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Criminal Jury Trials in Virginia

April 25, 2014 by Allan

Nice subject here. Actually in the state system most criminal trials are without a jury. This means the Judge decides guilt or innocence. In the federal courts, almost all not guilty trials are with a jury. Why the difference. One systems all juries another system, it’s rare.

As they say, the devil is in the details. All defendants have a right to trial hoe kom ik aan cialis by jury. But in the Virginia state system, the jury also recommends a sentence on a finding of guilt. In the federal system, the issue of punishment is left entirely to the Judge.

Personally, I don’t try cases in federal court anymore. The “why” is a subject for another note.
But in the state system. We have a case of PWID (possession with intent to distribute). This offense is punishable by statute from 5 to 40 years. Yeah, a lot of time. No parole must serve 85% and then you get out. The least a jury can recommend under this system is 5 years. A judge trying the case can give probation. Actually sentencing guidelines for a defendant with no record ranges from 7 months to one year 6 months, or so. But if the jury recommends 5 years, the judge will impose it even if he would have imposed a sentence in accordance with the sentencing guidelines. God help you if the jury recommends 30 years. The judge will impose that 30 years. See you in about 2037. No foolin. The judge almost always imposes the sentence recommended by the jury. Doesn’t have to,┬ábut will. Doesn’t want to be the subject of critical comments in the media. Talk about judicial courage.

But the state system saves money. Jury trials are expensive. We would need more judges, more courtrooms, more DAs, more defense lawyers, public defenders. So no one complains.


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