How to Write a Proper Letter to a Federal Judge

Written by david ferris
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How to Write a Proper Letter to a Federal Judge
Writing a letter to a judge requires business letter format. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

The federal judiciary is a complex network of courts that includes the Supreme Court, district courts, appeals courts, and bankruptcy courts. Included in that system are over 800 federal judgeships, the majority of whom serve in federal district courts throughout the country. There are a number of reasons to address a letter to a federal judge, whether to express satisfaction with or disagreement over a decision, commend or critique a judge for their performance, or address your own case that is being presided over by a federal judge.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Obtain the judge's mailing address by consulting the website of his or her particular court or looking it up in the federal directory.

  2. 2

    Write out the header according to standard business letter format. At the top left, write your name, address and contact information. Leave a space and put the date followed by another space. Write the title and name of the judge. Refer to the judge as "Honorable," followed by the full name. On the next line, write the judge's title, if applicable, followed by the name of the Court. For instance, "Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals Xth Circuit." If no title is needed, simply write the name of the court. Write the address on the next lines.

  3. 3

    Address the judge as "Dear Judge," followed by his name (or ´"Dear Justice" in the case of the U.S. Supreme Court). Do not use "Mr.," "Ms." or other typical prefixes.

  4. 4

    Articulate clearly and cogently your motivations for writing the letter, and maintain a formal, respectful tone. If the letter serves to object to a decision, detail your points of disagreement with the ruling.

  5. 5

    Print and sign your name at the bottom of the letter.

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