Directed verdict


Directed verdict

In a jury trial, a directed verdict is an order from the presiding judge to the jury to return a particular verdict. Typically, the judge orders a directed verdict after finding that no reasonable jury could reach a decision to the contrary. After a directed verdict, there is no longer any need for the jury to decide the case.

A judge may order a directed verdict as to an entire case or only to certain issues. While the motion is not often granted, it is routinely made as a means of preserving appeal rights later.

In a criminal case in the United States, a judge may only order a directed verdict for acquittal, for the ability to convict is reserved to the jury. In a civil action, a related concept to the directed verdict is that of a non-suit. A judge may decide to direct a verdict of not guilty if there is not a scintilla of evidence to prove a guilty verdict.

The phrase arose when judges actually directed a jury to leave the courtroom, deliberate, and return with only the verdict predetermined by the judge. At least one jury ignored this instruction and returned a contrary verdict, leading to quite an angry response from an appellate court.[citation needed] For most of modern judicial history, however, judges in the United States have directed a verdict without a need of a jury. This concept has largely been replaced in the American legal system with judgment as a matter of law.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • directed verdict — see verdict Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996. directed verdict …   Law dictionary

  • directed verdict — noun a verdict entered by the court in a jury trial without consideration by the jury there cannot be a directed verdict of guilty in a criminal trial • Topics: ↑law, ↑jurisprudence • Hypernyms: ↑verdict, ↑finding of fact * * * noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • directed verdict — A verdict which a jury returns as directed by the court. 53 Am J1st Trial §§ 332 et seq. See motion for directed verdict …   Ballentine's law dictionary

  • directed verdict — an order by a judge to a jury to find a verdict because the facts proved are indisputable. * * * …   Universalium

  • directed verdict of acquittal — see verdict Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • verdict — ver·dict / vər dikt/ n [alteration (partly conformed to Medieval Latin veredictum ) of Anglo French veirdit statement, finding, verdict, from Old French veir true (from Latin verus ) + dit saying, from Latin dictum] 1: the usu. unanimous finding… …   Law dictionary

  • verdict, special — n. A jury’s determination on a particular question of fact alleged in the pleadings. See also directed verdict The Essential Law Dictionary. Sphinx Publishing, An imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc. Amy Hackney Blackwell. 2008 …   Law dictionary

  • verdict — From the Latin veredictum, a true declaration. Clark v. State, 170 Tenn. 494, 499, 97 S.W.2d 644, 646. The formal decision or finding made by a jury, impaneled and sworn for the trial of a cause, and reported to the court (and accepted by it),… …   Black's law dictionary

  • Verdict — This article is about the legal finding of fact. For the Agatha Christie play, see Verdict (play). For the magazine by Robert Brinsmead, see Present Truth Magazine. For any of several film and TV dramas, see The Verdict (disambiguation) …   Wikipedia

  • verdict — n. 1) to arrive at, reach a verdict 2) to announce; bring in, deliver, hand down, render, return a verdict 3) to sustain ( uphold ) a verdict (the higher court sustained the verdict) 4) to overturn, quash, set aside a verdict 5) to appeal a… …   Combinatory dictionary


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