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Letters of Support


Thank you for writing a Letter of Support for our client. Our client needs such letters from friends, relatives, co-workers and supervisors, former teachers, and others who know our client in a variety of life situations. Such a letter may be of great importance in obtaining fair and just treatment for our client at the time of sentencing.

Typed or legibly written letters of support can be emailed to Senior Legal Assistant Kelly Murphy, Kelly_M_Murphy@fd.org, or mailed to:

Office of the Federal Public Defender, District of Vermont, 126 College Street, Suite 410, Burlington, VT 05401.

Please do not send your letter to the Probation Office or the District Court.

Address your letter "Dear Judge". Identify yourself in the letter, describing what you do for a living and how you know our client.

Please include as many of the following questions in your letter as possible:

  • What are our client's best attributes?
  • What are our client's most significant accomplishments?
  • What are our client's short and long term goals?
  • Why is our client a better person now?
  • How does giving our client leniency reflect the seriousness of the offense?
  • How would leniency promote our client's respect for the law?
  • What is a just punishment for our client's offense and why?
  • Why will giving our client leniency protect the public from further crimes by our client?
  • How would leniency help provide our client with educational or vocational training?
  • How would leniency help provide our client with medical care?
  • Why should the judge give our client "a break"?

These suggestions about the content of the letter are very general. Do not ignore the fact that our client has been convicted of a crime and do not insist that our client is really innocent. Instead, if you believe our client's character is basically good despite the charges against our client, then you should not hesitate to state your belief. If our client has said he is guilty and is sorry for this mistake, state this, too.

Your letter should contain specific details about your relationship with our client. We have found that you can most effectively express yourself if your letter explains why you hold a high opinion of our client. It is very helpful to include an example of some praiseworthy incident or action taken by our client that you have witnessed or heard of, to show past good behavior or commendable conduct.

Sign and date your letter, and include your mailing address and contact phone number.