Judges are elected or appointed officials who act as impartial decision-makers in the pursuit of justice. They are the central figures in a courtroom, and apply the law to cases by overseeing legal proceedings, ruling on questions of law, and facilitating negotiations between opposing parties. Judges allow each side a fair opportunity to present their version of the facts.
The other key figures in a courtroom trial are a court reporter (in superior court), a clerk, and a bailiff. Central people are the attorneys, plaintiff, defendant, witnesses, court interpreters, and jurors.
Judges ensure that cases are conducted following the rules of court and the rules dealing with evidence that can be used. These rules help to protect the rights of individuals before the courts and promote fairness.
They may decide a variety of cases that come before the courts, including civil suits, criminal cases and family law matters.
When there is no jury, judges:
• determine the facts
• interpret the law
• apply the law to the facts of the case
• decide the outcome
After the judge has decided the outcome of the case they determine the sentence in criminal matters, or the remedy in civil cases. They must provide reasons for their decisions.
Judges must provide reasons for their decisions. Sometimes judges will explain their reasons in court at the same time they give their decision on the case. Other times judges will give their decision in court at the end of the case but provide the reasons for their decision in a written decision at a later date. Judges may also provide oral reasons in court and a written decision at a later time.
In cases where there is a jury, the judge ensures that the rules are followed and that only proper evidence is heard.
When judges are not in the courtroom, they can be found in their chambers doing legal research, looking over cases, supervising court staff, writing opinions, and more.
Types of Judges:
• Bankruptcy Judge
• Probate Judge
• Trial Judge
• Presiding Judge
• Magistrate Judge
• Family Law Judge
• Superior Court Judge
• District Court Judge
• Chief Judge
• Senior Judge
• Circuit Judge
• Court of Appeals Judge
• Hanging Judge
• Administrative Law Judge
• County Judge
For more information about what to expect in a court of law, give Derek Usman a call at (813) 377-1197.