Judge / Judicial Careers

Campaign sign for a judge in Lexington Park, Maryland (Creative Commons photo by Elvert

The Role of a Judge in Criminal Justice and Law

A Judge is a meant for delivering justice irrespective of color, religion, birthplace and financial status. No matter what place a convicted is holding in society, Judge has to be neutral without any influence. That is why a Judge holds the highest rank in the state and they are addressed as “Your Honor“.

US District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman.
US District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of the criminal cases and nearly all the civil cases are presented to the bench of single judge. Trial of all the cases are carried out by the judge to find the fact. And at the end judge has to decide whether the witnesses are true and the evidence is correct. Based on the law and interpretation of facts, the judge makes the Final decision.

Convicted criminals after spending 5 years in prison under the charter have the right to appeal for a jury trial for their case.

The judge passes their sentence after finding the defendant convicted. The sentence may be just a fine or prison according to their offence.

The main purpose of the court is the delivery of justice to everyone approaching court, which starts from fair trial. Judges are meant to enforce the court procedures that all the parties are following it in a proper manner. We have seen in movies and TV shows that a judge gives his rulings only when any of the lawyer objects in the proceedings.

Educational Requirements to Become a Judge

English: , judge on the United States District...
English: , judge on the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For becoming a judge you need to have a 4 years bachelor’s degree from any accredited University or college. It is the first step for becoming a judge. After having a bachelor’s degree you have to join any law school for which you have to take the “LSAT” (Law School Admission Test).

On successfully passing the test you are admitted to Law School. You will get a J.D (Juris Doctor) tag after completing the courses from the law school. This is a three year course which makes you a lawyer. After practice lawyers become judges. Many aspirants of law school have bachelor’s degree in arts (B.A) in subjects such as sociology, economics, political science, business and history. Though it is not the specific requirement but this helps you to prepare for your law school.

Candidates must perform well in their college like scoring highest grades, completing their assignments regularly and doing well in exams as it increases your chances of being selected in law school.

Preparation for a Career as a Judge

US District Court Judge Alan Kay.
US District Court Judge Alan Kay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Opting your career as a judge is full of honor and responsibility. Aspiring candidates must be full of patience as it takes many years to get a position of judge. Starting from bachelor’s degree to becoming lawyers and taking experience. Candidates should have good analytical skills and good knowledge of law because judge faces various arguments in twisted way.

In law school, students learn about the fundamental laws which they have to implement throughout their career. And it is beneficial that while studying in law school, students get practical experience by joining the practicing lawyers as internship.

After qualifying, candidates have to take test of law conducted by Bar Association by Association of America.

Mostly lawyers become judges after several years of practice and experience. The aspiring candidates who have qualified their J.D can start their career as an entry level associate lawyer, who after several years of hard work can achieve higher position as a lawyer. Lawyers can work in prosecutor’s office, in any government agency or in a law practice can represent their clients. Lawyers can also work as a legal consultant to any organization or the individuals.

Practicing lawyers who have spent immense time at trails are more eligible to be elected or appointed as a judge.

The age limit and years of experience vary from state to state and the department. For example in Texas – county criminal court judge is required to be of minimum 25 years of age and having law practice experience of 4 years while the judge of criminal appeal court should have a minimum age of 35 years having law practice experience of 10 years. There are many states which sets the retiring age for the judges.

How to Obtain a Position as Judge

There are two ways for a lawyer to become a judge.

English: Judge , US Court of Appeals, Fifth Ci...
English: Judge , US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit. Source: “The Third Branch” (official newsletter of the federal courts), March 2003, http://www.uscourts.gov/ttb/mar03ttb/interview.html (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  1. through appointment
  2. through election

Lawyers seeking an appointment for judicial position need to make good connections in community. Judicial Selection Committee makes recommendations to the government official involved in making appointment.  Making good and positive reputation with the colleagues and in the community is necessary which helps you to generate recommendation and also appointment.

Lawyers who opt for election process for becoming a judge need to register for political party and start campaigning. Raising money is necessary for running campaigns smoothly. Maintaining good relations and positive high profile in the community and having political connections increase your chances of winning in the election.

State bar association website provides you more details for becoming a judge or a lawyer.

Additional Information Related to a Career as a Judge

English: Official Portrait of A. Joe Fish, U.S...
English: Official Portrait of A. Joe Fish, U.S. District Court Judge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two arguments go side by side in most of the trials. First is the argument related to the case facts Like; who, when, what and where did it? These questions are decided by the jury while in some other cases judge is acting as a fact calculator.

In United States, federal judges are appointed by U.S President and United States Senate confirms it. In Brazil federal judges are appointed by public contest. And the selection process vary from place to place. The main duty of federal judge is to resolve the cases brought before the federal courts. In United States, general jurisdiction courts are the federal courts and they hear both criminal and civil cases.

Average Salary of a Judge

According to www.uscourts.gov website salary of judge ranges from $203,100 – $260,700. Description of salary in 2016 is as follows; District judge gets-$203,100, Circuit judge gets-$215,400, Associate justice gets-$249,300 and Chief justice gets-$260,700.

According to United States Bureau of Labor Statics

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Aspiring candidates can also visit www.uscourts.gov website for more vacancies.

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