The purpose of this outline is to assist you in putting your own thoughts on paper or for an oral presentation to the court.  The following format is only a suggestion.


The Honorable ___________________
Name of court
City,  State,  ZIP code

RE: People vs.  (case number)       

Your Honor:

1st PARAGRAPH:  State your name and your relationship to the case (as the crime victim or on behalf of a loved one or a colleague).

2nd PARAGRAPH:  Provide the date and a short summary of the crash.  Include the defendant and victim's name.

3rd PARAGRAPH:  Describe the impact this crash has had on you, your family, friends and community, if this crash has caused great economic hardship such as large or ongoing medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, etc.

4th PARAGRAPH:  Explain how you feel about a future without your loved one, or about the injuries that you or a loved one must live with.

5th PARAGRAPH:  Tell the judge what you feel is just in the way of a penalty for this crime.  If you want restitution, this is the time to request that also.




* Discuss this outline with your Advocate for suggestions and range of penalties for this type of crime.  It is important to be realistic about penalty ranges and the choices a judge can legally make.  Do not include technical court evidence; the judge knows this information already and will not want to hear it again.  Remember, your opinion is the only one the judge has not heard.  Family and friends may also write to the judge during the sentencing phase.  All letters must be routed through the probation department.


         Put statement on 4x6 cards (if you shake, cards won't rattle).

         Number the cards (in case they drop).

         Write on front only (easier to keep track).

         Use capital letters (so you don't lose your place).

         Use highlighter on key words to draw your eye to that thought.

Before you speak, remember to take a deep breath to get extra oxygen to your brain.  Shallow breathing constricts the blood vessels and decreases the flow of oxygen to the brain: this, in turn, causes lightheadedness.