What is judicial discretion? How does judicial discretion affect courtroom participants? How does judicial discretion affect the entire criminal justice process?
Judicial discretion is the power of the judiciary to make some legal decisions according to their discretion. Under the doctrine of the separation of powers, the ability of judges to exercise discretion is an aspect of judicial independence. [ Where appropriate, judicial discretion allows a judge to decide a legal case or matter within a range of possible decisions.
However, where the exercise
of discretion goes beyond constraints set down by legislation, by binding precedent, or by a constitution, the court may be abusing its discretion and undermining the rule of law. In that case, the decision of the court may be ultra vires, and may sometimes be characterized as judicial activism. ]
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