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Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  30 years legal experience
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I need a sample character letter to judge asking for

Resolved Question:

I need a sample letter of asking a judge for leniency when he is sentencing a former student for criminal charges. I serve on the local school board and have know this former student for many years. I know her to be of good character and the crime committed is the first and is out of character for this person. She is the mother of two children and have always supported not only her children but others children in the class as well.

Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 8 years ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm sorry to hear of your friend's dilemma.

Before you go to the trouble of writing a letter to the judge, which might not even be read before sentencing, you should contact the former student's attorney and determine whether it is even appropriate. In many courts such letters are ignored.

In other jurisdictions, and depending on the judge, you may be allowed to speak in court on behalf of the defendant before sentence is passed. When you appear in court to support the defendant your words are more likely to have a beneficial effect. Given your position in the community as a school board member, your words may carry significant weight if given in person.

I wish you well.

Best regards

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The lawyer has asked for the letter. Could you assist with a sample letter
Expert:  LawTalk replied 8 years ago.

Good afternoon,

Here is a basic format you might use:

The Honorable Judge John Doe

Judge of The Superior Court

County of Chatham

State of Georgia

Dear Judge Doe:

I am writing this letter on behalf of a former student of mine who is presently before you on criminal charges and is due to be sentenced shortly. I am James Wright and I am a member of the school board in Chatham County, Georgia. I have known Susan both personally and professionally for a period of 20 years.

Susan has a productive future ahead of her. (Describe here her accomplishments of the past, especially civic duties, volunteer positions. Explain why you believe that it would be in the best interest of both Susan, as well as the community she resides in as well, that she be granted probation or a reduced sentence.) I believe that both society, as well as Susan, would be better served by the imposition of a period of probation, along with court ordered service to her community; this will better assist her in becoming a more responsible, productive citizen than would any extended period of incarceration.

I was shocked and disappointed in her behavior as she has always been a good, law abiding person. This incident is very unlike Susan's character as I have known it for years.

Judge Doe, I am respectfully seeking the mercy of this Court when Susan is sentenced. I pray that you will give heartfelt consideration in making that decision and that you will take into consideration all of the good that Susan has accomplished in her life; as well as all that she can give back to society if given a second chance.

Thank you in advance for your time and for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted,


I trust that this format will be of assistance to you. Feel free to add any fact that might be persuasive in obtaining leniency for your friend.

I wish you the best.

Best regards

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