Before a favorable judgment is arrived at, a presiding judge or magistrate will often want to know more about an accused reputation and personality. To provide this piece of information, a friend, relative, co-worker, or associate of the accused will usually draft a written statement of the mental and moral qualities of that person. This letter is called the Official Character Reference Letter for Court.
It is an official communique that is addressed to the presiding judge/magistrate and whose aim is to let the said person know more about the offender. It may be written by a friend, co-worker, member of the family, relative, or any other close associate of the offender. We shed more light on it here below…
Who to Select for this Letter
There are no specific people whom you must select for the job. Nonetheless, some cadres of persons are likely to draft a better and more reliable letter. Below are they explained in finer details:
- Family Member – This could be a member of the nuclear family like your brothers, sisters, mother, and father. They are more likely to know you more and deliver better recommendations.
- Co-worker – If you have formal employment, you may want to tap into your co-workers to bail you out. This co-worker preferably ought to be a line manager or someone in a managerial position.
- Friend – A close friend could also come in handy. Such a person knows you so well and is hence able to deliver better verdicts or references.
- Immediate Relative – Outside your nuclear family, there could be other close members of your family who have a soft spot for you and is hence more likely to deliver a fairer verdict.
- Close Associate – Any other close associate may also come to your rescue. These could be members of your church or any other social gathering you might be actively involved in.
How to Write Character Reference for Court
While drafting a crucial document of this kind, there are things you have to uphold or bear in mind. Also, you should follow a specific format for the job. Below is how you ought to set out properly explained:
Introduction – Identify yourself
Start by identifying yourself and establishing a connection between the offender and you. Tell the magistrate or judge who you are, how related to the offender you are, how long and in what capacity you have known the offender, and why you feel qualified to draft this letter on behalf of the offender.
Main Body – Get to the core of the letter
This is now the core of the letter. It is here that you vouch for the positive attributes of the accused. Try and draft the letter in such a way as to sway the ruling in favor of the accused. Below are some dos and don’ts:
- Be courteous at all times
- Create a nice rapport with the judge and court officials
- Indicate that you are aware of the offense that the offender is accused of
- Include specific details of the character of the offender and how related to him you are
- Insist only on the positive aspects of the offender’s personality or character
- Specify whether this is a one-off accident or repeat offense
- Explain some of the unfavorable things that might happen in case the offender is ultimately convicted
- Tailor the letter to the particular offender or incident
- Include details about previous offenses the offender may have committed
- Suggest the penalties the offender ought to receive, in your opinion
- Incorporate general statements about the offender (be specific and relevant to the topic of discussion)
- Lie to the presiding judge or magistrate as it is a criminal offense to deceive the court
- Make irrelevant suggestions or speeches
- Criticize the court, court officials, or the hearings in any shape or form.
Rough up the contents of the letter and leave behind your contact details. State that you are prepared to offer any further pieces of information if need be. Plead one last time for the court to acquit the accused of the charges that are preferred against him.
We now look at two samples of these letters here below:
702 W Idaho St Ste 1125,
Boise, ID 83702-8928,
May 20th, 20XX
Mr. Jeremy Clappertone,
Presiding Judge – Idaho Law Courts,
1233 Broadway Avenue,
Boise. ID 83706
RE: Official Character Reference Letter for Court (drink driving).
I am meant to understand that my father Mr. Michael Johnson, has been charged before your court of the offense of drunk driving. I draft this letter to plead with you to drop the charges or acquit him altogether.
Yes, it is true that he committed the offense. Nonetheless, this is the first time he committed such an offense. Moreover, he has never stood accused in any court of law for any offense (check with the Registrar of State Records).
If anything, he just had to drive in that state of drunkenness due to the fact that he had to attend to our sick mother who made a distress call from the hospital wards.
Reach me via phone (208) 608-7000 for any further clarification.
Argenta Hall 1201,
North Virginia Street,
Reno, NV 89503
May 20th, 20XX
Ms. Michelle Wilkinson,
Resident Magistrate – Reno Law Courts,
1 East First Street,
Reno, Nevada 89505
RE: Official Character Reference Letter for Court (Assault Offence)
I understand that my cousin Audrey Cranberry has been charged with assault and is presently facing trials for the same in your court of law.
I plead with you to acquit him of those charges. Yes, it is true that he assaulted his friend, who happens to be a neighbor too! My plea is anchored for several reasons.
For one, my cousin has never committed such an offense before. Moreover, he was infuriated by the neighbor at a time when he was nursing the wounds of a failed job interview. Being the only son of my uncle, his conviction may bring along untold suffering to my uncle’s household. What’s more? He has indicated a willingness to apologize and settle the issue out of court!
Please heed my plea and release him. If you want further clarification, call me on 775-771-1783 for any further matters and clarification.
Matters of the law are often, do or die. You can never take any chances hence. Thus, you have to make use of this letter as much as possible even when the system somehow does not provide for or favor it. When are you likely to take the first active step?