What Do the Judge and Jury Each Do?
You’ve been hurt because of the negligence of another person. You’ve attempted, without success, to negotiate a settlement, so a jury trial has been scheduled. What will be the function of the jury, and what can you expect the judge to do during the trial?
The Role of the Jury
The jury has two primary responsibilities—to determine whose version of the facts carries the most weight and to apply the law to the facts in order to render a verdict. Jurors do not determine what law applies to the case or interpret what the law says—the judge does those things. A jury’s role is to decide the outcome based on findings of fact.
Because jurors are not expected to know the law, the attorneys for both sides prepare instructions for the jury, with the judge ultimately deciding what specific instructions the jury receives. Those instructions limit the power of the jury, telling them what legal conclusion they must come to based on the factual determinations they make.
The Role of the Judge
In the American legal system, the judge oversees the trial but is also responsible for all determinations of law. For example, as evidence is introduced or testimony taken, a party may object, alleging the evidence violates the rules regarding the admissibility of evidence. The judge has the responsibility to either sustain (uphold) the objection or overrule it.
The judge also has the responsibility to ensure that all rules of procedure are followed and may entertain motions to dismiss or for immediate judgment, based on the law.
Contact the Law Office of Howard D. Popper
At the Law Office of Howard D. Popper, we can help protect your rights. For a free initial consultation with an experienced personal injury trial lawyer, contact our office online or call 973-993-8787 to set up an appointment. We have offices in Morristown and Newton.
We handle all personal injury claims on a contingent-fee basis. You won’t pay any attorney fees unless we recover damages for your losses.