A trial court or administrative agency may rule on a matter, which is within its discretion. However such a ruling must not be against established law, unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, unconscionable, and unfair. Examples of abuse of discretion: if a judge does not allow an important witness to testify; make improper comments that influence the jury; show bias or prejudice. In other word, a trial judge does not have to make perfect decisions; the judge’s action must not be so outlandish that denies a fair trial. In a criminal case, abuse of discretion can include grossly harsh sentences. In a divorce settlement proceeding, awarding alimony, which is way beyond the established parameters or the party’s ability to pay, would be abuse of discretion.
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