To write a letter to a judge before a loved one's sentencing, begin the letter with an introduction that includes information explaining the relationship to the person being sentenced, says attorney James Stanton Abrenio. Continue with a personal background, including employment, city of residence and any community service participation.
After the introduction, start a paragraph that emphasizes positive and unique qualities about the person being sentenced, states Abrenio. Some important things to highlight are academic or professional achievement, participation in volunteer or community service groups, any ongoing support he is giving to immediate family or his regular church ministry involvement. When the person has taken accountability for what has happened, mention that as well as any actions he may have taken to show remorse and make reparations.
Keep the request for leniency reasonable and concise, says Abrenio. If he is facing a sentence of several years, don't ask for a severely reduced sentence. The true purpose of the letter is to humanize your loved one, so the judge considers leniency. Keep the letter to one or two pages, and ask the attorney overseeing your loved one's case if it should be handwritten or typed, as some feel a legible, handwritten letter is more compelling.