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LegalEagle, Criminal Defense Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  12+ years experience, top 1% of law school class, managing partner of law firm
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I need a sample letter of asking a judge for leniency when

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I need a sample letter of asking a judge for leniency when he is sentencing my son for a Violation of Probation. He has just finished serving six months in another county for the same violation and I want the judge to be lenient. He can sentence him to time served in the other county or another 5 years. I want to word it so I do not offend the judge but I want him to know that this was the first time my son went to jail for all his wrongdoings (he was a heroin addict at the time of the crimes) He violated his probation by shoplifting and having drugs on him. Thanks for you help.

Dear Judge ?:

I am writing you on behalf of my son, insert son's name. While I realize that my letter will at least in part be given slightly less persuasive weight because of the fact that I am naturally biased in favor of my son, I also hope I can provide you with a more complete picture of my son as you contemplate his disposition in your court. I have learned from so many people that you are truly are a judge who attempts to fashion each of your rulings in order to ensure that justice is served and I feel blessed for me and my family that you will be the one deciding my son's immediate future.

As you are aware, my son is presently scheduled to be in your court on {insert date} for sentencing based on his violation of the terms of his probation from this Court. As you are also aware, the violation of probation was the result of my son's recent conviction in {insert other county} for shoplifting and possession of drugs. My son was sentenced in the other court and served a period of six months. We have been praying that the drugs that had controlled my son's life this last {insert time period} would lose their control over him and we are so pleased to report that he is clean and drug free. Even more exciting for our family is the fact that he has developed the knowledge and tools to stay clean in the future. We have learned that sentencing and probation contain both components of retribution for society in the form of punishment but also the hope of rehabilitation for the defendant. We have been blessed that the most recent troubles and period of incarceration have truly allowed the "fog" to lift from my son and he finally understands what it will take to be a productive member of society.

While I wouldn't attempt to argue that my son's most recent charges somehow constitute anything other than a violation of the probation imposed by this Court, I would also encourage you to consider my son's lack of any prior criminal activity and the pronounced improvement we have seen in our son of late. Our law-abiding son who wants to be a positive influence on his community has returned, the drug-using criminal was left behind in the {insert other county} jail. Again, we thank you so much for your court's involvement in our son's life and in returning to us the son we knew before his drug use. We would only ask now that you strongly consider either allowing the time he served in the {insert other county} jail to satisfy the time owing for the violation of probation in your court, or alternatively, a minimal period of additional incarceration. We simply don't want to lose the incredibly positive changes that he has experienced in these last few months. Although he has been a technical probation failure, we would ask you to look at the overall impact the system has made on our son and that in some way, the goals of rehabilitation were actually met during a period of failure. Perhaps that doesn't make sense to you, but we just want to have to opportunity for our son to continue the positive progress he has made. I can assure you that his entire family is committed to his continued positive impact on the community and would be the first to "turn him in" if he were to ever return to a life of drugs.

I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my letter to you. We remain 100% confident that your ruling will be the correct and just ruling and thank you for your commitment to our community through your impeccable service as a judge. We ask only that you consider all of the progress {insert name} has made during this troubled time and give due consideration to the progress and rehabilitation that has occurred. Again, thank you so much for your time.


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