Letters to judges should be written in the style of business correspondence, should possess a clear purpose and follow a simple set of formatting guidelines including left-justification, style of address and other matters of etiquette. These letters can be written by plaintiffs or defendants for a variety of reasons specific to their circumstances.
It is important to present the letter in a professional and well-proofread context.
- How to address the judge
- Construct a point
- Proofing and editing
The format of address should be "The Honorable Judge First Name Last Name" and then, on the next line "Judge of Name of the Court" followed on the next line by the mailing address. This grounds the letter firmly in the professional realm and shows that the writer is serious with their entreaty.
The body of the letter should immediately make the writer's point. If they wish to plead for leniency or push for a harsh sentence, it should be explicitly spelled out. The entire letter must be left-justified and single-spaced with a space between paragraphs.
The final step is to proof and edit the letter. A spellchecker and grammar checker should be used, but human observation can't be imitated and a final edit should be done by eye.