What does a judge do? It is the job of the judge in to be in charge of everything that happens in court. The judge must be able to be fair to everyone involved in the case. They are called the parties. If the judge thinks there is any reason for the parties to question whether the judge can be fair, the judge must tell the parties about this reason. If there is any reason that the judge might not be able to be impartial, such as the judge is a friend of one of the parties, the judge must withdraw from the case. That is called a recusal. In a criminal case, the judge schedules an arraignment, which the charges that have been filed are explained to the defendant. The defendant may admit to the charges and plead guilty, or the defendant may ask for a trial. There might be a settlement of the case with a plea agreement, also called a plea bargain, in which the prosecutor recommends that the judge impose a sentence that is less than the maximum possible sentence in exchange for the defendant's plea of guilty to the charges. Or the defendant might agree to plead guilty to a less serious change. If the case is not settled, it will be set for trial.
Cont. A trial is the time when the parties present evidence to prove their case. In a criminal case, the prosecution must present the evidence to prove the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. In a civil case, the person who filed the case must present the evidence to prove the case. If a trial is held, the judge is responsible for: Setting the hours of the trial; Keeping order in the courtroom; Presiding over the selection of jurors; Deciding on what evidence can be considered by the jurors in making their decision; Explaining the law that applies to the case to the jurors so they can deliberate, and Sentencing the defendant if the defendant is found guilty in a criminal case.
WHAT DOES A COURT REPORTER DO? A court reporter, officially known as a certified shorthand reporter, must write down everything that is said during official court proceedings. Rather than using a pencil and paper or a regular word processor that has a full keyboard, the court reporter uses a stenographic machine that has just 22 keys. Using those 22 keys, a court reporter can make symbols on a narrow strip of paper in the stenographic machine to record what is said in court. The stenographic machine has a computer to help convert the symbols into English. A court reporter must also read out loud in court, portions of what he or she has transcribed on the stenographic machine when the judge instructs the court reporter to do so. A court reporter must also prepare an official written transcript of the proceeding.
What does a court interpreter do? A court interpreter is a person who is fluent in at least one language other than English for which there is a need in the courts. An interpreter's duties are to: Translate in the courtroom for non-English speaking parties and witnesses in: –arraignments, –pleas, –pre-trial hearings, and –trials Interpreters can be assigned to courtrooms in –criminal courts, –juvenile courts, –mental health courts, –family law courts, –jail interviews, –psychological evaluations, and –some civil cases Interpreters are sometimes responsible for translating documents from English into another language or from another language into English.
What does a bailiff do? The bailiff's duties are to: Provide safety and security for the courtroom, the judge, the staff and those in attendance; Escort and remain with defendants who are in custody and prevent escapes; Assist in the administration of court functions as directed by the judge and the clerk; The bailiff is also tasked with serving, enforcing, and holding all court orders including arrest warrants and civil process.
What does a court clerk do? The clerk's specific duties are to: Maintain the official record of the court; Be responsible for the clerical courtroom activities; Determine whether cases are ready for hearing or trial; Keep the court calendar and give legal notices; Prepare court minutes, judgments and verdict forms; Assist with impaneling juries and administering oaths; Collect, record and report all fines, bail and other money received in court; Take affidavits and acknowledgments and enters all court proceedings on the Register of Actions; Arrange for interpreters, jury panels, files, papers and exhibits; Prepare and issue subpoenas, citations, bench warrants, attachments and other legal documents that facilitate or execute the actions of the court.
Chambers The judge's chambers is a room near the courtroom that serves as the judge's office. It usually contains a desk where the judge works when the judge is not presiding over a proceeding in the courtroom. The chambers is where a judge reads the motions and other papers that are filed in a case that has been assigned to the judge. The judge also meets in chambers with attorneys and other people about court business. Unlike the courtroom which is open to the public, the judge's chambers is private. People usually must have the judge's permission to enter his or her chambers.
How does someone become juror? To serve as a juror, a person must be: A citizen of the United States; At least 18 years old; Able to read and understand English; A resident of that county or parish. Not convicted of a felony. Citizens are called to serve by being randomly selected from either the Department of Motor Vehicles list, or the Registrar-Recorder list of registered voters.
Witness Stand A witness is someone who is called to testify in a court trial or hearing about information or knowledge he or she might have about the case. A witness must swear under oath that the testimony is true and accurate to the best of the witness's knowledge. When a witness is testifying, he or she must sit in the witness stand next to the judge's bench. A witness must answer questions of the attorneys who represent the plaintiff and the defendant.
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