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  #1  
Old 09-12-2003, 02:55 PM
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Lightbulb Writing a Judge

I am actually in the process of doing this at the moment. Our attorney told me that it is better to actually attend the sentencing hearing in person and testify (rather than send a letter). I have been sending this sample letter (I found this online) to friends and relatives, maybe it will be useful to you:

Re: Letters to the Judge in connection with XXX's sentencing
As you know, XXX will be facing sentencing before Judge XXX. The sentencing is currently scheduled for XXX, 2003.
Some of you may be thinking of writing a supportive letter about XXX to the Judge in an effort to help him receive the lightest possible sentence. The purpose of this memorandum is to advise you of the proper manner of doing this in terms of when and where to send the letters, proper manner of addressing the Judge, and some do's and don't's about content.

The letter (but not the envelope) should be addressed to Honorable XXX. The proper manner of addressing the Judge is "Your Honor" or "Dear Judge XXX ". The letter should refer to XXX by name in the first sentence. The letter should also contain your return address and the date. It should be hand-signed. Generally the letter should be between one and two pages long.

As to content of the letter, we want to be able to show the Judge the many positive aspects of XXX 's character and background. Attached to this Memorandum is a brief outline that you can use to help you with your letter. Of course, it is important that you write your own letter in your own words. You should identify in the letter how you know XXX and for how long. It might be good to include, from personal experience, a specific and heartwarming example of XXX 's generous, kind, and/or loving character. A more general letter about a lengthy and positive relationship in which XXX has been a trustworthy and caring friend or family member is also helpful.

In contrast, it would not be useful to declare that XXX is or must be innocent or to express resentment as to his treatment by the government or the Judge; there is always a risk that such sentiments will be attributed to him and be held against him.

So as you can see, the focus should be on XXX as a person, and not on any feelings as to his guilt or innocence, about whether someone else is really to blame for what has happened to him, or about the criminal justice system in general.

Very important: Please make sure that you DO NOT MAIL YOUR LETTER DIRECTLY TO THE JUDGE -- MAIL IT TO ATTORNEYS OFFICE: Details here…

This is critical because, although you of course will include in your letter only what you consider to be information that will be helpful to XXX at sentencing, there is always a possibility that someone may unintentionally include something that could actually be harmful. We went to make sure that we only submit potentially helpful material. In addition, we will want to submit all the letters to the Judge at one time in an organized way. It is also very important that I receive your letters no later than two weeks prior to sentencing so that they are reviewed and any changes can be suggested if necessary, and they are organized as part of a cohesive sentencing package for XXX that can be submitted to the Judge in advance of sentencing date.

Thank you all in advance for your help and support to XXX at this important time.

GUIDE TO WRITING LETTER OF SUPPORT TO SENTENCING JUDGE.

Honorable XXX
Date

Re: XXX

I.
Relationship:
a. In what capacity do you know XXX ? (i.e. relative, friend, spouse)
b. How long have you known him?
c. Feelings for XXX (Important to show love, friendship, respect)

II.
General statement of support:
a. Do you understand the trouble XXX is in?
b. Have you talked with him about his trouble?
c. Are you able to help him in any way? (Place to live, job, other support)

III.
Statement on character:
a. What good things can you say about XXX
b. Mention character traits (honesty, courage, love, etc. and examples)
c. Offer any personal experiences or insights that may help the Judge understand XXX 's true character.

IV.
Conclusion:
Tell the Judge that you do not think society would benefit from sending XXX to jail and that a prison sentence would be detrimental to all concerned. It is important to explain why you think this. Ask for leniency, beg for mercy, etc.

Respectfully yours,
Your Name
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  #2  
Old 09-12-2003, 05:57 PM
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great examples! I will move this to the legal forum
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Old 06-26-2004, 04:33 PM
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Thank you SOOOOOO much!!!, I had been looking for something exactly like that. I am working on my letter this week.
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Old 06-26-2004, 04:55 PM
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If you use Honorable John Smith, it should be written as "The Honorable John Smith" and you are correct about addressing the judge in your letter as Dear Judge Smith, but I prefer the more formal and respectful...Your Honor.
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Old 07-26-2010, 02:06 PM
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My son has pleaded guilty to 11 felony charges.He is 19 .I need help with a Leniency letter. Please help me.
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Old 07-26-2010, 07:55 PM
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The other things to consider:
1. use formal language. Don't use abbreviations, slang, acronyms. This is a formal letter of support to somebody who is more than likely decades older than you. You cannot assume that s/he will understand what you routinely use in texts, memos, notes, or other forms of communication. Even attorneys are taught to never use contractions in their writing.

