Legal Glossary ENGLISH

707 terms by vceballos33

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ABANDONMENT

A parent's or custodian's act of leaving a child without adequate care, supervision, support, or parental

ABATEMENT OF ACTION

A suit which has been quashed and ended.

ABSTRACTACT

summary of a larger work, wherein the principal ideas of the larger work are contained.

ABSTRACT OF RECORD

A short, abbreviated form of the case as found in the record.

ABSTRACT OF TITLE

A chronological summary of all official records and recorded documents affecting the title to aparcel of real property.

ACCESSORY

A person who aids or contributes in the commission of a crime.

ACCOMPLICE

One who knowingly, voluntarily, and intentionally unites with the principal offender in the commission ofa crime. A partner in a crime.

ACCORD

A satisfaction agreed upon between the parties in a lawsuit which bars subsequent actions on the claim.

ACCORD AND SATISFACTION

A method of discharging a claim upon agreement by the parties to give and accept something in settlement of the claim.

ACCUSATION

A formal charge against a person, to the effect that he has engaged in a punishable offense.

ACCUSED

The generic name for the defendant in a criminal case.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

1. A statement of acceptance of responsibility. 2. The short declaration at the end of a legal paper showing that the paper was duly executed and acknowledged.

ACQUIT

To legally certify the innocence of one charged with a crime. To set free, release or discharge from an obligation, burden or accusation. To find a defendant not guilty in a criminal trial.

ACQUITTAL

In criminal law, a finding of not guilty. In contract law, a release, absolution, or discharge from an obligation, liability, or engagement.

ACTION

Case, cause, suit, or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice.

ADJUDICATE

To determine finally.

ADJUDICATION

Giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree. Also the judgment given.

ADMINISTRATOR

1. One who administers the estate of a person who dies without a will. 2. A court official.

ADMISSIBLE

Pertinent and proper to be considered in reaching a decision.

ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE

Evidence that can be legally and properly introduced in a civil or criminal trial.

ADMISSION

Voluntary acknowledgment of the existence of certain facts relevant to the adversary's case.

ADMONISH

To advise or caution. For example the Court may caution or admonish counsel for wrong practices.

ADOPTION

To take into one's family the child of another and give him or her the rights, privileges, and duties of a child and heir.

ADVERSARY SYSTEM

The trial method used in the U.S. and some other countries. This system is based on the belief that truth can best be determined by giving opposing parties full opportunity to present and establish their evidence, and totest by crossexamination the evidence presented by their adversaries. All this is done under the established rules ofprocedure before an impartial judge and/or jury.

AFFIANT

A person who makes and signs an affidavit.

AFFIDAVIT

A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer havingauthority to administer oaths.

AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

Without denying the charge, the defendant raises circumstances such as insanity, self-defense,or entrapment to avoid civil or criminal responsibility.

AFFIRMED

In the practice of appellate courts, the word means that the decision of the trial court is correct.

AGENT

One who has authority to act for another.

AGGRAVATED ASSAULT

An attempt to cause serious bodily injury to another or purposely, knowingly or recklesslycausing such injury, or an attempt to cause or purposely or knowingly cause bodily injury to another with a deadly weapon.

AGGRAVATED BATTERY

The unlawful use of force against another with unusual or serious consequences such as theuse of a dangerous weapon.

AGGRAVATING FACTORS

Any factors associated with the commission of a crime which increase the seriousness of theoffense or add to its injurious consequences.

AGREED STATEMENT OF FACTS

A statement of all important facts, which all the parties agree is true and correct,which is submitted to a court for ruling.

AGREEMENT

A mutual understanding and intention between two or more parties. The writing or instrument which isevidence of an agreement. (Although often used as synonymous with contract, agreement is a broader term.)

AID AND ABET

Help, assist, or facilitate the commission of a crime.

ALFORD PLEA

A special type of guilty plea by which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that the State hasufficient evidence to convict; normally made to avoid the threat of greater punishment. Source: Black's Law Dictionary(1996); North Carolina v. Alford, 400 U.S. 25 (1970).

ALIBI

A defense claim that the accused was somewhere else at the time a crime was committed.

ALIMONY

A court-ordered allowance that one spouse pays the other spouse for maintenance and support while they areeither separated, pending suit for divorce, or after they are divorced.

ALLEGATION

The assertion of a party to an action, setting out what he expects to prove.

ALLEGE

To state, recite, assert, claim, maintain, charge or set forth. To make an allegation.

ALLEGED

Asserted to be true as depicted or a person who is accused but has not yet been tried in court.

ALLOCUTION

A defendant's statement in mitigation of punishment.

ALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTION (ADR)

Settling a dispute without a full, formal trial. Methods includemediation, conciliation, arbitration, and settlement, among others.

AMEND

To change, correct, revise, improve, modify, or alter.

AMENDMENT

The correction of an error admitted in any process.

ANNOTATION

A case summary or commentary on the law cases, statutes, and rules illustrating its interpretation.

ANNUAL REVIEW

Yearly judicial review, usually in juvenile dependency cases, to determine whether the child requirescontinued court supervision or placement.

