Five Functions of a District Justice
- Thorough understanding of legal jargon
- Evidence assessment
- Trial management
- Testimony conduction
- Personnel guidance
District justice responsibilities necessitate one of the most diverse and equally-weighted skill sets of any profession. The job duties of a district justice can only be effectively and properly accomplished with exemplary professionalism. The highest degrees of scrutiny, discretion, and diligence are necessary to enact impartial and ethical judgments.
The qualities required to perform district justice job duties not only need to be demonstrated to earn a district justice position but must be continually refreshed and sharpened. If you have any district justice jobs in mind for the future of your career, then you would be well-advised to keep the following integral skills in mind.
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1. Complete And Current Legal Comprehension
A satisfactory understanding of the most basic terms of the law can be sufficient for the average law-abiding civilian, but a district justice’s legal comprehension needs to be as thorough as the ocean is deep. Because the subtle nuances of the law are always subject to change for any number of different social or economic reasons, one of the most important job duties of a district justice is not only to become familiar with the law as it is but also to make sure that their comprehension of the law is continually updated to reflect the most recent legal precedents that have been newly set.
2. Unbiased Evidence Examination
One of the most obvious district justice duties is to conduct fair and impartial assessments of all evidence presented in court. Certain kinds of evidence can naturally arouse emotions that, if uncontrolled, can carry the potential to interfere with logical discretion. Because the diverse natures of many different cases can involve pieces of evidence that carry the undertones of matters that are highly offensive to personal sensibilities, a district justice needs to be capable of keeping their composure and unflinchingly honoring their commitment to impartiality. It is a district justice’s duty to ensure that they cultivate the right skills to maintain both the mental fortitude and emotional stability to keep their evidence assessment objective and free of distortion from personal feelings.
3. Orderly Hearing And Trial Management
Hearings and trials will only be as productive as district justices are effective in their duty to maintain order. All district justice responsibilities will hinge upon how successfully the district justice can maintain the orderliness of the environment in which they and all other court personnel have to work. It is not only the defendant and plaintiff that need to have their behavior regulated, but also the defense, prosecution, and any friends or family members related to those being legally represented who are sitting in on the case. Depending on the emotional volatility of the case, the potential for a disruptive outburst can be anywhere from highly unlikely or extremely likely. No matter how emotionally charged a case may be, a district justice needs to remain committed to keeping the process as professional and subdued as reasonably possible.
4. Testimony Conduction
The things that a district justice approves and denies in court not only include the verdict of the case, but also the manner in which testimonies are permitted to be given. Well-advised testimonial regulation ensures that the manner in which testimonies are given can remain consistent, increasing the chance of reaching an impartial ruling.
5. Court Personnel Advisement
The district justice is not only a figure that other court personnel defer to but also one that they look to for guidance. Of all the things that a district justice contributes to the legal system, what may be the most valuable contribution of all is their breadth of experience. An effective district justice not only conducts rulings, but provides juries, attorneys, prosecutors, and all other personnel with valuable advisement that they can use to do their jobs more effectively.
For more information about the job of a district justice, visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics.