30 Crazy Laws That All Judges Must Follow

By Jessica O'Neil 8 months ago

Judges must be impartial during all aspects of the trial

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A judge cannot have any sort of bias during trial proceedings. Their personal experiences or beliefs should not influence the outcome of a trial and cannot be a significant factor in sentencing or rulings. Judges should not be able to benefit from any order during a case, and they should not let factors like race, religion, or gender impact fair decision-making.

A judge must interpret the law as it was intended and written

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Judges cannot take liberties with the law. They cannot use anything beyond fair, impartial discretion when using the law to decide someone’s fate. This means that they are not allowed to give folks special treatment, and it is their duty to assess all legal matters under the constraints and expectations of written law.

Judges cannot give in to bribes or external social pressures

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Judges are human beings, which means they are likely often met with all sorts of temptations. However, a judge cannot accept a bribe for a favorable court outcome, or choose an outcome that directly influences their wealth or benefits them in any way.

Judges must allow due process to take place

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Due process is what gives you the legal right to a fair trial, which includes various tenets. You are entitled to notice, a hearing, an impartial judge, and the presumption of innocence until a guilty ruling is struck. Judges must uphold all of the rules, giving you the chance to safely plead your case and control any witnesses from the plaintiff’s side.

Judicial discretion is a must

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A judge attends many years of formal education to gain their position as a leader in justice. They are taught from day one how to think critically and interpret the law, which gives them the power to decide the outcome of a case based on the information given and their ability to successfully use the law to determine guilt or innocence.

Judges cannot discuss certain aspects of their work with family members

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Though you may want to destress from a long day at court by talking about your day with your partner, this isn’t always allowed. Some cases, such as those concerning minors or that have heavily classified information, must be kept confidential from the public. Judges are bound to this secrecy just like lawyers, plaintiffs, and defendants.

Judges cannot run for political office

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You’ll never see an active judge as a president or senator. This is because they cannot hold any position where they have power over changing the law to benefit themselves and their rulings. Should a judge want to run for office, they must immediately resign from their judicial duties.

A judge cannot always accept a gift

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Whether the gift has pure intention or not, a judge cannot accept a present that appears to undermine law or legal proceedings. Any gifts accepted are immediately regarded as an offer for the judiciary and must be directed toward the Office of the General Counsel.

Education for judges doesn’t end in college

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Judges are required to know the law like the back of their hand, and this means studying and learning is an endless part of their career. Certain states have specific continuing education requirements for judges. The National Judicial College allows judges to take programs to refresh their knowledge and stay sharp.

Precedent must be respected

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Though judges do have judicial discretion, they must always pay attention to the outcomes of various cases that have impacted the widespread interpretation of specific laws. Judges are expected to listen to and follow the decisions of higher courts, which provides stability and fairness for all parties involved.

Maintaining the confidence of the public is crucial

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If the general public believes you are not working in their best interests, you will probably not remain a judge for very long. Judges are required to be the face of the law, and this includes acting as such in their personal lives. They must show the public that they always act in a lawful manner and their behavior will always uphold the integrity of the law and what they require from others.

A judge must be neutral at all times

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Even if a judge has a personal reason why they do not agree with your side of the case, they cannot serve you a punishment based on emotions like jealousy, rage, or pity. For example, if a case has to do with adultery and a judge has been cheated on in their personal life, they cannot inflict a harsher punishment on a party because they wish to exercise some semblance of revenge.

All rulings must take every piece of applicable evidence into account

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A judge cannot pick and choose which piece of evidence they want to examine or pay attention to. Even if the evidence is stressful for a judge to review or is time-consuming, they must give it the same level of attention they would give simpler pieces of evidence.

Judges can’t take their sweet time making a decision

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A judge cannot indefinitely delay making a ruling or decision for no valid reason. It is one of their ethical responsibilities to conduct their court proceedings in a timely manner. It can be an injustice to those who remain in jail while on trial to be imprisoned or detained any longer than necessary.

Pre-trial and trial procedures must be followed to a T

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These procedures include scheduling court appearances, along with reviewing and accepting court filings from parties on either side. A judge must choose the location of the case, engage in pre-trial conferences with all parties, and take care to resolve pre-trial motions. During a trial, they must advise and review selected jury members and uphold proper courtroom conduct.

