Support letters, or character letters, are used in different types of court hearings. Writing a letter of support will vary slightly depending on the type of hearing. For instance, if you were writing a support letter for a child custody hearing you would focus on parenting skills. A sentencing hearing or a parole hearing may entail different details, but the letters may generally be similar. A support letter needs to be positive and look professional and should read similar to a job recommendation letter.
Speak to the attorney involved in the case if there is one. He may be able to tell you more details about what is helpful in the letter.
Format the letter as a business letter. Make sure it is typed and include your address and the date on the top. Also include the address of the court or the parole board that is requesting the letter.
Personalise the letter to a specific individual, if you are able to. If you know the judge's name, address the letter to him.
Introduce yourself in the opening paragraph. Provide details of your relationship with the person who you are writing your support letter on behalf of. Discuss how long you have known him and in what capacity.
Detail the individual's positive characteristics in the body of the letter. Give specific examples about positive traits including responsibility, trust or dependability. If you are writing a support letter for a parole hearing, include details of a support system for the parolee, future job, and living arrangements. Be concise though. The judge or parole board will not have a lot of time to read letters.
Close the letter with your contact information. Include a general statement thanking the reader for their time. Sign your name. Proofread your letter to make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors.
Deliver the letter to an attorney or mail it to the parole board. Judges often will not read unsolicited mail, so unless the support letter was requested, have the attorney bring it to the judge.