The Functions of a Trial Judge in Punishment
The Functions of A Trial Judge in Punishment
A judge performs functions to ensure that a criminal defendant receives a fair trial. However, in the event that the jury returns a verdict against the Defendant, these are the issues that the Judge will deal with:
First, a Judge has the discretion to make sentencing choices. This means that under the Determinate Sentencing Law, the judge has the power to select a high, middle or low term of imprisonment. The Judge can impose sentence, suspend the sentence, or even sentence in alternative formats like community service or county jail.
Second, a Judge has the power to impose a sentence for a misdemeanor and determine the punishment in the county jail for a particular amount of time, impose a fine in a fixed amount or both by fine and confinement.
Third, where the crime can be punished as a felony or misdemeanor, the judge has the power to reduce the charge pursuant to Penal Code 17(b)(4) to a misdemeanor.
Fourth, when a Defendant is charged with more than one offense, the judge determines whether the sentence shall run concurrently or consecutively.
Fifth, a Judge can grant probation and dismiss the charges after completion of the conditions of probation.
Finally, if permitted by law, a judge may change the minimum penalties and eligibility of the Defendant for parole by dismissing a charge of a prior conviction.