First trial judges routinely sit as fact finders as a

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facts of a case, however, for a number of reasons. First, trial judges routinely sit as fact finders. As a result, they develop a particular expertise in determining what kind of evidence and testimony is reliable and what kind is not. Second, trial judges and juries have the opportunity to observe witnesses and tangible evidence first hand. The appellate court sees only a cold record of the trial court proceedings and therefore cannot make the kind of judgments about the credibility of witnesses and the persuasiveness of evidence that can be gleaned only from first-hand experience. Assignment #1 Sample Answer 2 In a common law legal system, past judicial decisions are binding in current disputes with similar facts. This feature of the common law, which is the basis of the American legal system, is unique because, unlike the law in other legal systems, it is judge-made law. Within the common law system, when possible, judges attempt to be consistent and to base their decisions on the principles suggested by earlier cases. The body of principles and doctrines that form the common law emerged over time as judges applied the principles announced in earlier cases to subsequent legal controversies. The practice of
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