Letters should be addresses to the Judge:

 

              Honorable Linda Reade, Chief Judge

              4200 C Street, SW

              Cedar Rapids, IA  52401

 

What follows are some suggestions which you may wish to incorporate:

 

  1. State your present or former position, e.g., “I am/was the Rabbi of the XYZ shul.”

 

  1. Describe your relationship with Sholom M. Rubashkin including the nature and the length of the relationship, and how you met.

 

  1. Describe the good that he has done in charitable, educational, civic or business activities. List any charities he has worked for (not just financial contributions) and any awards he may have received. List particular experiences which you have had with him and which demonstrate his human virtues would be helpful. An anecdote – an act of charity, or a particular kindness – briefly stated may be worth far more than merely describing him in abstract terms as “decent.”

 

  1. Express belief in his honesty and how his conduct was out-of-character with everything else he’s done in his life.

 

  1. Tell the Judge, in the strongest possible terms, why imprisonment would be tragic to him, his family, and the community.

 

  1. Plead for consideration as a human being based on what he has during his entire life.

 

  1. Plead for mercy and/or compassion based on his service to others (without having expected anything in return), and his son’s autism and the need for him to be home for him – not as a special favor.

 

  1. Use your own thoughts and language as you see fit.

 

Of course, the suggestions above are not all inclusive, and some letter writers may not be in a position to make statements based on their experience about all areas described above. What is important is that the letters be genuine and reflect the deeply-held beliefs of the letter writer.

 

Letters from Family Friends

 

Since it is clear that his main priority is his family, and all of his activities and decisions are made with them in mind, focus on his qualities as a son, husband and a father. Please cite at least two or three examples you have witnessed that describe his positive qualities as a father and/or husband or things that he has done for family members or close friends.

 

Letters from Former Co-workers/Employees

 

Focus on his skills, his honesty and integrity. Acknowledge that you are aware of the charges and nonetheless, would trust him with confidential information, with your money, and would recommend his work to others.

 

Discuss his skills and that an appropriate sentence would be probation to include extensive community service in order to give back to the community.

 

Letter from Rabbis or Those Whom He Has Helped Directly

 

These letters should reflect that you understand that he broke the law and he is remorseful. The Rabbis should point out the strict adherence to the commandments in the Chassidic Jewish traditions and how that may have had an influence on his involvement in this case. Acknowledge his passion of helping and serving others and note that he is seeking appropriate community service as a means of accepting responsibility for his conduct and giving back to the community.

 

Additionally, I strongly suggest that letter writers NOT:

 

  1. Question the guilty verdict or finding of guilt;

 

  1. Comment on the evidence in the case;

 

  1. Suggest a particular sentence;

 

  1. Express personal views on the criminal justice system;

 

  1. Use the words “lenient” or “leniency” in requesting sentencing by the judge. I recommend “merciful and/or compassionate…”