They must recuse themselves if they have a personal connection to the case

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A judge cannot rule over a case where it is impossible for them to be impartial. If a judge is introduced to a case that involves a loved one, family member, or financial institution that benefit from, they must recuse themselves and hand the case over to a different judge.

A judge must be calm and respectful in court

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Only television judges will throw jabs at plaintiffs and defendants or start screaming obscenities at the parties involved. Real judges can be found in contempt of court if they engage in such behavior. A respectful, calm environment allows justice to be served and the truth to come out, with little to no distractions.

Any conflicts of interest must be disclosed before the beginning of the trial

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After a judge reviews the details of a case, they must decide if they have the capacity to properly provide adequate judicial discretion. Even if they don’t have a personal connection to the case, there are other reasons a judge may find themself in conflict, such as ruling over a matter that involves a celebrity or athlete they are partial to.

A judge is required to inform you of all your rights

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A judge cannot keep your rights from you to sway the case in one direction or another. They must disclose to you all the rights you have as a plaintiff or a defendant, and they have to let you know if any of your rights were infringed upon in the events that led you to be in court.

A judge cannot maintain investments that interfere with their position

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A judge is able to invest in the stock market, purchase real estate, buy gold, and hold other investments, but they are not allowed to trade with organizations they may rule over in the future. This means if a judge regularly deals with property law, they cannot hold investments from business owners they have purchased or rented real estate from.

Sentencing is not a free-for-all all

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A judge cannot pick a sentence length off the top of their head, or require you to pay a fine based on how much money they personally see as a fit punishment. Consequences for breaking a law are clearly outlined, and a judge must refer to these rules first before deciding on an appropriate sentence. They cannot exceed the maximum punishment for the crime committed even if they believe you deserve a harsher sentence.

Judges must ensure all court records are accurate

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The job of your lawyer is to convince the judge to rule in your favor, but this doesn’t mean they can hand faulty documents to a judge for the sake of gaining the upper hand. A judge must thoughtfully review all documents and determine which are admissible and true. Accepting faulty evidence or documents can lead to a mistrial.

Vulnerable populations require protection

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Judges cannot impartially rule a case where it is obvious that a minority person or group does not have the same conditions as an opposing party. This means providing minors, the mentally ill, and the elderly with the legal conditions needed to have a totally fair trial.

Judges must stay professional at all times

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Your judge cannot be someone who is incapable of professional behavior both inside and outside of the courtroom. This means dressing appropriately, not allowing themselves to get inebriated beyond their control, and using the proper channels to advance or deny a case.

A judge cannot lie during court proceedings

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Honesty is the best policy, and for judges, they have a distinct ethical responsibility to be honest in their profession. If a judge has been found dishonest, they can face disciplinary action, like removal from the case or banishment from the bench.

A felon can become a judge

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Yup, that’s right! Even someone who has previously broken the law can be a judge. Though many legal positions require a background check, there is no specific law saying a felon cannot hold this specific position. They must attend the same schooling as other judges and pass the state bar test.

Judges should encourage mediation when possible

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Judges are required to always find the absolute best resolution for a matter, which can include asking both parties if they would like to participate in mediation rather than going forward with a formal court trial. A judge should always explore all avenues instead of proceeding so that they have one more interesting case on their docket.

They have a responsibility to enforce all orders of judgement

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Should you go against the requirements of a ruling, a judge must make sure you pay the consequences. They cannot give you special treatment because they feel bad that you broke your parole. In order to maintain the legitimacy of the court, they must remain steadfast in the details of their ruling.

A code of ethics must be followed

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Judges must follow a stern code of ethics that is outlined before they are on the bench. The government has a specific set of rules for judges to ensure that they are operating with the best intentions and not using their power for evil or personal gain.

They must choose their own judicial officers

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Many states require a judge to choose their own judicial officers. This depends on jurisdiction and the election processes specific to each area. They are free to choose officers like magistrates or officers. With that said, is is clear judges have a lot of power in their profession, so it is important for you to be aware of who the judges are in your area and make sure they are acting in the best interests of the people.