Influential Example Character Reference Letter for Court

| June 14, 2012 | 0 Comments

The following example character letter for court written is with extreme care, following a specific format that is recommended by lawyers and expected by judges and magistrates. A character reference letter is generally used during the sentencing process of someone who has been convicted of breaking the law. The main purpose of such a letter is to convince the presiding judge that the defendant and the community would be better served by a more lenient sentence. As such, this is a very important document, and if you have been asked to write one, or you have asked someone to write one for you, we recommend you first consult our example character reference letter for court.

Example Character Reference Letter for Court Format

A character reference letter is a business document – very serious business indeed – and should be formatted as one. The most widely accepted format is the block style. The block style takes its name from the way the text is structured. All of the text is aligned to the left margin of the page and written in sections or “blocks,” each block being separated by a single space. Our example character reference letter for court is also designed so that with some simple cutting and pasting, you can replace the existing information with your own. This is easily done if you Download This Example Character Reference Letter for Court to your personal computer, and make any editing changes to suit your circumstances from there.

First however, we strongly recommend that you read through our analysis of an example character reference letter for court below. This is an exceptionally important document, one that could change a person’s life for better, or if badly written, for worse. We’ll show you step-by-step how to format it and explain what should be written, what should not be, and why.

Analysis of an Example Character Reference Letter for Court

The first part of our example character reference letter for court that we’ll analyze is how to address the letter. This must be done formally, and most of all accurately. It should be easy enough to find out the name of the presiding judge, however if for some reason you can’t, address the letter to: The Presiding Judge, or The Presiding magistrate. First though, you will begin the letter by placing your own name, address, and contact information in the top left corner of the page, followed by a space, and then the date as follows:


Mr. Kenneth Atkins
42 Flamingo Road,
Pembroke Pines, FL
021980
Tel: 412-644-7735

May 6, 1999

The Honorable Judge Graham Roberts:

Now it’s time to make the case for the person’s good character. This can be very tricky, as judges can see through embellishment and half-truths. It is very important to be completely honest, and not to exaggerate the person’s good qualities. If a judge feels that there are too many glowing recommendations or accounts of good or heroic deeds, it is possible he could lean towards a harsher sentence; as has happened in the past. Keep it honest, and keep it real, but by all means speak from the heart.

The first thing we accomplish in our example character reference letter for court is to establish our credentials, how and for how long we’ve known the individual, and show that we are aware of the charges they face. You don’t have to quote the charges in detail, but a general reference to them will show the judge that you are aware of them.

The Judge then at least knows that you understand why you are writing a reference. It is useless to write a character reference that does not accomplish this. The Judge will simply think, “what’s the point of this reference if they don’t realize the person has been caught stealing again.”

Let’s use the scenario of a young person who has been convicted of smuggling drugs, the letter written by a close friend. Here’s how we accomplish the above in our example character reference letter for court:

This letter is written by me, Arthur L. Jones, on behalf of Donald Thompson. I have known Donald personally for over ten years, having first met him in school. It was with great shock that I found out about the charge of smuggling he was facing. It is so out of character for the Donald I know. 

You’ve established that you’re qualified to write a letter of reference, now you must convince the judge of his inherent good character. You’ll need to mention their good qualities, give examples of exemplary behavior. It is especially helpful if they have been active in the community, or helped others in some way. Anything you can think of that is good about the person should be mentioned here. You might say something like:

I first became aware of Donald’s good character during high school. He excelled in his studies, never got in any trouble, and was always eager to help others. He regularly volunteered to assist with school events and functions in his spare time, and tutored several students, including myself. In fact, if it wasn’t for Donald I would have failed Mathematics, and would not be where I am today. 

Donald’s good deeds have not been limited to school though. He has helped me on several occasions since we graduated, in fact he was personally responsible for me obtaining my current position at Awesome Accountants Ltd. I have also watched Donald tirelessly devote his time to Meals on Wheels, where he serves as Delivery Manager. 

If there are extenuating circumstances, you can state them in your letter. Was the person experiencing financial difficulties, marital problems, or grieving? If a jail term would unduly disrupt their life, or losing their driver’s license would jeopardize their livelihood and that of their family, say it.

I know that Donald has broken the law, although due to what I consider bad influences. I feel that both Donald and the community would be better served if he was not sent to prison. Imprisonment at this time would unnecessarily destroy his future, and deprive society of a potentially valuable citizen. Donald has shown great remorse and placing him amongst convicted criminals would only expose him to further negative influences. I say this not because I am his friend, but because I truly believe it. 

Finally, reinforce your belief in the defendant as a good and potentially productive person. Say anything else you can that might help his or her cause, and invite the judge to contact you if he would like further information. The completed example character reference letter for court looks like this:

Mr. Kenneth Atkins
42 Flamingo Road,
Pembroke Pines, FL
021980
Tel: 412-644-7735

May 6, 1999

The Honorable Judge Graham Roberts:

This letter is written by me, Arthur L. Jones, on behalf of Donald Thompson. I have known Donald personally for over ten years, having first met him in school. It was with great shock that I found out about the charge of smuggling he was facing. It is so out of character for the Donald I know. 

I first became aware of Donald’s good character during high school. He excelled in his studies, never got in any trouble, and was always eager to help others. He regularly volunteered to assist with school events and functions in his spare time, and tutored several students, including myself. In fact, if it wasn’t for Donald I would have failed Mathematics, and would not be where I am today. 

Donald’s good deeds have not been limited to school though. He has helped me on several occasions since we graduated, in fact he was personally responsible for me obtaining my current position at Awesome Accountants Ltd. I have also watched Donald tirelessly devote his time to Meals on Wheels, where he serves as Delivery Manager. 

I know that Donald has broken the law, although due to what I consider bad influences. I feel that both Donald and the community would be better served if he was not sent to prison. Imprisonment at this time would unnecessarily destroy his future, and deprive society of a potentially valuable citizen. Donald has shown great remorse, and placing him amongst convicted criminals would only expose him to further negative influences. I say this not because I am his friend, but because I truly believe it. 

Donald is a good, trustworthy, and dignified man who has made a terrible mistake. I truly believe that everyone would be better served if he was kept out of prison and allowed to continue his studies. I humbly ask that you do not alter the direction of his life based on a bad decision. 

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me on 412-644-7735.

Sincerely,

Kenneth Atkins

Final Thoughts on Our Example Character Reference Letter for Court

As you’ll have noticed, our example character reference letter for court is written by a friend of the defendant. A reference letter needn’t necessarily be written by someone of importance, though it is critical they be of impeccable character and good social standing. It is a good idea to get references from a number of people from different areas of a person’s life. An employer, pastor, priest, rabbi, teacher or sports coach or long standing family friends all make good references.

It is only important that the author be well respected and shows clearly that they have a good knowledge of the charges and circumstances. This way, their reference letter will be much better received, and the chances of a lighter sentence being handed out increased.

To ensure the best possible result Download This Example Character Reference Letter for Court to your personal computer, and make any editing changes to suit your circumstances from there.

Tips and Useful Sentences you Can Use with our Query Letter Examples:

  • I have known (Name) to be a prudent, hardworking, conscientious, and a caring person.
  • Get your character reference letters to a lawyer as quickly as possible before court, as it may contain information that can help your lawyer with your case.
  • Never suggest what sentence you think the defendant should get. This will only annoy the judge, who probably won’t like someone telling him or her how to do their job.

Category: Example Character Reference Letter for Court

About the Author ()

Melanie Walters is a writer and editor for several businesses both online and offline. Her experience with writing business letters and marketing materials has helped her understand exactly what works in written communication for businesses. In the 10 years she's been writing, Melanie has amassed a large collection of letter examples that she gladly shares with you here on Letter Example Help.org

Leave a Reply