Why Trial by Jury is Usually a Better Choice than a Bench Trial

From: HG

Ever wonder the difference between a jury trial and a bench trial?

This information from HG is helpful.

Why One Might Choose a Bench Trial

A case decided by a judge without the assistance of a jury is often referred to as a “bench trial.” In bench trials, the judge takes on two roles: that of the referee who rules on the admissibility of evidence and decides questions of law, and that of the finder of fact who ultimately determines how much weight to give the testimony of different witnesses and the credibility of the evidence. Some cases must be handled by a judge in a bench trial.

These include cases that present only questions of law or equity (such as divorces, child custody cases, foreclosures, actions for permanent injunctions, and others). Cases that allow the option of a trial by jury usually include those in which the ultimate goal is the payment of money to compensate for injuries or damages.

Some litigators and parties might prefer bench trials if they have a particularly complicated case that they believe may confuse a jury. Bench trials may also be an excellent option for largely unliked parties (such as homeowners associations, insurance companies, or unpopular political organizations). Bench trials tend to have outcomes more favorable to defendants, thus defense attorneys (particularly in insurance defense) often recommend bench trials to their clients to avoid the enormous verdicts juries have sometimes granted to sympathetic injury victims.

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