ANSWER

The defendant's response to the plaintiff's allegations as stated in a complaint. An item-by-item, paragraph-by-paragraph response to points made in a complaint; part of the pleadings.

APPEAL

A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial wasconducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal."

APPEARANCE

A coming into court as party or interested person or as a lawyer on behalf of party or interested person.

APPELLANT

The party appealing a final decision or judgment.

APPELLATE COURT

A court having jurisdiction to hear appeals and review a trial court's procedure.

APPELLATE JURISDICTION

The appellate court has the right to review and revise the lower court decision.

APPELLEE

The party against whom an appeal is taken. Sometimes called a respondent.

ARBITRATION

The referral of a dispute to an impartial third person chosen by the parties to the dispute who agree in advance to abide by the arbitrator's award issued after a hearing at which both parties have an opportunity to be heard.

ARGUMENT

Remarks addressed by attorney to judge or jury on the merits of case or on points of law.

ARRAIGN

The procedure where the accused is brought before the court to hear the criminal charge(s) against him or her and to enter a plea of either guilty, not guilty or no contest.

ARRAIGNMENT

A proceeding in which the accused is brought before the court to plead to the criminal charge in the indictment or information. The charge is read to him or her and he or she is asked to plead guilty or not guilty or, where permitted, nolo contendere (no contest). Another term for preliminary hearing.

ARREST

To deprive a person of his liberty by legal authority.

ARREST OF JUDGMENT

Postponing the effect of a judgment already entered, ordinarily because of an error apparent on the record .

ARSON

The malicious burning of someone else's or one's own dwelling or of anyone's commercial or industrial property.

ASSAULT

Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury upon the person of another, when coupled with the present ability to do so, and any intentional display of force such as would give victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.

ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON

An aggravated unlawful assault in which there is threat to do bodily harmwithout justification or excuse by use of any instrument calculated to do serious bodily harm or cause death.

ASSAULT, AGGRAVATED

An assault committed with the intention of committing some additional crime.

ASSIGNEE

The person to whom property rights or power are transferred by another, a grantee.

ASSUMPTION OF RISK

In tort law, a defense to a personal injury suit. The essence of an affirmative defense is that the plaintiff assumed the known risk of whatever dangerous condition caused the injury.

AT ISSUE

The time in a lawsuit when the complaining party has stated his or her claim and the other side has responded with a denial and the matter is ready to be tried.

ATTACHMENT

Taking a person's property to satisfy a court-ordered debt.

ATTEMPT

An endeavor or effort to do an act or accomplish a crime, carries beyond preparation, but lacking execution.

ATTEST

To bear witness to, to affirm to be true or genuine, to certify.

ATTORNEY

Attorney at law, lawyer, counselor at law.

ATTORNEY OF RECORD

The lawyer who represents a client and is entitled to receive all formal documents from the court or from other parties. Also known as counsel of record.

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW

An advocate, counsel, or official agent employed in preparing, managing, and trying cases in the courts.

ATTORNEY-IN-FACT

A private person (who is not necessarily a lawyer) authorized by another to act in his or her place, either for some particular purpose, as to do a specific act, or for the transaction of business in general, not of legal character. This authority is conferred by an instrument in writing, called a letter of attorney, or more commonly, a power of attorney.

AUTHENTICATE

To give authority or legal authenticity to a statute, record, or other written instrument.

AUTO TAMPERING

The manipulation of an automobile and its parts for a specific purpose.

BAIL

Money or other security (such as a bail bond) provided to the court to temporarily allow a person's release from jail and assure his or her appearance in court. Bail and Bond are often used interchangeably.

BAIL BOND

An obligation signed by the accused to secure his or her presence at the trial. This obligation means that the accused may lose money by not properly appearing for the trial. Often referred to simply as bond.

BAIL BONDSMAN

A person who is the liable party in paying the bond for the defendant's release from jail.

BAIL FORFEITURE

Bail that is kept by the court as a result of not following a court order.

BAIL REVIEW

A hearing established to re-evaluate the bail amount that was originally set for the accused.

BAILIFF

A court officer who has charge of a court session in the matter of keeping order and has custody of the jury.

BANKRUPT

The state or condition of a person who is unable to pay his or her debts as they are or become due.

BANKRUPTCY

Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start.

BAR

1. Historically, the partition separating the general public from the space occupied by the judges, lawyers, and other participants in a trial. 2. More commonly, the term means the whole body of lawyers.

BAR EXAMINATION

A state examination taken by prospective lawyers in order to be admitted and licensed to practice law.

BATTERED CHILD SYNDROME (B.C.S.)

Physical condition of a child indicating that external or internal injuries result from acts committed by a parent or custodian.

BATTERY

An offensive touching or use of force on a person without the person's consent.

BATTERY, SPOUSAL

An offensive touching or use of force on one's spouse without the spouse's consent.

BENCH

The seat occupied by judges in courts.

BENCH CONFERENCE

A meeting either on or off the record at the judge's bench between the judge, counsel, and sometimes the defendant, out of the hearing of the jury.

BENCH TRIAL

Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.

BENCH WARRANT

An order issued by a judge for the arrest of a person.

