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right to a trial in civil matters

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Depends on the applicable state law and the nature of the case. For example, jury trials typically aren't available where the plaintiff is seeking only injunctive relief. Or a state might have a law that says jury trials aren't available if the plaintiff is seeking less than $X. Also, most jurisdictions put the onus on the parties to request a jury trial if they want one. Sometimes that request must be stated in the complaint. If not, there is usually a deadline to make the request. I would imagine a case being heard by a "town justice" would not be the sort of case in which a jury is available.

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I just noticed I misread your question and that you didn't mention jury trials.

The answer to your question is that a judge CAN do pretty much anything. Whether it's proper to do so depends on the applicable state law and the circumstances. Generally, civil litigants are entitled to a trial unless the case can be disposed of by way of a motion for summary judgment.

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