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Court Trial-- Jury or Judge?


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I wanted to make a poll, but I don't see how to do that....So... if you have an opinion or experience, please post a quickie note.

If your case were or did get to the trial phase, which would or should you pick: Trial by Jury or Judge/Court?

I been reading there can by benefits and downsides to both. What is your opinion?

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Jury every time. Judges will pick you apart on legal technicalities, you'll get more sympathy from six people who hate banks and credit card companies. Also, it takes a lot longer to get a jury trial, so you buy some time, which allows you to make sure that there isn't anything for them to get if they win.

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Guest usctrojanalum

Tbh, it really depends on politics - and we're not supposed to talk about them here. I will say this, and only this. If the judge is a democrat, it's okay to go judge. Same thing goes for the jury. If the jury pool is going to be selected from an area that is mainly republican, I'd want to avoid that jury. If the jury and judge are both republican, I"d probably go jury because sometimes the public can be swayed in some ways in which a Judge can't. A judge is supposed to be blind when it comes to justice, that is not always the case for a jury.

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I have often wondered though if a jury will comprehend the technicalities.

For example, if faced with account statements that went to the address where the defendant claims they lived at the time, I can see jurors wondering how the defendant does not owe that debt, authenticated or not.

I'm not certain what instructions are given to the jury in debt cases, or what issues they are supposed to decide vs the judge.

I guess in some cases, you might prefer to have to get 6 people to agree

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i had the same question before.

i think you have to weigh whether you are proceeding pro-se or have an attorney.

its a tough call, in my fed case i had decided i was going to skip jury trial and go for a bench trial but the case settled.

its a tough decision as a pro-se. you may not be able to get the jury on your side especially if you're doing everything by yourself. like has been mentioned, the judge needs to follow the law, and the judge knows that pro se pleadings must be taken liberally, and may loosen the local court procedures. (things like objections and laying foundation during trial, etc) in a jury trial you may not get that option.

but i think there are too many variables, i say do some research on your judge and see how he has reacted to pro-se litigants in the past. thats what i did and was determined to go with a judge trial

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That's why you have to have a good argument and know how to present it to the jury. Let the opposing lawyer drag out all the boring statements, bills, etc. You have to have something juicy to give them. Convince the jury that the credit card company is no better than Hitler. Show how they manipulate the law to their advantage, while evading that same law themselves. Make them look like what they are and use that against them.

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That's why you have to have a good argument and know how to present it to the jury. Let the opposing lawyer drag out all the boring statements, bills, etc. You have to have something juicy to give them. Convince the jury that the credit card company is no better than Hitler. Show how they manipulate the law to their advantage, while evading that same law themselves. Make them look like what they are and use that against them.

In other words jury nullification.

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Jury's can be tough for a ProSe, if you are the plaintiff for state violations. If the case ever gets that far there is a need to draft jury instructions in some jurisdictions.

There is also the actual trial procedures. You are now playing a sport that you have only watched or read the rules and have no practice time yourself. Knowing when and how to object, knowing what you can and cannot say in front of the jury, and of knowing from experience what juries react negatively towards.

The idea sounds romantic but the practical application can be messy.

If you are plaintiff, get a lawyer if you want a jury. If you are defendant, weight the benefits against the risk. Certainly not a no brainer.

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For every juror who hates banks, there is one or more that was raised to believe that good people pay their bills, and if you don't, you are a deadbeat loser. And they have paid all their debts all their life, so why can't you?

The creditor's attorney will use voir dire to stack the jury with people like that.

There is also the problem of inadmissible evidence that the jury sees/hears (like statements with your name and address) while you say "Objection!" The jurors may not understand the rules of evidence. Even if your objection is sustained, will the jurors really ignore it?

IMO, a jury trial would be a major challenge for a pro se.

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