In the criminal justice system, the most well-known and powerful player by far is the judge. Everyone is aware of where the judge sits in the courtroom, what the judge wears and that fact that he or she is in charge of the courtroom they currently preside over. It is clear that the judge is the face of our legal system and represents justice in the United States. According to the American Bar Association (ABA) (https://www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_justice/publications/criminal_justice_section_archive/crimjust_standards_trialjudge/), in order to maintain this status there are a lot of rules and regulations that a judge must abide by.
First of all, the judge must show that he or she is an impartial person in all legal proceedings. This requires that the judge not show any bias or prejudice towards any group of people. As a result, the judge cannot participate in any organizations or groups that show obvious bias towards any group of people. The judge also must not allow any social or political beliefs to impact his or her ability to stay impartial. To add to this, the judge should not become familiar with anyone involved in a case, whether it be the defendant, any of the witnesses, victims, or any family members of any of these people. According to the ABA – American Bar Association
The judge also has a duty to treat all parties with equal respect and consideration. In order to maintain impartial to each party involved, it is necessary that all parties be present whenever one party presents something to the judge. Generally, one party of a case cannot speak to the judge without all other parties being notified. If this practice were allowed, this would create the image of impartiality.
Another duty the judge has is to maintain order and proper decorum in the courtroom and to help preserve the public’s opinion of the United States legal system. Judges must do this by, first, being an example of the order that they would like to see in the courtroom. They must be on time and willing to listen to all parties. They must also be willing to interrupt to obtain order in the courtroom and to ensure a fair trial. If there is a need to, they can remove anyone who is disrupting the courtroom.
Of course, the judge also needs to be able to perform his or her job well. This means not only staying impartial and maintain proper dignity, it means being familiar with all the correct codes, standards and specific rules that exist and are currently in effect in their jurisdiction. They must have complex knowledge about many different situations and individuals in order to reduce bias and to be able to make the best decision possible.
The judge can also have an educational role in the courtroom. The judge also has the obligation to inform the jury about the law in the case that they are present in. He or she also has to inform the courtroom about what rules are expected to be followed in the courtroom and the consequences if these rules are not followed.
Author Brittaney Byers
Brittaney Byers is a current court reporting student intern at Cady Reporting. She is currently in her final speeds at Cuyahoga Community College and hoping to graduate in May 2018. Brittaney has been featured in the National Court Reporters Association’s student publication Up-To-Speed as the Student Spotlight in October 2017. After graduating, Brittaney hopes to either become a freelance court reporter taking depositions, or an official court reporter working in a courtroom. When she is not practicing or doing homework, she enjoys playing the piano and caring for her cat, Kiara.