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A Quick Guide to Bench Trials

Bench Trials

In the legal system, there are several different types of trials that occur. In the lower courts, one of the most common types of trials is a bench trial. A bench trial is a court trial in which two parties are brought before a judge to present their respective cases and evidence. In this type of trial a jury is not present; the judge is the only official who presides over the case, and can speak directly to both parties. Bench trials are a frequent occurrence regarding civil trial issues. Civil trials are trials in which the dispute is primarily over money, payments, contract breaches, and various other issues that are not necessarily considered to be criminal acts. In a bench trial, both parties are allowed to present the evidence they have for proving their innocence and proving the guilt of the other part. Often, in bench trials, there is an initial lawsuit that is put forth, and a counter-suit. The judge listens to both arguments made by the respective parties and takes into consideration all of the evidence that is presented in these cases. The evidence often consists of various correspondences between the parties, whether they were via email, letters, or legal documents, as well as the different types of record that are kept, and receipts. Often these types of court cases are considerably shorter in duration, because there is not deliberation necessary to reach a verdict; the verdict is cast down is the sole decision of the judge presiding over the case.

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