A police officer was cleared during a bench trial of all wrongdoing after the daughter of a former girlfriend accused him of inappropriately touching her. A Cook County judge found the officer not guilty. After the charges surfaced, the officer was “de-deputized” and placed on administrative leave without pay. A case to have the officer fired is still pending.
What is a Bench Trial?
A bench trial is a trial that is heard by a professional jurist as opposed to a jury of your peers. Most criminal defendants choose to avoid bench trials preferring to instead roll the dice with the public. However, police officers tend to choose bench trials, especially nowadays, when public sentiment toward police is at an all-time low. Choosing to have your case heard by a judge is an option when you think a professional jurist would be more likely to rule in your favor than a jury of your peers.