How to Write a Letter & Not a Motion to the Presiding Judge

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Judges usually are open to hearing from people involved in cases.
Judges usually are open to hearing from people involved in cases. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Writing a letter to a presiding judge is very different from making a specific written request through a motion. For example, specific procedures and paperwork are necessary for filing a legal motion to dismiss a lawsuit or vacate a monetary judgment. However, a letter sent to a judge can provide her with important information about a case. In 2010, The New York Times reported how a man in a credit card case sent a note to the judge informing her that by law, the debt was too old for review by the court. The judge read the note, agreed and dismissed the case. Such outcomes from a letter aren't always possible, but judges are usually receptive to letters.

Ask a court clerk, if necessary, for the correct spelling of the judge's name. Or refer to paperwork you have associated with the case.

Write the letter. Writing by hand is fine if your handwriting is legible. Make the letter short and to the point. Explain your concern in just a few paragraphs. Judges are very busy and may not entirely read long, rambling letters several pages long. Tell the judge who you are and why your information is important. Stay on point as you communicate your thoughts.

Add a closing such as "Yours truly," and sign the letter. Place the letter in an envelope with the judge's name on the front. For best results, visit the court and hand-deliver the letter to a court clerk as you ask for the letter to be delivered to the judge.

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