2. Have somebody you trust read over your letter. Sometimes, what's clear to you is not clear to a reader. Having somebody else read your letter before you send it can help you clear up something that might not read well.

3. Save a copy for yourself. Just in case something gets lost, you'll have a replacement.

4. if your contact is more with the family than with the defendant, please note that. Note that you have known the family for however many years and the role the family has played in your life or that of the community.

5. Do not use scent/perfume or any similar affectation on the paper. Use standard sized paper if at all possible. It is easier for a letter written on standard sized paper to become part of and remain with his file. Cards, "legal" sized paper and the like are much easier to lose.

The judges do read these, both the letters supporting the Defendant and the letters against the Defendant. Do not underestimate the impact of these letters.
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Old 08-24-2010, 07:43 PM
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Default Leniency Letter

Thank you ever so much for the outline. Pray for us














Re: Letters to the Judge in connection with XXX's sentencing
As you know, XXX will be facing sentencing before Judge XXX. The sentencing is currently scheduled for XXX, 2003.
Some of you may be thinking of writing a supportive letter about XXX to the Judge in an effort to help him receive the lightest possible sentence. The purpose of this memorandum is to advise you of the proper manner of doing this in terms of when and where to send the letters, proper manner of addressing the Judge, and some do's and don't's about content.

The letter (but not the envelope) should be addressed to Honorable XXX. The proper manner of addressing the Judge is "Your Honor" or "Dear Judge XXX ". The letter should refer to XXX by name in the first sentence. The letter should also contain your return address and the date. It should be hand-signed. Generally the letter should be between one and two pages long.

As to content of the letter, we want to be able to show the Judge the many positive aspects of XXX 's character and background. Attached to this Memorandum is a brief outline that you can use to help you with your letter. Of course, it is important that you write your own letter in your own words. You should identify in the letter how you know XXX and for how long. It might be good to include, from personal experience, a specific and heartwarming example of XXX 's generous, kind, and/or loving character. A more general letter about a lengthy and positive relationship in which XXX has been a trustworthy and caring friend or family member is also helpful.

In contrast, it would not be useful to declare that XXX is or must be innocent or to express resentment as to his treatment by the government or the Judge; there is always a risk that such sentiments will be attributed to him and be held against him.

So as you can see, the focus should be on XXX as a person, and not on any feelings as to his guilt or innocence, about whether someone else is really to blame for what has happened to him, or about the criminal justice system in general.

Very important: Please make sure that you DO NOT MAIL YOUR LETTER DIRECTLY TO THE JUDGE -- MAIL IT TO ATTORNEYS OFFICE: Details here…

This is critical because, although you of course will include in your letter only what you consider to be information that will be helpful to XXX at sentencing, there is always a possibility that someone may unintentionally include something that could actually be harmful. We went to make sure that we only submit potentially helpful material. In addition, we will want to submit all the letters to the Judge at one time in an organized way. It is also very important that I receive your letters no later than two weeks prior to sentencing so that they are reviewed and any changes can be suggested if necessary, and they are organized as part of a cohesive sentencing package for XXX that can be submitted to the Judge in advance of sentencing date.

Thank you all in advance for your help and support to XXX at this important time.

GUIDE TO WRITING LETTER OF SUPPORT TO SENTENCING JUDGE.

Honorable XXX
Date

Re: XXX

I.
Relationship:
a. In what capacity do you know XXX ? (i.e. relative, friend, spouse)
b. How long have you known him?
c. Feelings for XXX (Important to show love, friendship, respect)

II.
General statement of support:
a. Do you understand the trouble XXX is in?
b. Have you talked with him about his trouble?
c. Are you able to help him in any way? (Place to live, job, other support)

III.
Statement on character:
a. What good things can you say about XXX
b. Mention character traits (honesty, courage, love, etc. and examples)
c. Offer any personal experiences or insights that may help the Judge understand XXX 's true character.

IV.
Conclusion:
Tell the Judge that you do not think society would benefit from sending XXX to jail and that a prison sentence would be detrimental to all concerned. It is important to explain why you think this. Ask for leniency, beg for mercy, etc.

Respectfully yours,
Your Name[/quote]
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