like teh BS it in fact happens to be. Support/mitigation letters will carry a lot more weight if they are personalized.
"So why, (with specific examples), should the Judge and/or DA stick their neck out for a criminal when their own professional self interest and natural inclination is likely promoted by hammering this guy?" Keep it under 5 pages; don't worry about length itf it is well organized. Use a word processor, spell and grammer chack it, and give it to the defense lawyer to review.

Hey y'all:

I know this has probably been posted somewhere but I couldn't find it - does anyone have any character reference letter templates? I found a couple on line but they seemed more like job reference letters than a court reference letter.

Any assistance is mucho appreciated! Thanks in advance,

*~Meri~*

YourFriendlyDA
05-08-2008, 08:22 PM
Please, Please, Please, TYPE IT! Not only is it more credible but its more likely that it will not have really bad spelling errors. Handwrite the envelope and make sure its addressed to the correct ADA by name - with the case number written on the envelope and on each page of the letter.

5 pages is a lot - and chances are it will just be filed rather than read. While I caution you highly against writing to the DA atleast run it by the defense attorney first. Letter are really likely to cause more trouble than good.

Writing to the judge isnt going to be useful at all. Its improper for the court to even read it outside of court. If you want the court to see the letter give it to the defense attorney and let them properly use it in court.

NO TEMPLATES! Just like there are no 2 cases alike there are no 2 defendants alike. The letter needs to show why he is different than the others and the language will go a long way to that.

jasonzwifey2011
05-09-2008, 06:28 AM
Please, Please, Please, TYPE IT! Not only is it more credible but its more likely that it will not have really bad spelling errors. Handwrite the envelope and make sure its addressed to the correct ADA by name - with the case number written on the envelope and on each page of the letter.

5 pages is a lot - and chances are it will just be filed rather than read. While I caution you highly against writing to the DA atleast run it by the defense attorney first. Letter are really likely to cause more trouble than good.

Writing to the judge isnt going to be useful at all. Its improper for the court to even read it outside of court. If you want the court to see the letter give it to the defense attorney and let them properly use it in court.

NO TEMPLATES! Just like there are no 2 cases alike there are no 2 defendants alike. The letter needs to show why he is different than the others and the language will go a long way to that.

Ok - hey I AM a working professional ;) However, I do understand that not everyone knows that you should type professional correspondence and have it proofed, etc. So for that, I will give you both some leeway. :p

I guess I should have worded my request a little differently - I wasn't really thinking "template" per se, I should have asked what type of info should go into the letter and how much is too much? I wouldn't want to ramble on aimlessly about what a great guy I think he is - of course I would say that - he's my fiance LOL

I also wanted to ask who are the best objectionable (is that word?) people to write letters to present him as a productive member of society and a valuable asset to our family and community? Thanks in advance... :)

YourFriendlyDA
05-09-2008, 10:21 PM
That wasnt a "dig" - some people have the opinion that handwritten things get attention. That is absolutely correct. When I get a big stack of mail the handwritten envelopes are the ones I open first. They're less likely to be motions or something that isnt all that interesting. The problem then becomes whats inside the envelopes - once its opened I'm more likely to read it - so typing makes it more likely that I can understand it.

Finding people to write the letters depends on the stage of the case, the charges/history, and who you are writing to. I cant recall a time in my career where I've gotten a letter from someone on behalf of a defendant and said to myself "hey, if this (minister/teacher/lawyer etc) likes this guy I should drop the case." BUT where the issue is sentencing I have seen many cases where a defense atty will present letters from upstanding members of the community who offer insight and support. The court does pay attention to these inasmuch as it can have an impact. I've had "ministers" (using the term loosely because some of these guys were self proclaimed and didnt have a church) come into court and do more harm than good because it looked like they just found these guys off google.

Its all in the wording and the point that you are trying to get across. Each case will be different. The people that woud write also vary greatly on circumstances. If you have to seek them out, then they probably wont be helpful. These are people that will WANT to write, on their own.

Look at the recent sentencing of wesley snipes... letters didnt do him any good and actually were pretty weird. ;)

My general opinion is dont ever write to the DA but there are cases where it has helped (I had a guy once that had a major underlying psych issue he wouldnt admit. When I got a letter from the mom I convinced the court to order a psych that revealed the disorder and we forced meds... then he admitted the issue and went to treatment. It was a 1 in a million case because of the crime and various other issues). Dont EVER write to the court - they cant read it. And ALWAYS clear everything with the attorney.

jasonzwifey2011
05-12-2008, 07:42 AM
That wasnt a "dig" - some people have the opinion that handwritten things get attention. That is absolutely correct. When I get a big stack of mail the handwritten envelopes are the ones I open first. They're less likely to be motions or something that isnt all that interesting. The problem then becomes whats inside the envelopes - once its opened I'm more likely to read it - so typing makes it more likely that I can understand it.

Finding people to write the letters depends on the stage of the case, the charges/history, and who you are writing to. I cant recall a time in my career where I've gotten a letter from someone on behalf of a defendant and said to myself "hey, if this (minister/teacher/lawyer etc) likes this guy I should drop the case." BUT where the issue is sentencing I have seen many cases where a defense atty will present letters from upstanding members of the community who offer insight and support. The court does pay attention to these inasmuch as it can have an impact. I've had "ministers" (using the term loosely because some of these guys were self proclaimed and didnt have a church) come into court and do more harm than good because it looked like they just found these guys off google.

Its all in the wording and the point that you are trying to get across. Each case will be different. The people that woud write also vary greatly on circumstances. If you have to seek them out, then they probably wont be helpful. These are people that will WANT to write, on their own.

Look at the recent sentencing of wesley snipes... letters didnt do him any good and actually were pretty weird. ;)

My general opinion is dont ever write to the DA but there are cases where it has helped (I had a guy once that had a major underlying psych issue he wouldnt admit. When I got a letter from the mom I convinced the court to order a psych that revealed the disorder and we forced meds... then he admitted the issue and went to treatment. It was a 1 in a million case because of the crime and various other issues). Dont EVER write to the court - they cant read it. And ALWAYS clear everything with the attorney.
Thank you for your great insight. And I totally agree about everything you wrote. He is about to get his pre-trial conference on the 19th of May. I think he is going to take the plea deal and that's why I'm not sure if I should send the letters for the 19th or wait until sentencing - or will they sentence him there if he accepts the plea?

YourFriendlyDA
05-12-2008, 06:59 PM
The timing of sentencing depends on a lot of factors including jurisdictional practices or any other outstanding reports etc. If you have letters prepared give them to the defense attorney well in advance so they can provide copies. Also, you may want to prepare yourself to address the court. If you can, bring members of the family (no children) and community that support him with you.