Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

Want to Be the Next Judge Judy?

If you are a patient person who exercises fairness and possesses good judgment, you may make a good judge. But if you think that this job is limited to what you’ve seen on TV, then you might want to take a deeper look.

When it comes to trials, judges are in charge. During a trial it is a judge’s responsibility to ensure fairness, make sure that the correct procedures are followed, and apply the law in all circumstances. They listen to the attorney’s representation of their clients, evaluate methods of presenting witness testimonies, and decide whether or not evidence is admissible in the court of law. Judges oversee lawyers, deciding what they can and cannot do and settling differences between them. They also inform juries about the law, guide them as they try to evaluate facts and evidence, and listen to their verdict. Some cases do not require a jury trial, and under these circumstances, it is a judge’s responsibility to determine guilt, enforce sentences, or award compensation. Most importantly, in the case of conviction, judges decide an individual’s punishment, such as how long they will go to prison, what conditions they must meet, or how much money they owe another person. While some judges oversee cases involving serious crimes, such as murder, other’s deal with cases involving less serious issues such as traffic laws, family disputes, and financial situations.

If you want to be the next Judge Judy, at the least you have to have a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience. Most judges have law degrees and have practiced as lawyers, but specific requirements can depend on the type of judge one wants to be and the state one wants to practice in. Most states allow individuals who are not lawyers to have limited-jurisdiction judgeships, but all states require that all newly elected or appointed judges go through some type of orientation. This orientation can include judicial education and training provided by the American Bar Association, Federal Judicial Center, National Judicial College, and National Center for State Courts. While judges are serving on the bench, the majority of states require that they take continuing education courses which typically last from a few days to a few weeks. Those who want to become judges are going to need political support, as federal and state judges are either elected or appointed. Once judges are elected or appointed they can serve terms ranging anywhere from a few years to life.

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