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Jury trial

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Definition Edit

A jury trial (or trial by jury) is a legal proceeding in which a jury either makes a decision or makes findings of fact which are then applied by a judge. It is distinguished from a bench trial, in which a judge or panel of judges make all decisions.

Overview Edit

English common law and the U.S. Constitution recognize the right to a jury trial to be a fundamental civil liberty or civil right that allows the accused to choose whether to be judged by judges or a jury. The use of jury trials evolved within common law systems rather than civil law systems. Jury trials are of far less importance (or of no importance) in countries that do not have a common law system.

Juries usually weigh the evidence and testimony to determine questions of fact, while judges usually rule on questions of law. Jury determination of questions of law, sometimes called jury nullification, may lead to the overturning of a verdict by the judge.

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