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WHEN JUDGE LAYS DOWN LETTER OF LAW, HE REALLY MEANS LETTER

SHARE WHEN JUDGE LAYS DOWN LETTER OF LAW, HE REALLY MEANS LETTER

A Hartford, Conn., judge who wanted vivid descriptions of criminal life so he could warn young people away from lawlessness has ordered convicted criminals to write him letters from jail.

Judge Raymond R. Norko, the presiding judge at the court that handles serious crimes in Hartford County, recently has been ordering defendants to write him letters recounting how their lives led to prison.Norko, who promises convicts their names will not be released with their letters, said he hopes to put together a collection that he can publish and distribute to schoolchildren.

"Maybe to have it in writing would be more vivid and real for them," he said.

Norko said he has received only three responses, so he has started handing out the assignment before sentencing.