Q:

Can a judge overturn a jury's verdict?

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Quick Answer

In the United States, a judge can alter or reverse a jury's decision in certain instances. A guilty verdict may be reversed in the event of insufficient evidence from the prosecution. Overturning a verdict is known as a judgment of acquittal or a judgment notwithstanding the verdict.

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Can a judge overturn a jury's verdict?
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Full Answer

Overturning a verdict may happen when a motion is filed by the defense to the presiding judge. The motion is almost always denied, but the defense can file an appeal. If the judge reverses a verdict, the evidence must be examined in a manner that leans toward the prosecution. If the evidence doesn't determine guilt, the judge is compelled to reverse the guilty verdict. A judge typically doesn't overturn a not guilty verdict, because doing so would violate the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Reversing a not guilty verdict also negates the purpose of having a trial.

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