If you have pled not guilty to criminal charges and are being prosecuted in District or Supreme Court, a jury will most likely decide whether or not you are guilty.
A jury is composed of a panel of 12 individuals chosen during the empanelment procedure. A jury is made up of members of the public who are chosen at random.
When all of the evidence in a hearing has been heard, it is up to the juror to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty of the accusations. Following the judgement of the jury, the judge determines the punishment to be imposed.
A jury is present in the majority of criminal proceedings in the District Court or the Supreme Court. However, there are several circumstances which a trial before a judge alone is allowed. In these situations, the judge decides whether or not the accused is guilty.
When Can You Have A Hearing Before A Judge Alone
There is no automatic entitlement to a single-judge trial. A trial by judge alone is only authorised when the applicant can convince the court that it is in the best interests of justice to proceed in this manner. The accused in the proceedings or the State Director of Public Prosecutions might file a petition for a trial by a judge alone.
Generally, petitions for a judge-only trial are filed when there has been excessive media publicity and attention prior to the trial. These situations frequently raise questions about whether a jury can remain neutral and impartial. Concerns have been raised concerning the jury’s ability to put all they have already read, seen, or heard aside while deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty. A request for a trial by a judge alone may also be filed if the duration or complexity of the case would be too onerous.
Benefits Of A Judge Only Trial
In some cases, a judge-only trial might be advantageous.
When a judge issues a ruling, they must provide grounds for their decision. The process becomes more open when the grounds for a judge’s decision to convict are made public. It can demonstrate that the choice was based purely on evidence rather than compassion, bias, or emotion.
In jury trials, the jury discussions are done privately, and the jury is not compelled to disclose reasons for its decision. As a result, there’s no way of knowing if the choice was made based on an impartial and clinical evaluation of the evidence.
Certain factors may be complex for juries to understand in complicated situations. These cases might involve expert scientific evidence or significant volumes of forensic materials. In these situations, judges are better prepared to analyse the evidence and determine which elements of the evidence require more attention.
Benefits Of Jury Trial
Advocates for jury trials emphasise the fairness of delegating decision-making authority to a group of individuals rather than a single person.
Proponents of the jury system say that courts provide jurors with clear instructions on the necessity of focusing entirely on the evidence and that the court’s trust in the jury to do so is well established. They also argue that a jury trial can more appropriately reflect the community’s opinions because the jury is selected at random from community members.
It has also been stated that juries are an essential component of our legal system. There is no reason why the proper judgement should not be made by 12 regular individuals who have carefully evaluated the facts provided to the court. A single judge may be disconnected from the general public’s opinions, and their judgment may not reflect the beliefs of the community as a whole.
Contact Franks & Rechenberg. P.C. Attorneys at Law to help with your case.