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Can a Judge Overturn a Jury Verdict?

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Can A Judge Overturn A Jury Verdict

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In any trial the judge is the ultimate decision maker and has the power to overturn a jury verdict if there is insufficient evidence to support that verdict or if the decision granted inadequate compensatory damages. The term used to describe this action is judgement notwithstanding the verdict (JNOV) or judgement of acquittal in a criminal case. 

When a Judge Can Overturn a Jury Verdict

If a jury returns a $10 million verdict in a case that clearly is only worth $10,000.00, then the judge can overturn that. This would be on the grounds of the jury award being excessive. Likewise in some states if the jury award is inadequate the judge may overturn the verdict. This is on the grounds of it being inadequate. 

Also if the judge decides that during the trial there was some error by the judge then the judge can overturn the verdict. The error may be on the basis of evidence that the jury should or should not have heard. In that case the judge may order a new trial that covers all or some of the issues.

Why It’s Rare For a Judge to Overturn a Jury Verdict

Judges are very reluctant to overturn a jury verdict.  Jury verdicts are statements of the community.  Therefore they are given great respect. Furthermore in a criminal case, a judge cannot overturn a verdict of not guilty as that would violate a defendant’s 5th amendment right. To overturn a guilty verdict there must be clear evidence that offers reasonable doubt.

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Can a Judge Overturn a Jury Verdict?

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation