How to Become a Judge
Job Duties of a Judge
Skills and Qualities of a Judge
Leading Organizations for Judges
Top Cities for Judge Jobs
Other Careers of Interest
Federal Administrative Law Judges are required to be lawyers. They must also pass a competitive examination which is administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
All states require all judges, either elected or appointed, to have some form of orientation. Among those offering orientation programs are the American Bar Association, the National Judicial College, the Federal Judicial Center and the National Center for State Courts. This orientation may also be required for other personnel involved in the judicial area. Additionally, more than 50% of the states require judges to participate in continuing education whilst on the bench.
Training for lesser positions such as mediators, arbitrators and conciliators is typically provided by postsecondary schools, independent mediation programs and national and local mediation membership organizations.
There are no required national licensure requirements for mediators, arbitrators and conciliators. Licensure or certification procedures vary widely from state to state.
The most notable duties of judges, as portrayed in movies and on television, is presiding over a courtroom and listening to the testimony of witnesses as well as the claims made by both sides of the cases presented before the court. In addition to overseeing the jury, members of the court, prosecution and defense, the judge may also be called upon to render a final decision in a case. Judges usually have pre-trial hearings with representatives for the prosecution and defense in order to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a trial. ,b>Judges may also use their discretion to grant or deny bail.
In criminal cases, a judge may determine guilt and the subsequent punishment, including jail or fines, or both. In civil suits judges will determine the amount of money to be awarded in terms of damages.
A basic breakdown of judges' duties is as follows:
Federal and State Judges: These are the highest ranking judges in the system and are usually reserved for serious crimes, both civil and criminal. The scope of their jurisdiction is broad and judges in these positions may overrule any decision made by a lower court. They also oversee all felony cases.
Appellate Judges: This position is less common and they sit mainly in an appeals court. These judges rarely make direct contact with the individual parties involved in the case.
Lower court judges: Lower court judges encompass the positions of magistrate, municipal court judge, county court judge and justice of the peace. These judges usually handle minor offenses such as small claims and traffic offenses.
Administrative law judges, hearing officers and adjudicators earned an average of $72,600. Mediators, arbitrators and conciliators earned an average of $49,490. Broken down by industry employing the highest number of judges, including magistrate judges, the median annual salary as of May 2006 was $74,630 in local government and $117,760 in state government.
Federal judges tend to earn more as a result of their position and level of responsibility. In 2006 the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court earned $212,100. Associate Justices earned $203,000. Judges for the Federal Court of Appeals earned $175,100. Judges in the Court of Federal Claims and the Court of International Trade joined district court judges with an average of $165,200 per year. Federal judges possessing a limited jurisdiction, including bankruptcy judges and magistrates, earned $151,984.
According to a 2006 National Center for State Courts survey, the annual wages of Chief Justices in the State High Courts averaged $142,264, with the highest reported salary being $200,613. Associate justices in the State High Courts averaged an annual salary of $136,810, with the top earners making as much as $184,300. State intermediate appellate court judges earned an average of $132,102, with the top earner making a yearly wage of $172,452. State judges of general jurisdiction trial courts earned an average of $122,559, with the highest reported wage coming in at $168,100.
Richard Posner - First Amendment Rights
John Roberts - Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court
American Bar Association
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Los Angeles, CA
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