Welcome to the Prison Talk Online Community! Take a Minute and Sign Up Today!

Go Back   Prison Talk > U.S. REGIONAL FORUMS > CALIFORNIA > California General Prison Talk
Register Entertainment FAQ Calendar Mark Forums Read

California General Prison Talk Topics & Discussions relating to Prison & the Criminal Justice System in California that do not fit into any other California subforum.

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-25-2007, 12:16 AM
sheeeela's Avatar
sheeeela sheeeela is offline
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bay Area, California
Posts: 104
Thanks: 0
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
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?
- sheeeeela

Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Old 06-25-2007, 12:47 AM
madather's Avatar
madather madather is offline
Praying for Truth

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: CA USA
Posts: 317
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

My friend had more than 25 character references and it made no difference at all. :-(

"Plea bargaining is a way of trading the risk of 20 years to life, for the certainty of five to seven. But by creating this choice, American justice virtually guarantees that innocent people are being punished."

Reply With Quote
Old 06-25-2007, 10:20 AM
Morris1's Avatar
Morris1 Morris1 is offline
Registered User
Donation Award 

Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Lake Elsinore, CA
Posts: 6,064
Thanks: 1,007
Thanked 1,999 Times in 801 Posts

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.
Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2007, 12:03 PM
Gryphon Gryphon is offline
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: CA Sacramento
Posts: 6,103
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2,162 Times in 1,469 Posts

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.)

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?
Reply With Quote
Old 06-26-2007, 05:26 PM
amanda74 amanda74 is offline
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: california
Posts: 58
Thanks: 0
Thanked 2 Times in 2 Posts

Our letters did nothing for my husband.
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Example Letters to the Parole Board ATW Ohio Parole, Probation, Work Release, Halfway Houses & Community Service 7 10-30-2010 06:58 AM
Question about character letters sadmomsgirl Federal General Prison Talk, Introductions & Chit Chat 14 11-17-2006 09:14 AM
What If There Arent Alot Or Very Many "support" Letters To Be Sent To The Board??? BuTTaFLyy South Carolina Parole, Probation & Release 0 08-26-2006 05:32 PM
What effect does character letters have at sentencing? Mike-lostsoul Headed to Prison 4 10-09-2005 11:33 AM
Character Reference Letters Grace1 Texas Parole, Probation, Work Release & Community Service 0 07-09-2004 01:00 PM

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:11 AM.
Copyright © 2001- 2017 Prison Talk Online
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Website Design & Custom vBulletin Skins by: Relivo Media
Message Board Statistics