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How do judges make their decision?

I ask this because I want to know a little bit more of law, so i know what im getting myself into.

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Matthew’s Answer

It all depends. There are many different kinds of judges and they preside over different kinds of cases/motions/etc. For example, a trial court will preside over many motions prior to the case going to trial. And, many of those decisions might be taken up to a court of Appeals where a panel of judges will sit in review of those decisions. Judges have a very important duty to remain impartial arbitrators, but they do bring with them their own experiences/perspectives/beliefs, etc. Not only do lower court judges need to have a firm understanding of the relevant legal principles, they also need to gauge the credibility of witnesses that appear before them. At the reviewing court level, judges often have clerks who prepare memos/outlines/briefs which outline key issues and legal principles for them. Basically, there is not one way to judge a case, a judge needs to be well rounded enough to consider all of the facts and law in arriving at a principled decision.
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Wayne’s Answer

Hello Naomi! Judges are seen as logical and rational individuals, capable of applying top-notch reasoning to their verdicts. Throughout history, numerous theories of law and justice have been crafted, each offering a unique view on how laws should be conceived, implemented, and interpreted. These theories span from utilitarianism and legal Realism, to legal Positivism and feminism. It's crucial to understand that a judge's role in decision-making isn't just about following traditional judicial precedents or the Constitution's mandates. Judges adapt the law to fit the ever-evolving shifts in our society's social, cultural, and economic fabric. They might use multiple theories when making their decisions, and it's common for there to be discussions and disagreements about which theory or mix of theories is most fitting for a specific case.

You've got this!

Best wishes,

Wayne.
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DENNIS’s Answer

Hi Namoi: As a lawyer I sometimes wonder about that myself! However, as a general rule, Judges are expected to evaluate the arguments of both sides of any controversy and then using past cases apply the law to the facts and decide which side is right. Both sides usually have good arguments and have supplied past cases to help the Judge decide. Are they always right? No...but that is why there are higher courts you can appeal to until you reach the top court in your state or in the federal system. IT is not an easy job. There are a ton of motions and often the decision has a very serious inpact on the people involved in a case. If you are thinking of a career in law I'd highly recommend it! It is creative, fun and always changing. Enjoy!
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Mackenzie’s Answer

Judges make their decisions based on a combination of legal principles, precedent, statutory interpretation, case facts, and often their own judgment and reasoning. The process can vary depending on the legal system and jurisdiction, but here's a general overview of how judges make decisions:

Applying the Law: Judges begin by reviewing the relevant laws, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents (previous court decisions) that pertain to the case at hand. The legal framework provides the foundation for their decision-making.
Precedent: Judges often follow the principle of stare decisis, which means they adhere to previous legal decisions (precedents) when deciding similar cases. Precedent helps maintain consistency and predictability in the legal system.
Interpretation: If the law is unclear or ambiguous, judges must interpret its meaning. They analyze the legislative intent, context, and purpose of the law to determine its application.
Case Facts: Judges carefully review the facts of the case presented by the parties. The facts help judges apply legal principles to real-life situations and assess how they align with precedent.
Arguments of the Parties: Judges consider the arguments presented by the attorneys representing the parties involved in the case. These arguments help the judge understand the legal issues from different perspectives.
Legal Analysis: Judges engage in legal analysis, which involves applying the relevant laws and precedents to the facts of the case. They assess how previous cases are analogous or distinguishable from the current case.
Balancing Factors: In some cases, judges may need to balance competing legal principles, rights, or interests. They consider the implications of their decision on the broader legal system and society.
Policy Considerations: Judges might consider broader policy considerations and societal implications when making decisions. These considerations can influence how they interpret the law and apply it to the case.
Discretion: In some situations, judges have discretion to make decisions based on their own judgment. For instance, they might have discretion in sentencing or determining appropriate remedies.
Writing Opinions: After reaching a decision, judges typically write opinions that explain the legal reasoning behind their ruling. These opinions provide guidance to lower courts, lawyers, and the public.
Collegial Decision-Making (Appellate Courts): In appellate courts, decisions are often made by panels of judges rather than a single judge. Panel members discuss and deliberate to arrive at a collective decision.
Respect for Precedent: Judges are generally cautious about departing from established precedent. If a judge believes that a precedent should be overturned, they might write a dissenting opinion or join other judges in advocating for change.
It's important to note that judges' decisions can be influenced by their legal philosophy, personal values, and interpretations of the law. While they strive to uphold the law objectively, the human element can still play a role in their decision-making process.
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