If you are bringing a court case, especially on the civil side, will you automatically get a jury trial? This question stems from another question that is based on the issues of a jury trial versus a bench trial. Both questions are important, especially for those looking to bring a claim through the civil justice system.
Before I answer the question above, you must understand that his issue is one which turns on the specifics of your state’s law. My analysis is based on Maryland law for guidance. If you are not in Maryland, talk with an attorney in your area for more clarity on this issue.
BENCH TRIAL VS. JURY TRIAL?
As I mentioned above, the issue of an automatic jury trial can be traced in a person’s understanding of whether they get to choose between a jury trial vs. a bench trial. With that said, is there a difference between the two?
In a bench trial, there is no jury to decide the facts of the matter. The fact finding will be done by the judge. The judge will also handle all the legal issues which arise during the trial. In a bench trial, the judge performs double duty as fact finder and the arbiter of legal issues. For example, if there are objections which are made during a bench trial, the judge will make the rulings for the legal issues, as well as make ultimate findings of fact.
On the other hand, in a jury trial, the jury will act as the fact finder and the judge will handle all the legal issues. Like in the example above, if objections and other legal issues arise during the trial, the judge will rule on the legal issues. However, when there are issues of fact, the trial judge will leave these to the purview of the jury. This is an important distinction between a jury trial and a bench trial.
WILL YOU AUTOMATICALLY GET A JURY TRIAL?
The short answer is that you will not automatically get a jury trial with your civil claims. There are some cases in which the law in Maryland will not automatically allow you to have a jury trial. For example, in cases in which domestic issues are present (divorce, child custody, etc.…) there is no right for a jury trial. This extends to other types of cases like Children In Need of Assistance (CINA). The point of the matter is that you will not automatically get a jury trial in your civil case. As a matter of fact, there are some requirements even on the criminal side before you have the right to a jury trial.
Speaking with your attorney regarding whether you can elect a jury trial can be helpful regarding the strategy surrounding your claim.
Marcus B. Boston, Esq.
2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700
Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815
1-833-4 BABY HELP