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What is the Role of a Judge in a Trial?

Photo of a gavel and law books representing the role of a judge in a criminal trial

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses What Is the Role Of A Judge In A Trial

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A judge’s role in a criminal trial will vary depending upon the presence or absence of a jury. 

The role of a judge in a criminal trial if there isn’t a jury

If the judge alone presides over a criminal trial without a jury’s presence, he or she makes the ultimate decision in the case.

This includes:

  • Presiding over the proceedings: It’s the judge’s responsibility to ensure that order in the court is maintained throughout the criminal trial, including the parties, witnesses, lawyers, and those in the audience.  
  • Determining whether evidence is admissible: The judge will also review evidence to decide whether it can be considered. 
  • Determine the facts and decide the case: Once all evidence is submitted, the judge will review the facts and decide the matter. It is the judge’s ultimate discretion in determining whether the defendant is guilty or innocent. 
  • Convict criminal defendants: If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will set a reasonable punishment for the crime, be it jail time, financial restitution, probation, or the like. 

The role of a judge in a criminal trial if there is a jury

When a jury is present for a case, the judge will take a more limited, though still crucial role in the case. 

A judge’s duties include:

  • Rule on objections: When objections are made by either side, the judge will determine whether evidence should be heard. If it is admitted, the evidence can be considered by the jury, and if not, it won’t be allowed. 
  • Review the jury’s decision: While this isn’t always the case, the judge has the right to review the jury’s verdict. However, if there are facts to support the jury’s decision, then it will stand. 

Get answers to your everyday legal questions

For more information on the role of a judge in a criminal trial and other everyday legal questions, get a copy of Brien Roche’s highly rated book Law 101 published by Sphinx Publishing. It is available for purchase on Amazon.com.

Legal answers provided by Brien Roche, a personal injury attorney with over 40 years of trial experience.

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What is the Role of a Judge in a Trial?

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation