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Why Waive a Jury Trial?

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Today, a defendant accused of murder waived his right to a jury trial.  There are several reasons why after a discussion with his defense attorney, a client would waive his Constitutional right to a jury trial.

First, sometimes the facts are so terrible that a jury may convict the defendant right away, just based upon the horrors they hear.  A Judge has usually seen and heard it all, and may be able to be more impartial even with bad facts.  Second, a jury trial with a private attorney costs more than a trial in front of the judge, a bench trial.  Although money should not be a consideration in terms of defending one's rights, clients may choose a bench trial based in part on the cost.  Third, an attorney may have insight on the judge's opinion of the case based upon filings, conferences, and what the Judge has said on the bench.  If the opinions are positive toward the client, the client may choose a bench trial instead of a jury trial.

In conclusion, clients should speak with their attorneys before waiving their right to a jury trial.

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/30037744-418/defendant-in-joliet-double-murder-waives-right-to-jury-trial.html#.VCIm9PldVgY

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