Originally Published February 4th, 2020
If you’re a defendant in a trial, writing a letter to a judge might help you to have a lighter sentence. However, you should know that communicating with a judge outside the court is not allowed.
There are instances that your lawyer might allow you to write a letter to a judge. But, it’s best to talk to your lawyer first to know if there’s a chance that a letter will help your case.
If your lawyer permits you to do so, then here are some tips on what you should say when writing a letter to a judge.
When writing a letter to a judge, you should write in a business format. Use formal fonts and formal words. Remember that you are talking to a professional, not to a friend.
ADDRESS THE JUDGE BY HER CORRECT NAME
You should begin your letter by addressing the correct name of the judge. Not putting the appropriate name of the judge might show rudeness. You might also seem that you’re not sincere because you did not even put an effort to know the name of the judge.
ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY AND SHOW REGRET
Your primary purpose when writing a letter to the judge is to ask a lighter sentence. So, it’s best to admit that what you did was wrong and show remorse and regret about it.
For instance, you can write that you are guilty and not proud of what you’ve done to the victim.
Your letter should also show that you are sincere and truthful. In this way, there’s a big chance that the judge will be swayed with your words and be more lenient with you.
STATE THE PURPOSE OF WHY YOU ARE WRITING
The judge should know why you are writing a letter in the first place. Do you want a lighter sentence? Do you want a lesser fine? You should include it in your letter.
For example, you can write that your family depends on you. Lengthier jail time will affect them emotionally and financially. It can also result in job loss and loss of income. All these can affect you, your family, and everyone around you.
INCLUDE OTHER ARRESTS OR CRIMES
It’s to your advantage if this is your first offense. However, if you have previous convictions, you should convince the judge that you’ve already overcome the issue, and you’re no longer a risk in re-offending.
STATE EXAMPLE OF YOUR GOOD DEEDS
Another thing that you can include in your letter is an example of your previous good deeds. If you’re a member of an organization or do charity works, then you can let the judge know through your letter.
This can help the judge have an impression of how capable you are in living as a good person.
THANK THE JUDGE
Lastly, it would help if you thanked the judge for taking the time to read your letter. You can also include that you’re hoping for lenient sentencing and then sign the letter with your name.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Franchette Agatha Jardin believes that everyone has the capacity to help those who are in need. She writes blogs about issues and news surrounding those in prison in the hopes of restoring a little extra faith in humanity.