Role of a Judge
The judge is responsible for making sure the court proceedings are orderly, follow the law and are fair.
A judge’s duties include controlling any and all facets of the trial, including the introduction of evidence, testimony of witnesses, argument of counsel and deciding on questions of law.
The judge is an impartial figure; indeed, his role is akin to a referee. That is to try and have a fair trial without regard to which side is popular, which side is favored by public opinion, or whether or not the judge agrees with the law.
At the close of the trial, the judge will instruct the jury on the law to follow and apply in reaching a verdict. These are called “Jury Instructions.” That is to say that the Judge gives to the jury instructions as to the law it must apply to the facts it has heard during trial. Ultimately, it is the jury’s responsibility to determine the facts and to apply the law given by the judge to those facts.
In reaching its verdict, a jury should never speculate about how a judge might evaluate the testimony of any witness or any other evidence in the case (or that the judge prefers one verdict over another) based upon the judge’s actions and/or expressions during trial as that responsibility lies exclusively with the jury. Indeed, the worst mistake a judge can make is to indicate to a jury that he or she favors one side over the other.
As explained below in other sections, following the verdict by the jury, the Judge’s role is then to apply principles of law as to costs, fees and other legal matters.