What does a judge do?

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Judges administer the legal process and oversee court proceedings to ensure that they are fair and comply with the law. Judges currently work on cases in local (in spanish: actualidad sobre tramas locales), state, and federal courts and are appointed or elected. A law degree and experience working as an attorney are required for most judge positions.

Judge hammer


Judges must read and research a lot. They should research laws and case histories relevant to the cases before them, and they should keep abreast of changes in the law. In addition, they should read and evaluate evidence, motions, and records specific to the cases they are hearing. Judges should be able to take all relevant research, evidence, and testimony and apply it to cases in court.

Trials and hearings

Judges preside over trials and hearings. They apply the rules of the court and listen to the arguments of the lawyers, receive and review evidence, and listen to the testimony of witnesses. Throughout the trial, judges must make precise decisions about whether evidence or testimony is admissible and relevant to the trial. Throughout the judicial process, judges must remain impartial. They must set aside all personal feelings and beliefs and make all decisions and rulings based on the relevant evidence and laws. In addition, a judge should not preside over a case if it involves your family, friends, or former or current employees or business partners. In such cases, the judge "recuses" herself and asks another judge to handle the matter.


In jury trials, the judge instructs the jury on the relevant law and how to consider the evidence. If the jury finds the defendant guilty, the judge will issue a sentence that may include a fine, jail time, or both. In non-jury trials, the judge decides, based on the evidence, whether the defendant is guilty and issues a verdict and sentence. In civil trials, the judge determines whether the plaintiff or defendant presented the strongest case. He or she then determines how much damage to award the winning party.

Probation and Work Release

Judges perform many duties outside the courtroom. For example, if a criminal violates his or her probation or parole, the judge can revoke the probation and sentence the individual to prison. In some cases, judges work on probation boards and grant probation to offenders serving prison sentences. They also review and make decisions about prisoners' requests for work release based on state and federal work release laws and criteria.

Family Law

Some judges specialize in family law cases. They must make decisions about child custody and property division during a divorce. These judges may also oversee "orphan court," an old term for handling wills and estates to ensure that a decedent's wishes are followed. They also oversee juvenile trials. These trials do not have juries, so the judge not only ensures that the trial is conducted fairly, but also sentences and convicts the juvenile offenders.

Other Duties

Judges also issue search warrants, arrest warrants, and restraining orders. They set bail for people accused of crimes or decide that they should remain in jail until the trial is completed. Appellate judges review cases and determine whether a previous trial was fair and followed the correct procedure and legal process. If not, these judges may overturn a judgment or allow the case to be retried. Other administrative tasks may include creating budgets for the courts. Some judges also supervise other judges and courtroom staff.

A judge's primary duty is to enforce the law and see that justice is done. Together with the jury, judges analyze and interpret all of the evidence in a court of law regarding cases so that they can render a fair verdict and sentence when necessary. They act as impartial mediators in the courts of law, participating in hearings, civil litigation cases, among others.

Something very peculiar about judges is that they are not hired, but elected. When a lawyer solicits a jury, he submits his cases to a court where they face an evaluation with respect to their work, moral values, and integrity. There can only be so many judges at a time in a single district, so applicants may have to wait for an older judge to retire before a vacancy is opened.


It almost goes without saying that a key characteristic of a judge is his impartiality. They must analyze situations and cases from all perspectives in order to make an impartial decision.

Primary responsibilities

Here is a non-exhaustive list of common tasks that judges must complete.

Supervise cases in courts of law, enforce the applicable code of conduct, and uphold laws and procedures:

Explain applicable laws and technical terms to jurors

Hearing complaints from the accusing and defending parties

Decision on the admissibility of evidence

Informing defendants of their rights

Analyze all aspects of each case, hear testimony and consider evidence presented during the case.

Reviewing cases to ensure that no detail has been overlooked;

  • using a solid evidence-based trial to make the right decision, without a jury, to reach a verdict in favor of one of the parties;
  • Deciding on an appropriate punishment in criminal cases and making appropriate decisions in civil cases
  • Decide on the terms of detention of defendants during criminal cases.
  • Maintain an impartial stance in a court of law and defend all human and civil rights.
  • Approve search and arrest warrants.
  • Monitoring the activities of legal secretaries and judicial officers.
  • Meeting with lawyers to discuss cases and encourage settlement.
  • Establishing judicial rules and procedures.
  • Conducting marriage ceremonies and issuing marriage licenses.
  • Presiding over divorce cases, dividing assets according to the individual circumstances of each case.
  • Granting child custody during divorce cases to one parent, depending on the circumstances.
  • Drafting clear and concise bank memoranda and other legal documents.


Seeing court news and trial news (in spanish: noticias de tribunales y novedades sobre juicios) is important to further understand the work of these men and women who dedicate their lives to bringing order.

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