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Character Reference Letter to a Judge

Character Reference Letter to a Judge

A character reference letter written to the judge can be one of the most important pieces of evidence presented in matters of the court. We help you draft such a letter.
Penlighten Staff
A character reference letter can occasionally be one of the most crucial documents presented in favor of a defendant. It helps emphasize those qualities of the accused that the defendant's lawyer is trying to showcase in court. The letter need not be from a person who is 'important' per se but it needs to be from someone who is a good character witness and has something positive to say about the defendant. It is also helpful if the letter is written by someone who has known the defendant for some time. The letter that is written is extremely important as it can sometimes shift the entire balance and change a verdict completely.

Dos
Speak to the defendant's lawyer before writing the letter.
Always type out the letter.
Print the letter on an official letterhead (if possible).
Include your professional details (designation).
Mention how long you have known the person.
Indicate that you are aware of the charges against the person.

Don'ts
× Do not make a suggestion about the penalty that should be given.
× Do not lie about any statements that you make. It is a criminal offense to mislead the court.
× Avoid making any judgment about either the law in place or the plaintiff.
× Do not make sweeping statements about the nature in which the court should behave.

Format for Character Reference Letter

Addressor's Name
Address

Date: (MM/DD/YYYY)

Sub: Character reference for (name of defendant)

Salutation: The Honorable Judge/The Presiding Magistrate

Introduction
Mention who you are, whom you are writing the letter for, and the period for which you have known the person.

Second Paragraph
Write why you think the person who is being tried should be pardoned. Give examples of his good character and positive traits. Justify them with personal experiences and incidents that highlight his good nature.

Third Paragraph
Assure the court once again of the sound values and character of the person.

Give your contact details so that you can be reached in case it is needed.

Thanking you.

Your Signature
Your Name
Your Occupation
Your Address
Your Contact Details

Sample Character Letter to Judge

Paul Underwood
Manager, Finance
Rutherford Associates
431, Flamingo Road,
Pembroke Pines, FL - 23089
Phone No: 454-545-3296

Feb 12, 2013

Re: Character reference for Kenneth Jones

The Honorable Judge

This letter is being written by the undersigned on behalf of Kenneth Jones who is being tried for larceny charges. Having known for Kenneth for almost fifteen years now, I was taken aback when I heard of the charges filed against him. We first met when we were in school and this entire incident seems extremely out of character for someone as upright as Kenneth.

We first met when Kenneth was assigned to be my tutor in school. Not only did he help me with my studies and ensure that I did not lag behind in my school work, he also became my pillar of strength in one of my most personally distressing periods. I have seen him, over the years, help several people in his spare time. He has always had a keen interest in doing something for the society and giving back. From when we were teenagers, he has volunteered with community outreach programs. He also got his friends and family interested in these programs.

I am aware that Kenneth is being tried because he has supposedly broken the law but I believe that if true, it could only be due to bad influence. I strongly feel that if that is the case it would better serve the community and Kenneth that he be not sent to prison. Sentencing him to a term in prison would only cause the society to lose a citizen who could be a valuable asset.

He is a good person who deserves a chance. Convicting him and sending him to prison would only expose him to further bad influences. I humbly ask you to please give him an opportunity to set his life back on track and not let a bad decision alter his life's direction.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me on 454-545-3296.

Thanking you,

Yours sincerely
P.Underwood
(Signature)
Manager, Finance
Rutherford Associates
431, Flamingo Road,
Pembroke Pines, FL - 23089
Phone No: 454-545-3296

Avoid any exaggerated claims in a character reference letter written to a judge. Ensure that the language you use is appropriate and not too casual. Write the letter genuinely and truthfully.