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How far can a judge go while questioning witnesses at a jury trial? Criminal Trials, Hearings

Discussion in 'Criminal Procedure, Criminal Court' started by justiceisajoke, Jul 9, 2014.

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  1. justiceisajoke

    justiceisajoke Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Our son was found guilty of aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment, etc. by a jury. To start, charges that were dismissed at the preliminary hearing by a magistrate were still held against him at the trial, the judge saw it fit to let the jury decide. We have the transcripts from the hearing and they were dropped, not lowered or continued. We know that the DA can and does refile charges, but isn't it our sons right to be notified they've been refiled and to have another preliminary hearing? Even though this man, the 2nd victim, sat on the stand and said my son never touched him (which is why the mag. dropped them), he was still found guilty of these "dropped" charges. The judge was acting as the prosecutor when he asked more than 50 questions during the trial. He would throw the word "clarify" in there most of the time, but 95% of the questions were hurting our sons case. One example: The state trooper that was there the night of the incident took notes from everyone there, the victims brother stated that he saw a black guy that was extremely tall and with hit his brother in the face with a bat and his brother went down. This is vital since at the preliminary hearing the story changed and our son, who is 5'9 and white, was the one who hit him in the face with a bat. Our sons attorney asks the trooper if he stood by his note taking, he stated he did and he wrote everything as it was told to him. The judge then asked the trooper if he swore him in to tell the truth before he took his notes, the trooper stated he did not. In other words, telling the jury to disregard what was said that night because he was not sworn in. He asked numerous questions about the injuries, the amount of blood, the bats, the size of the bats. He would use the term, "I just want to clarify" most of the time, but at times he didn't when he was on a roll. He even brought the victims wife to tears when he kept asking about her husbands injuries and what his face looked like. I know a judge is allowed to ask questions, but he was destroying our sons case. My sons very expensive attorney never objected, we know it is probably because he deals with this judge on a daily basis and did not want to anger him. He told us that the judge is allowed and was only asking questions that the prosecutor, who was not at his best, forgot to ask! We know the judges role in a jury trial is to remain completely UN-biased, to read the jury instructions, let in evidence and so forth and to referee between the two sides. He made it obvious to everyone by his questions that he wanted my son convicted. I was more nervous when he was questioning them than when the prosecutor was, no lie! How far can judges go? And what about the charges that were dropped but he refused to remove? Thank you for your time and any help you can give us!
     
  2. disagreeable

    disagreeable Well-Known Member

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    It is a moot point apparently. As his lawyer felt no objections were warranted and made no motions, there is nothing to appeal. Your son was in attendance at his trial. There is no indication from him he disputed the evidence bought forth.
     
  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    These are all questions to ask of that high dollar attorney. He was there, he knows the details, and he knows the law. All anyone here can do is guess as to what might have happened.
    If your son did not receive a fair trial or something inappropriate was done he might want to consider an appeal.
     
    justiceisajoke likes this.

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