Letter of support

Dear Friend/Family of Client:

This office is representing Client in his federal case. His sentencing will take place soon, and we ask you to write a letter of support letter for him. We need such letters from friends, relatives, co-workers and supervisors, former teachers, and others who know Client in a variety of life situations. Such a letter may be of great importance in obtaining fair and just treatment for Client at the time of sentencing.

Please send your letter to our office. Do not send it directly to the Court or the Probation Department. We will send it to the Court and the Probation Officer along with a sentencing memorandum. Handwritten letters are fine as long as your writing is very clear and legible. Otherwise, type-written letters are preferable. Thank you in advance for your help.

Start of letter: Address your letter “Dear Judge:” Identify yourself in the letter, and say what you do for a living and how you know Client.

Speak to as many of the following questions as possible:

  • What are Client’s best attributes?
  • What are Client’s most significant accomplishments?
  • What are Client’s short and long term goals?
  • Why is Client a better person now?
  • How does giving Client leniency reflect the seriousness of his offense?
  • How would leniency promote Client’s respect for the law?
  • What is a just punishment for Client’s offense and why?
  • Why will giving Client leniency protect the public from further crimes by Client?
  • How would leniency help provide Client educational or vocational training?
  • How would leniency help provide Client with medical care?
  • Why should the judge give Client a break?

The suggestions about the content of the character or support letter are very general. Do not ignore the fact that Client has been convicted of a crime and do not insist that he is really innocent. Rather, if you believe his character is basically good despite your hearing of the charge against him, then you should not hesitate to state your belief. If Client has said he is guilty and sorry for this mistake, state that too.

Your letter should contain specific details of your relationship with Client. We have found you can most effectively express yourself if your letter explains why you hold a high opinion of Client. It is very helpful to include an example of some praiseworthy incident or action by Client that you have witnessed or heard of to show past good behavior or commendable conduct.

End of letter:
Sign and date the letter, and include your mailing address and contact phone number.