My friend's teenage son managed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (in an extremely huge way) and the young man is in some very serious legal trouble. His sentencing hearing is soon and his mother asked a few of us at work to help her write a letter to the judge pleading for mercy. Now, at first this made sense. I know she is trying to do the right thing and trying to help him because she loves her son dearly and is terrified of the outcome of this hearing. However, this letter is supposed to be from her son. I tried to put myself in the judge's place and actually thought that not only would I be less impressed by an impressive letter, but it may actually offend me. I (judge) wanted the actual feelings of the young man... his fear... his remorse... his sorrow... his ideas on how to repent... all along with his improper grammar... his run on sentences... his improper punctuation... I wanted it to be pretty by the standards of the source and I wanted a real letter, not a contrived letter. If the Mom wanted to write me (judge) a letter, she should have written her own. I know it's a matter of opinion. Please share yours. I want to know if I'm on the right track. Thanks!! :-)
This is a criminal matter, not a family one. I am changing the practice area for you.
This answer is not legal advice, and does not create an attorney - client relationship. This answer is for educational purposes only.
The only person in the universe who can give you an informed answer is sonny's lawyer. As an abstract proposition, you have done a great job laying out the competing values. Just today I had PhD. Write a letter for a defendant client and the letter was so flip and minimizing that it actually hurt my case. So not even a professional ghost writer guarantees nothing. Really, truly nothing like this should happen without being vetted by the attorney.
The letter should be written by the defendant, especially if it will be taken as a "statement in allocution." However, there is nothing preventing other individuals from writing letter's on the defendant's behalf that could be used as further mitigation. Let the defendant's attorney make the call, as he is in a position to know what's best for his client.
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