What You Should Say When Writing a Letter to a Judge

If you’re a defendant in a trial, writing a letter to a judge might help you have a lighter sentence. However, you should know that communicating with a judge outside the court is not allowed.

There are instances that your lawyer might allow you to write a letter to the judge. But it’s best to talk to your lawyer first to know if there’s a chance that a letter will help your case.

If your lawyer permits you to do so, then here are some tips on what to say when writing a letter to a judge.

A judge holding a gavel.

Write Professionally

When writing a letter to a judge, you should write in a business format. Use formal fonts and formal words. Remember that you are talking to a professional, not to a friend.

Address The Judge By His/Her Correct Name

You should begin your letter by addressing the correct name of the judge. Not putting the appropriate name of the judge might show rudeness. It can also seem like you’re not sincere because you did not even put an effort to know the judge’s name.

Accept Responsibility and Show Regret

Your primary purpose when writing a letter to the judge is to ask a lighter sentence. So, it’s best to admit that what you did was wrong and show remorse about it. (Related: How to Reduce a Shoplifting Fine)

For instance, you can write that you are guilty and not proud of what you’ve done to the victim.
Your letter should also show that you are sincere and truthful. This way, there’s a big chance that the judge will be swayed with your words and be more lenient towards you.

State The Purpose of Your Letter

The judge should know why you are writing a letter in the first place. Do you want a lighter sentence? Do you want a lesser fine? You should include it in your letter.
For example, you can write that your family depends on you. Lengthier jail time will affect them emotionally and financially. It can also result in unemployment and consequently, loss of income. All these can affect you, your family, and everyone around you. (Related: Electronic Ankle Monitors Are Driving Defendants Into Debt)

Include Other Arrests Or Crimes

It’s to your advantage if this is your first offense. However, if you have previous convictions, you should convince the judge that you’ve already overcome the issue and you’re no longer at risk of re-offending.

State Examples of Your Good Deeds

Another thing that you can include in your letter is an example of your previous good deeds. If you’re a member of an organization or do charity works, then you can let the judge know through your letter.

This can help the judge have an impression of how capable you are in living as a good person.

Thank The Judge

Lastly, you should thank the judge for taking the time to read your letter. You can also include that you’re hoping for lenient sentencing and then sign the letter with your name.

About Franchette Jardin

Agatha has done some extensive research in the past about prison and life inside one. Now she writes prison-related articles to help inmates cope and begin a better life after.