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How to Address a Letter to a Judge

Follow these steps to correspond effectively with the person who has the power to swing the gavel.


  • Step 1: Include your contact info Write the date, your name, and your address at the top right corner.
  • Step 2: Indicate the recipient Write the judge's name and the court's address along the left margin, beneath your own. Use the title "Honorable" before the judge's name -- for instance, "Honorable John Smith."
  • Step 3: Include a salutation Open your letter with "Dear Honorable John Smith," "Dear Judge John Smith," or "Your Honor."
  • Step 4: State your purpose State your purpose for writing the judge very clearly in the first sentence. Keep the letter brief and to the point -- a maximum of one page is ideal.
  • TIP: Write the letter in the language you know best, as most judges have interpreters available to them.
  • Step 5: Identify your case Include the case number to which you are referring and be sure to sign your name to the letter.
  • TIP: Refer to the case using the parties involved, such as "People vs. Name of Defendant," if you don't know the case number.
  • Step 6: Don't write in vain Don't present evidence in your letter. Most judges will stop reading and you will fail to get your point across.
  • FACT: Two court systems exist in the U.S. -- federal court and state court. State courts have the broadest jurisdiction.

You Will Need

  • Pen and paper or computer and printer
  • Judge's name
  • Court's address
  • Case number
  • Case name (optional)

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