Judge

Author:Jeffrey Lehman, Shirelle Phelps
 
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To make a decision or reach a conclusion after examining all the factual evidence presented. To form an opinion after evaluating the facts and applying the law.

A public officer chosen or elected to preside over and to administer the law in a court of justice; one who controls the proceedings in a courtroom and decides QUESTIONS OF LAW or discretion.

As a verb the term judge generally describes a process of evaluation and decision. In a legal case this process may be conducted by either a judge or a jury. Decisions in any case must be based on applicable law. Where the case calls for a jury verdict, the judge tells the jury what law applies to the case.

As a noun judge refers to a person authorized to make decisions. A judge is a court officer authorized to decide legal cases. A judge presiding over a case may initiate investigations on related matters, but generally judges do not have

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the power to conduct investigations for other branches or agencies of government.

Judges must decide cases based on the applicable law. In some cases a judge may be asked to declare that a certain law is unconstitutional. Judges have the power to rule that a law is unconstitutional and therefore void, but they must give proper deference to the legislative body that enacted the law.

There are two types of judges: trial court and appellate. Trial court judges preside over trials, usually from beginning to end. They decide pretrial motions, define the scope of discovery, set the trial schedule, rule on oral motions during trial, control the behavior of participants and the pace of the trial, advise the jury of the law in a jury trial, and sentence a guilty defendant in a criminal case.

Appellate judges hear appeals from decisions of the trial courts. They review trial court records, read briefs submitted by the parties, and listen to oral arguments by attorneys, and then decide whether error or injustice occurred in the trial.

Judges can also be distinguished according to their jurisdiction. For example, federal court judges differ from state court judges. They operate in different courtrooms, and they hear different types of cases. A federal court judge hears cases that fall within federal jurisdiction. Generally, this means cases that involve a question of federal law or the U.S. Constitution, involve parties from different states, or name the United States as a party. State court judges hear cases involving state...

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