A letter sent to a sentencing judge in a criminal case should be addressed using the judge’s full name, title and mailing address. Use a business style to the letter, which means the text of the letter should be aligned evenly with the left margin, according to the Law Dictionary.org.
The body of the letter should clearly state that the writer is asking the judge to exercise discretion in the sentencing of the criminal defendant, states Avvo. Detail for the judge the positive aspects of the defendant’s character, life and any accomplishments the defendant has achieved and contributions he has made to the community. The letter should be signed with the writer’s full name and contact information. The letter should tell the judge the relationship of the writer to the defendant. The writer should also give the judge a little bit of information about himself, including employment, connection to the community and anything else that would be relevant to establishing the writer’s credibility to the court.
If the defendant has accepted responsibility for his actions, that should also be highlighted in the letter, reports Avvo. The letter should attempt to persuade the court that a long term of incarceration would be counterproductive, and society would be better served with a shorter term of incarceration, probation or electronic monitoring, according to the American Bar Association.
Letters of support have been shown to make an impact in some cases, and courts do consider these letters when contemplating sentencing, says the American Bar Association.