Judges and Magistrates Job Description video

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One of the foundations of our country is our judicial system. Judges and Magistrates are charged with making sure the system operates in accord with the law. Most of us think of the judge as the person who keeps order in a courtroom by occasionally banging a gavel. But judges play a far more important role. In overseeing legal proceedings, they act like referees, ensuring that the rules are followed. They also issue decisions and hand down sentences. Depending on their position, judges and magistrates might specialize in a particular area, such as family, civil or criminal law. Sometimes called justices of the peace, magistrates can perform wedding ceremonies, and handle cases dealing with traffic violations, misdemeanors, small claims cases and pre-trial hearings. They generally have at least a bachelor’s degree. Judges are appointed or elected, and almost always have law degrees, and experience in the kind of courtroom they will oversee. Without judges and magistrates, we would probably lose one of our most cherished rights: the right to a fair trial.

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