The Honorable Judge, Re: Redetermination of my Custody:
How To Write Or Solicit A Good Letter Supporting A Defendant At Sentencing April 29, by Ken White This week various political figures took some abuse for writing letters seeking leniency in the sentencing of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who got a month sentence for monetary transactions designed to conceal that he was paying off victims of sexual abuse.
I've argued before that if you write a sentencing letter in support of a famous or notorious person, the media will report on it in an insipid and sensational way.
That's inevitable, and media reaction isn't my focus.
My focus is suggesting how to write a letter that furthers the best interests of the defendant and is most likely to move the judge towards a better result. With that in mind, here are some rules: This letter is not a vehicle for you to express yourself.
A letter supporting a defendant is not an opportunity for you to posture, work out issues, or express yourself artistically. It is an opportunity to help the judge see the defendant as a human being. If you cannot stop yourself from making your letter about you instead of about the defendant, or if you find yourself focusing on how the letter makes you sound, please don't write the letter.
Nobody cares what you think about this case or the criminal justice system.
Now is not the time to say that the criminal justice system is unjust or should be spending resources on other things or how far worse criminals get away or how this shouldn't be a crime or this is politically motivated.
Go write that shit on your LiveJournal. It will annoy the judge. For these purposes, the defendant is not innocent.
Most likely the defendant pled guilty. Or maybe he or she was convicted by a jury. Either way, the judge is starting from the premise that the defendant is guilty.
Appeals and habeas corpus motions — or, maybe, attorney arguments about residual doubt — are the place for discussions of innocence. A sentencing letter isn't. If the defendant has done his or her best to accept responsibility and covey their regret and you come in and write "I've talked to him and I know he didn't do it," you are undermining the defense.
Don't bother if you don't know the defendant fairly well. A good sentencing letter isn't like a letter of recommendation that a professor writes about one of the students in a frosh cattle-call course.
It's something you write if you know the person — if you have a connection to them. Letters by mere acquaintances are worthless at best and damaging at worst.Unless he or she left the bench in dishonor, retired judges continue to be in writing on letter or listed in a program The Honorable (Full Name) and continue to be orally addressed and in a salutation as Judge (surname) in every situation.
40 Proof of Employment Letters, Verification Forms, Templates & Samples Templates If you’re a boss or employer, a proof of employment letter, also known as an employment verification letter, is a form of formal correspondence. If you do manage to arrange some marshalling then make sure you’ve got all the basics covered: get a dark suit, research the judge you’re shadowing and write a thank you email to your court contact.
Print out the letter, so that you can sign your name on the original to be sent to the judge. It is a smart idea to make at least several copies of this letter, so that you can give one to your lawyer, one to the lawyer of the opposition, and if necessary, your probation officer.
Writing a Letter to the Judge Before Sentencing. Write the letter in a business format. Everything should be aligned on the left.
Place your address at the top of the letter. Below, put the date. Next, put the judge’s name, title, and address. Begin the letter by addressing the judge by his or her correct name and title. Sometimes the judge may direct you to prepare a position statement for a hearing, in which case you must send the position statement to the judge and the other party (and the officer from Cafcass / CAFCASS Cymru) by the date specified on the order.