When writing a letter to a judge before sentencing, the letter should be written as a business letter in professional form and should highlight the legitimate reasons why the defendant should not go to jail. A letter to a judge should include the judge's full name, title and address, along with the defendants return address, and everything should line up to the left margin.
A letter to a judge can be a helpful tool in presenting an individual's character and the support the person has in order to rehabilitate. When a defendant writes a letter to the judge, that person should sincerely accept responsibility and express regret for what he or she did wrong. The individual may also explain what good deeds were accomplished since the original crime was committed.
Other people close to the defendant may write letters of character to the judge. This may include the defendant's boss, family and close friends. A character letter should tell who is writing the letter and the relationship to the defendant. The letter should also detail why the sentence should be reduced.
While writing a letter before sentencing can be an excellent idea, it's best to have an experienced attorney look over the letters before they are given to the judge in order to avoid saying something that could be damaging to the case.