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Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial?

By Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – H. Michel Steinberg

Deciding Between A Colorado Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial requires the considering of many factors which are addressed by Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney – H. Michel Steinberg in this article.

Judge Trial Or Jury Trial?
Judge Trial Or Jury Trial?

The Constitutional Right To “Waive” A Jury Trial

A defendant – charged with a crime in Colorado that has the option of requesting a jury trial – or a so called “bench trial” that is – a trial to only a judge – has much to consider.

Some of the MAIN CONSIDERATIONS in making this decision are:

Who is the judge – what is th judge’s reputation and track record in bench trials?

Is the pro-law enforcement – or is the judge fair and will give you a fair shake in a trial that might not appeal to a jury. Judges usually have extensive histories and the judges most likely to find a person not guilty are known to seasoned Colorado criminal defense lawyers.

What Is the Nature of the Defense? 

If the defense is “technical” that is a defenses based on an interpretation of the technical aspects of the law – these “work” better in judge trials – not jury trials. Jurors are more sympathetic to defenses that attack the prosecutor or the nature of the charges. Juries also make decisions based on emotion for the most part and can “nullify” – or acquit in fairness – even when the evidence supports a conviction, but the DA himself – or herself is unjust or excessive -or the defendant is very likable; or law enforcement end of the case or the victim simply offend the jury.

Judges will never nullify. They will almost always go “by the book.”

Issues of Believability – The Credibility Card – Police Witnesses – Sympathetic Witnesses

Judges are more likely to believe police officers – but a judge will carefully scrutinize a sympathetic, but weak witness insufficient beyond a reasonable doubt – and therefore will not convict. 

A Judge Is Not An Insulated Finder of Fact – The Judge Hears ALL of the Evidence Included Excluded Evidence

A judge knows all of the evidence in a case – even evidence that has been suppressed. This includes knowledge of a defendant’s prior criminal history.  If certain evidence has been tainted and would not be admissible or if a defendant has an extensive criminal history – the judge will know about the evidence.  A jury will be insulated from it. These are critical factors to consider.

Why Choose A Bench Trial? – When Plea Bargaining Breaks Down 

At times there is no possible legal defense to the charges, but the DA will make no offer to settle to plea bargain – the case. Under these circumstances – a bench or judge only trial avoids a lengthy jury trial. If and when convicted – a defendant Can use the bench trial to educate the judge as to matters of mitigation – or extenuating factors that are brought out during the trial in favor of the defendant.

Bench Trials Should Be Avoided If Possible – Do NOT Waive A Jury Trial Unless There Is No Other Choice

In tough cases – bench trials are really “slow guilty pleas” and should only be chosen as vehicle – noted above to convince the judge that the case is not aggravated, or is a close case, mandating a lighter sentence.

Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial – Conclusion

Bench trials are far less common than jury trials. Experienced and seasoned Colorado criminal defense lawyers know that bench trials should only be taken if there are extremely complicated legal and evidentiary issues to discuss or that the facts are highly inflammatory and would offend the sensibilities of the jury.. As in a brutal murder, child molestation case – or homicide.

Please call our law firm if you have questions about ..

Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial

H. Michael Steinberg has been a Colorado criminal law specialist attorney for 30 years (as of 2012). For the first 13 years of his career, he was an Arapahoe – Douglas County District Attorney Senior  prosecutor. In 1999 he formed his own law firm for the defense of Colorado criminal cases.

In addition to handling tens of thousands of cases in the trial courts of Colorado, he has written hundreds of articles regarding the practice of Colorado criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on the Fox News Channel, CNN and Various National and Local Newspapers and Radio Stations.  Please call him at your convenience at 720-220-2277. 

If you have questions about Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial in the Denver metropolitan area and throughout Colorado, attorney H. Michael Steinberg will be pleased to answer those questions and to provides quality legal representation to those charged in Colorado with adult and juvenile criminal matters.. as regards Judge Trial Or A Jury Trial…


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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
DTC Quadrant Building
5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4
Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
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