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Why do judges make mistakes?

On Behalf of | Sep 7, 2018 | Appeals |

Receiving an unfair verdict in an Oregon courtroom may result from a lack of evidence, or from a false witness. However, it is possible that the judge in your case made a mistake. How does this happen?

According to The National Judicial College, there are certain factors that, when present, may predispose a judge to errors.

Lack of knowledge

You probably expect any judge on the bench to have gone through school to learn the specifics of the job. However, many judges do not seek extra education. Consequently, they approach their duties from the perspective of a trial attorney and bring their biases to the bench with them. 

Knowledge and confidence are gained through education, but also through experience. When a judge is lacking these, he or she may rely too heavily on professional testimony rather than weighing whether the expert in question has done the investigative and analysis work thoroughly before testifying against you.

Failure to evaluate agreements

The law gives judges a considerable amount of discretion, even in cases where there is an agreement. Some judges are likely to sign off on any case that includes an agreement, such as a plea bargain, if it has the signatures of you and the prosecutor. This becomes a problem when it may be obvious to the discerning expert that you are not receiving a fair deal, and the prosecution may be taking advantage of your lack of legal knowledge or adequate counsel.

Perhaps there was a similar problem with the judge in your case. On the other hand, judges may also make mistakes due to a personal problem, a preconceived misconception or some other unrelated factor. So, while this information may help you understand how courtroom errors may come about, it is not intended as legal advice.