A trial is an analysis of evidence and is intended to be a fair, impartial, and final legal decision based on the facts and legal issues of a civil or criminal case between two parties. Massachusetts trials are heard either by a judge alone (called a bench or court trial), with a jury who advises but lets the judge make the final decision of the case (called an advisory jury), or with a judge and a jury of citizens who deliberates on a decision (the most common kind of court case). It is the main way that legal disagreements are solved that have not been resolved between the two sides on their own or through other methods such as mediation. A civil trial oversees the private rights of people, while a criminal trial finds whether a person charged with a crime is guilty or not, and sentenced to a punishment if guilty.

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