How To Write Or Solicit A Good Letter Supporting A Defendant At Sentencing April 29, by Ken White This week various political figures took some abuse for writing letters seeking leniency in the sentencing of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who got a month sentence for monetary transactions designed to conceal that he was paying off victims of sexual abuse.
In a character letter, you write to the judge on behalf of one of the parents trying to obtain custody. Character letters also may be referred to as personal reference or personal recommendation letters.
These letters are similar to job recommendation letters but the focus should be on parenting skills. The letter should be straightforward and positive.
It also needs to appear professional and should not have any grammatical or spelling errors. Speak to the lawyer involved in the case. Ask him about any specific details to include in the character letter. Some options to include might be positive examples of interaction between the child and parent, information on the day-to-day welfare of the child and reasons why the parent is the best candidate to have custody of the child.
Format your letter as a business letter. Your address and date should appear in the top left corner.
Open the letter by introducing yourself and how you know the parent and child. Add details in the body.
The next one to two paragraphs will be the body of your letter. This is where you provide specific details related to the parenting skills of the parent and the child you are writing on behalf of. Be careful not to remain positive in the character letter. Don't include negative information about the other parent; the focus should be strictly a letter outlining the positive attributes of the parent you are writing the letter about.
Include information on the relationship between parent and child, the ability of the parent to provide basic necessities such as food and shelter, and the mental and physical health of the parent. Try to not be redundant or start to ramble as a good character letter should provide a strong recommendation in a page or less.
Close your letter with a clear recommendation. Include your contact information if the judge has any further questions. Proofread your letter before you print it. Sign your letter and bring it to the lawyer.As of September , websites for Michael P.
Maddux, P.A., The Law Office of H. Michael Steinberg, and Broden, Mickelsen, Helms & Snipes offer sample character letters to judges. At the Maddux site, the Character Letter page explains the process of writing such letters.
A link connects to the. She's asked me to write a negative character reference to support her bid for custody in family court. She sent me photos of marks on the kids that she states he caused.
Having lived with him for the better part of a year and witnessing his behaviour towards my dog, and his general anger issues, I believe her. The Court simply noted that the trial judge considered this factor, and properly concluded that it was entitled to little or no weight.
State v. Gonzales, Ariz. , P.2d () The record does not indicate evidence of good character that would constitute a mitigating circumstance. My focus is suggesting how to write a letter that furthers the best interests of the defendant and is most likely to move the judge towards a better result.
With that in mind, here are some rules: This letter is not a vehicle for you to express yourself. Character Reference Letter to Judge Bank Reference Letter. Character Reference for Court. On July 10, To, Jane Austen. Chief magistrate.
DO thank the Judge politely for considering the letter. DO NOT tell the Judge exactly what sentence to impose. DO NOT write a letter exceeding one and one half pages. All letters should be addressed to the Judge, but sent to me. I will review all Guidelines for Character Letters at Sentencing Author. Character reference to a judge. Sample letter. Reference letters to government officials. Guide, letter example, grammar checker, + letter samples Start off with a salutation and the name of the person the letter is about. Write a sentence or two explaining how you know the person and for how long. Character reference for court use. Sample Child Custody Reference Letter Writing Tips The letter must be started with an introduction which will state the relationship of the writer with the parent who is seeking for the custody. The writer also mentions the relationship or the bonding of the parent with the child.
City Court. I am writing this letter to refer Owen Stiller who is appearing before your court as has been accused of drunken driving. If you decide to write the letter, make sure you have all the information you need. In particular, make sure you know what the letter is for (whether it is for a particular job, a college application, etc.), how to submit it, and when it is due.