Do judges have discretion?

Asked by: Dr. Krista Brown  |  Last update: September 11, 2022
Score: 4.9/5 (2 votes)

Judicial discretion refers to a judge's power to make a decision based on his or her individualized evaluation, guided by the principles of law. Judicial discretion gives courts immense power which is exercised when legislature allows for it.

Should judges have discretion?

Judicial Discretion Definition

Its judicious use increases fairness and can help to promote an equitable legal process by allowing the judge to consider individual circumstances in instances when the law is insufficient or silent.

How does a judge abuse his discretion?

Examples of "abuse of discretion" or judges' mistakes include not allowing an important witness to testify, making improper comments that might influence a jury, showing bias, or making rulings on evidence that deny a person a chance to tell his or her side of the matter.

Who has the right of discretion?

Introduction. Judicial Discretion is one of the important powers of the judiciary where the judges can take decisions in some matter without following any fixed rule or established law. The concept of discretionary power is an instance which shows the independence of our judiciary.

What is an example of judicial discretion?

Judges could take into account various mitigating factors (circumstances reducing the degree of blame or fault attributed to the offender) and craft a punishment that most appropriately fit the crime. For example, a first-time petty offender convicted of shoplifting might be sentenced to PAROLE and community service.

The Limits of Judicial Discretion

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Why are judges given discretion?

“By employing the discretion of a judge to impose the appropriate sentence in the specific case before them, it allows that sentence to better achieve all of the goals of sentencing, including deterrence, rehabilitation, and denunciation.”

Why do judges need discretion?

From the standpoint of the distinction between having and exercising discretion, according to the natural language approach, judges have discretion because of ambiguity and vagueness. Moreover, judges exercise discretion when deciding issues of ambiguity and vagueness.

Do judges use opinions?

The requirement that judges be impartial is the bedrock of our system of justice. Judges always should keep an open mind in deciding matters, free of personal opinions or campaign promises. When judges refrain from expressing opinions outside the courtroom, our laws and constitution remain supreme.

Who has discretionary power?

Discretionary authority may proceed from two sources. may be conferred on a person or a body of persons by the action of the legislature by statute, or it may be based upon convention; but whatever the source, it is exercised in both cases with impunity from outside interference.

What is discretionary judgement?

The exercise of discretion and independent judgment implies that one has authority to make an independent choice, free from immediate direction or supervision. However, discretion and independent judgment can be exercised even if the decision or recommendation is reviewed at a higher level.

What can judges not do?

A judge should not allow family, social, political, financial, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment.

Do judges make mistakes?

The judge must have made a mistake in applying the law to the facts of the case or must have reached a decision that is clearly unjust. Family court cases are also sometimes reversed based upon decisions to include or exclude certain evidence by the court.

What constitutes grave abuse of discretion?

The term grave abuse of discretion is defined as a capricious and whimsical exercise of judgment so patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner because of passion or hostility.

Do judges see through lies?

Judges are only human. The judge will do his or her best to determine who is telling the truth, but the judge doesn't know either of you very well. The judge may conclude that your ex is lying and, if so, this will certainly affect how the judge rules in the...

How much power does a judge have?

In common-law legal systems such as the one used in the United States, judges have the power to punish misconduct occurring within a courtroom, to punish violations of court orders, and to enforce an order to make a person refrain from doing something.

Why is discretion necessary?

Why is discretion important in the criminal justice system? Discretion is important in the criminal justice system because it fosters judicial economy. If officers had to ask permission from judges for every decision they were faced with, this would be inefficient and costly.

What is discretion in the courtroom?

Primary tabs. Judicial discretion refers to a judge's power to make a decision based on his or her individualized evaluation, guided by the principles of law. Judicial discretion gives courts immense power which is exercised when legislature allows for it.

Who has discretionary powers in the criminal justice system?

Discretion is the power of officials to act according to the dictates of their own judgment and conscience. Discretion is abused when the judicial action is arbitrary, fanciful, or unreasonable. If the plaintiff or the defendant thinks that the trial court judge has abused the discretion, the party can appeal the case.

What do you mean by discretion?

Definition of discretion

1a : individual choice or judgment left the decision to his discretion. b : power of free decision or latitude of choice within certain legal bounds reached the age of discretion.

What is judicial impartiality?

In this article, I argue that at its core, the invocation of “judicial impartiality” in political discourse speaks to an ideal of fairness: an impartial judge is a person who acts in a fair manner toward all parties in a case appearing before them.

Do judges decide cases on the basis of what they personally think is right?

Judges are using their own opinions to decide cases, and their opinions are shaped by their background,” she said. “So background really matters, from their experiences to where they grew up.

Do justices write their own opinions?

If a Justice agrees with the outcome of the case, but not the majority's rationale for it, that Justice may write a concurring opinion. Any Justice may write a separate dissenting opinion. When there is a tie vote, the decision of the lower Court stands.

What does judicial discretion allow?

Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the ability of judges to exercise discretion is an aspect of judicial independence. Where appropriate, judicial discretion allows a judge to decide a legal case or matter within a range of possible decisions.

Is the judiciary independent?

It is vitally important in a democracy that individual judges and the judiciary as a whole are impartial and independent of all external pressures and of each other so that those who appear before them and the wider public can have confidence that their cases will be decided fairly and in accordance with the law.

How do you prove abuse of discretion?

Some common examples of abuse of discretion are:
  1. Not allowing a certain witness to testify.
  2. Showing bias toward the accused.
  3. Making flawed rulings on evidence that stifle one side's rights.
  4. Influencing the jury to reach a certain verdict.
  5. Sentences that are far too harsh for the offense.