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Old 06-25-2007, 12:16 AM
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sheeeela sheeeela is offline
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Default Character Reference Letters..

Do they really make a difference on the judge's decision when sentencing? Does anyone know? Or does the judge usually side with the DA?
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Old 06-25-2007, 12:47 AM
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My friend had more than 25 character references and it made no difference at all. :-(
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Old 06-25-2007, 10:20 AM
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In California they side with the DA. If he is going for a plea deal the DA usually gets what he wants. If it is a trial the character letters may have more of an impact.
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:03 PM
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Evidence of good character is infrequently introduced at trial. Doing so opens the door to otherwise inadmissable evidence of bad character (now admitted to rebut teh "good character"). Not many defendants have a skeleton free closet, so it's a huge risk to take.

Letters are most useful when a Judge is on the fence. They can at times make all the difference. Of course, at other times there's no letter that could possibly change a sentence outcome.

Judges don't go out of their way to piss off prosecutors. That'd be a poor politicial decision. On the other hand, they don't like being treated like puppets, and fancy themselves to have a finely honed sense of justice. Most judges were prosecutors, few were defense lawyers, most are very conservative, all were supported by law enforcement and had to be deemed "tough on crime". Therefore, most judges strongly resemble DAs in many ways. Still, I win far more sentencing arguments than I loose. A lot of that has to do with knowing your audience and being percieved as the most reasonable and moral person in the room. To get the benefit of that perception, you really have to be to be that way. When it comes to being persuasive at sentencing, BS gets you nowhere. It's also important to not "oversell" (and make a pitch for local time in an obvious State Prison case.; because then you are percieved as not reasonable. If you are going to lose the argument regarding local time, it's better to argue for a low term in prison or to find some other "middle turf". Once credibility is percieved as "blown", no one listens at all.)

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Originally Posted by sheeeela
Do they really make a difference on the judge's decision when sentencing? Does anyone know? Or does the judge usually side with the DA?
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Old 06-26-2007, 05:26 PM
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Our letters did nothing for my husband.
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