Character witnesses are allowed in criminal cases in several instances. For example, they may be admitted in a sentencing or parole hearing. A well-written letter speaking highly of the defendant can assist in persuading a judge to minimise a sentence or to release the defendant. The writing of this letter should be done in a precise and professional manner.
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Speak with the defendant's defence attorney. He can suggest character traits to emphasise relevant to the defendant's charges.
Address the judge by name and title at the top of your letter.
Give your name and provide the case number or case name. Explain your relationship to the defendant.
Discuss the positive aspects of your relationship to the defendant.
Provide specific examples of situations in which your life was enriched by the defendant or how he helped you.
Emphasise why the defendant should be released or given the minimum sentence. Express your belief that the defendant will not commit more offences upon release.
Sign and date the letter. Make at least five copies of the letter and give copies to the defence and prosecution as needed. Keep one for yourself.
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