A judge may show leniency when sentencing a defendant for the commission of a crime. It is common for the defendant or the defendant's family and friends to request leniency. If a judge shows leniency, the defendant may receive a reduced sentence.
A defendant who is a first-time offender or charged with a less serious crime may receive leniency. A judge may consider the crime, the harm caused, the youth of the defendant and the defendant's reputation. If a judge shows leniency, he may order probation or a reduced sentence.
Family members and friends may petition a judge for leniency in a letter. A letter may include information about the defendant, such as the defendant's dedication as a husband and father. Prior to sentencing, a defendant can also write a letter that requests leniency.
Read More: How to Write a Letter of Leniency to a Judge
At sentencing, a defendant can ask the judge for a more lenient punishment. The defendant must state why leniency is deserved. Possible reasons may include the completion of a substance abuse treatment program, payment of restitution to the victim or the defendant may admit to the crime and give the reason for committing it.
Jessica McElrath has been a freelance writer since 2000. McElrath is the author of "The Everything John F. Kennedy Book" and "The Everything Martin Luther King Jr. Book." McElrath has a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of California at Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from Santa Clara University School of Law.