Should You Request a Jury Trial in Essex County Criminal Court?
Posted by Scott Gorman - November 16, 2020

If you are facing a criminal charge in Essex County, you have the ability to choose whether your case will be tried by a judge or jury. If you opt for a “bench trial,” the judge will hear the facts of your case, and then he or she will decide whether the prosecutor’s office has met its burden of proving your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if you choose a jury trial, then the outcome of your case will be determined by a jury of your peers. When you hire an Essex County criminal defense attorney, one of the first questions your attorney will help you answer is: Should you request a trial by jury?

What are the Benefits of Requesting a Jury Trial?

Depending on the circumstances of your criminal case, requesting a jury trial can potentially afford you a number of benefits. For example, some of the main benefits of requesting a jury trial include:

  • You get to pick some of the jurors. When a defendant requests a jury trial in Essex County, both the defense and the prosecution get to be involved in selecting the jurors who will hear the defendant’s case.
  • The jury must reach a unanimous decision. If any single juror remains unconvinced that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, then the judge will be forced to declare a mistrial.
  • A jury trial affords more opportunities for appeal. If you are convicted by a jury of your peers, the additional procedures involved in a jury trial will afford more potential opportunities for challenging your conviction on appeal.

What are the Benefits of a Bench Trial in Essex County?

However, while requesting a jury trial affords these benefits (among others), in some cases, a bench trial may still be your best option. Some of the reasons to consider a bench trial include:

  • Your case involves complex factual or legal issues. If the issues involved in your case are particularly complex, an experienced judge may be more well-equipped to objectively assess your criminal culpability.
  • Your case involves allegations of violence or another serious offense. If you have been accused of aggravated assault, domestic violence, a crime involving a child, or any serious offense, jurors may be more predisposed to a finding of guilt—whether they realize it or not. However, a judge will still be able to focus solely on the relevant facts and law in reaching a decision.
  • There is a risk of bias. If there is concern that the jury would be biased against you, then it may be in your best interests to put the outcome of your case in the hands of a judge who has sworn to uphold the law.

Request a Free Initial Consultation with Essex County Criminal Defense Attorney Scott Gorman

These are complicated issues, and making an informed decision about whether to request a jury trial requires significant legal experience. To discuss your case with Essex County criminal defense attorney Scott Gorman in confidence, call The Gorman Law Firm at 201-489-9199 or request a free initial consultation online today.

Published in Categories: Criminal Defense