How to Write a Letter to a Judge

Guidelines to writing a professional letter to a judge.

There are many occasions in which people need to compose and send a professional letter to a judge. Often, those who are seeking a divorce will need to write one in order to discuss child support and other issues related to divorce. There are also situations where defendants and plaintiffs need to discuss their case and legal issues with a judge via written correspondence. A written letter needs to be composed properly and with perfect language, grammar and spelling to ensure that it makes the intended impact on the case.

Type your name, address (complete with city, state, and ZIP code) on the far upper left hand corner of the page. Your name should be on a separate line from your address - it should be formatted as you would write an address on the outside of an envelope.

Skip down a line from your address and type the date, written out in full. Such as December 5, 2010.

Skip down a line and create the address box for the judge. It should look as follows:

Federal Judge: The Honorable (Judge’s full name) Judge, United States District Court (full address) The proper salutation is: Dear Judge (Last Name)

State or local judge: The Honorable (Judge’s full name) Judge of the Court of (Location name) (full address) Salutation: Dear Judge (Last Name)

Do not leave a blank space, but type the court’s street address immediately below the name of the judge. Right below the street address write the city, state and ZIP code for the court.

Skip a line and begin the greeting for the letter. It should be written formally, such as “Dear Judge [last name of judge], then it should be followed by a comma.

Skip a line and begin writing the body of your letter. The letter should begin with you stating your relationship to the case and the case itself. An example is “I am a defendant in the case of Mason v. Carter.”

Write the reason that you are sending this letter to the judge. An example is “I am writing this letter to request that my date of testimony be moved to September.”

Start a new paragraph by skipping a line. This is where you will begin your reasons and arguments for why the judge should take your request or idea into account. These reasons should be presented respectfully and concisely. You should also include any support such as previous examples or authoritative opinions.

Skip a line and write the closing of the letter. A letter of this type should be signed as “Respectfully,” then you should skip another line where you will eventually sign your name, then type your name on the next line. Directly below your name you should type out your date of birth.

Print out the letter, so that you can sign your name on the original to be sent to the judge. It is a smart idea to make at least several copies of this letter, so that you can give one to your lawyer, one to the lawyer of the opposition, and if necessary, your probation officer.

Bring the original letter with your signature on it to court with you. Just as the proceedings are about to begin, give the letter to a court clerk or bailiff. They will make sure that the judge gets the original. You should also have some of the copies with you in case the judge wants more than one copy of the letter.

Based in Orange County, Calif., Herman Cruz has been writing since 2007. His articles have been published in various content platforms and he also has written for Internet entrepreneurs who need assistance with writing sales letters and articles for their businesses. Cruz is pursuing his Bachelor of Arts in integrated composition, improvisation and technology at the University of California in Irvine.