Bench Trial vs Jury Trial

High profile cases being spread through the media attracting massive attention. Cases such as the Sean Bell shooting, Amadou Diallo, and these trials were spread all throughout television which sometimes doesn’t fall in the favor of the defendant. There are two types of trials a bench trial also known as a court trail and a jury trial. NYS procedural law 260. 10, states that every criminal depending on the crime must be trialed with 12 randomly selected jurors. The bench trial is another term for a judge trial without the jurors. The bench trial is conducted in this fashion; both parties present their evidence or make their opening statement.

After the plaintiff finishes presenting his evidence, the defendant presents her case. When the defendant is finish with her presentation the plaintiff can rebuttal, but rebuttals aren’t often made. The judge then prepares to make his decision. It may take hours or weeks for the judge to make his decision as he carefully reviews the evidence brought to the court. (wisegeek. com). You might have seen a bench trial conducted with the officers involved in the Sean Bell shooting. In my opinion moving to a bench trial for this high profile case was the right choice due to the intensity of it all.

The public as a whole had so much hatred for law enforcement. Citizens of all boroughs had enough as they held protests and marches. The officers ended up being found innocent due to how NYC officers were trained. The judge made the best decision due to the procedural law. If this case was a jury trial my opinion is the officers would have been convicted. The advantages of this type of trial are instead of swaying 6-12 jurors all you have to do is sway one judge with your proof of evidence. It’s harder to convince a majority when everyone has their own opinion.

A bench trial generally proceeds more quickly than a jury trial because there is no jury selection phase. No jury also means there’s no need to sequester the jury and no jury deliberation. Fewer appeals are found in a bench trail because the judge is skilled in procedural law which helps save money and time. The disadvantages are on acquittal there can be no retrial (sixthlaw. com). The defendant has the right to waive a jury trial only if he is not facing murder on the first degree according to procedural law 320. 10. Jury trial where it takes 6-12 jurors to make the decision on whether or not the defendant is guilty or innocent.

Jury selection, which is also called “voir dire”, is the first event of the trial. Citizens of the county where the trial is being held are summoned to court as jurors. (denvercriminalattorney. com). More jurors than what will be needed are called in. The prosecutor and the criminal defense attorney will choose to remove or strike from the jury pool until 12 jurors are left. 6 jurors are needed in a misdemeanor trial. The juror selection is most critical in these types of trials. Both sides cross examine the jurors in order to make the most suitable decision.

Jurors can’t be bias on both ends of the table. Also there can’t be any discrimination of race or ethnicity. After the jurors have been chosen the trial moves to the opening statements, then the witness testimony which the evidence is admitted. The closing arguments follows, which then the verdict is given. The jury instructions include the legal definition of the crime beyond reasonable doubt standard of proof the fact that the burden of proof is on the prosecutor exclusively, that the jury should not hold it against the defendant if he did not testify, and so on (denvercriminalattorney.

com). An example of a jury trial is the O J Simpson case. Mr. Simpson was on trial for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. Simpson had a team of defense attorneys on his side, most famous being Johnny Cochran. He came forth with the famous line “if the gloves don’t fit, you must acquit”. The jurors found the verdict to be not guilty on all charges. This impacted the case in a huge way. People say that O J walked due to the fact that it was a jury trial, he was a famous football star and actor with many fans.

Due to the fact that he was a celebrity, he probably had fans within the jurors which were a huge advantage for him. Even though he was found not guilty on all charges doesn’t make him innocent. A jury trial has many pros and cons. The advantage of having a trial by jury allows a sort of “second trial. ” For example, in the movie Twelve Angry Men, every single jury member voted guilty, except for one. The other eleven men demanded his reasons for voting Not Guilty, and he gave them. In the end, they voted Not Guilty unanimously.

Now, the defendant in question was charged with murder, to which the penalty was death by electrocution. However, the evidence, which most of the jury members did not question, was not as sound as they thought, and the man that voted Not guilty showed them that. If the defendant hadn’t had a jury, then he would have been sentenced to death, whether he was guilty or not, due to the meager and circumstantial evidence (createdebate. com). A jury trial is considered to be what is called a “fair trial” under the constitution of the United States.

The detriments of a jury trial are the jurors either putting their emotions into the trail or their personal experience. For example if it’s a rape case and one of the jurors family members were raped they might act off that initial reaction and want to reach a guilty verdict with no proof of evidence. Where -in a bench trial the judge knows never to get emotionally involved. Jurors do not know about the law and the responsibility that their duties carry. Some might take their job lightly and make a hasty judgment in efforts to get back to their jobs or lives.

A judge, paid to judge cases in as much fairness as possible, would have no distractions and commit his full focus to the case. In my opinion a jury trial is better and more suitable. In a jury trial citizens from the community the crime took place are choose to reach the verdict. There’s a better chance because there’s a number of jurors that discuss the evidence shown and the defendant on whether or not he could’ve committed the crime. Instead of one judge making a iron decision, which if the defendant feels something went wrong with the case there is a slim chance for an appeal.