BENEFICIARY

Someone named to receive property or benefits in a will. In a trust, a person who is to receive benefits from the trust.

BEQUEATH

To give a gift to someone through a will.

BEQUESTS

Gifts made in a will.

BEST EVIDENCE

Primary evidence; the best evidence available. Evidence short of this is "secondary." That is, anoriginal letter is "best evidence," and a photocopy is "secondary evidence."

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT

The standard in a criminal case requiring that the jury be satisfied to a moralcertainty that every element of a crime has been proven by the prosecution. This standard of proof does not require that the state establish absolute certainty by eliminating all doubt, but it does require that the evidence be so conclusive that all reasonable doubts are removed from the mind of the ordinary person.

BIAS

Inclination, bent, a pre-conceived opinion or a predisposition to decide a cause or an issue a certain way.

BIFURCATE

To try issues separately, such as guilt and criminal responsibility in a criminal proceeding or liability and damages in a civil action.

BILL OF PARTICULARS

A statement of the details of the charge made against the defendant.

BIND OVER

To hold a person for trial on bond (bail) or in jail. If the judicial official conducting a hearing finds probable cause to believe the accused committed a crime, the official will bind over the accused, normally by setting bail for the accused's appearance at trial.

BODY ATTACHMENT

A written order issued by a court directing a sheriff or peace officer to take custody of and bring before the court: 1) A witness who fails to comply with a subpoena, 2) a party who fails to comply with a court order in a civil action, or 3) a material witness in a criminal case.

BOND

A certificate or evidence of a debt. Often used interchangeably with bail.

BOOKING

The process of photographing, fingerprinting, and recording identifying data of a suspect. This process follows the arrest.

BOOKING NUMBER

The number assigned to the criminal record that corresponds to the person's arrest.

BOOKMAKING

The act of collecting the bets of others or making odds on future gambling events.

BRANDISHING A WEAPON

The act of showing a weapon to another person, typically the police or the victim.

BREACH

The breaking or violating of a law, right, obligation, or duty either by doing an act or failing to do an act. BREAKING AND ENTERING - Breaking and entering a dwelling of another in nighttime with intent to commit a felony therein.

BREATHALYZER TEST

Test to determine content of alcohol in one arrested for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of liquor by analyzing a breath sample.

BRIBE

A gift, not necessarily of monetary value, given to influence the conduct of the receiver.

BRIEF

A written statement prepared by the counsel arguing a case in court. It contains a summary of the facts of a case,the pertinent laws, and an argument of how the law applies to the facts supporting counsel's position.

BURDEN OF PROOF

The obligation of a party to establish by evidence a requisite degree of belief concerning a fact in the mind of the trier of fact or the court.

BURGLARY

The act of entering or remaining illegally in a movable or immovable structure, vehicle or dwelling with intent to commit a felony.

CALENDAR

List of cases scheduled for hearing in court.

CALLING THE DOCKET

The public calling of the docket or list of causes at commencement of term of court, for setting a time for trial or entering orders.

CAPITAL CASE

A criminal case in which the allowable punishment includes death. CAPITAL CRIME - A crime punishable by death.

CAPITAL PUNISHMENT

Punishment by death for capital crimes. Death penalty.

CAPTION

The heading on a legal document listing the parties, the court, the case number, and related information.

CASE

A general term for an action, cause, suit, or controversy brought before the court for resolution.

CASE LAW

Law established by previous decisions of appellate courts, particularly the Supreme Court.

CASE NUMBER

See DOCKET NUMBER.

CAUSATION

The act which produces an effect.

CAUSE

A lawsuit, litigation, or action. Any question, civil or criminal, litigated or contested before a court of justice.

CAUSE OF ACTION

The facts that give rise to a lawsuit or a legal claim.

CEASE AND DESIST ORDER

An order of an administrative agency or court prohibiting a person or business from continuing a particular course of conduct.

CERTIFICATION

1. Written attestation. 2. Authorized declaration verifying that an instrument is a true and correct copy of the original.

CERTIFIED

Attested as being true or an exact reproduction.

CHAIN OF CUSTODY

An accounting for the whereabouts of the tangible evidence from the moment it is received in custody until it is offered in evidence in court.CHALLENGE - An objection, such as when an attorney objects at a hearing to the seating of a particular person on a civil or criminal jury.

CHALLENGE FOR CAUSE

Objection to the seating of a particular juror for a stated reason (usually bias or prejudice for or against one of the parties in the lawsuit). The judge has the discretion to deny the challenge. This differs from peremptory challenge.

CHALLENGE TO THE ARRAY

Questioning the qualifications of an entire jury panel, usually on the ground of partiality or some fault in the process of summoning the panel.

CHAMBERS

A judge's private office. A hearing in chambers takes place in the judge's office outside of the presence of the jury and the public.

CHANGE OF VENUE

Moving a lawsuit or criminal trial to another place for trial.

CHARACTER EVIDENCE

The testimony of witnesses who know the general character and reputation of a person in the community in which he or she lives.

CHARGE TO THE JURY

The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial.

CHARGING DOCUMENT

A written accusation alleging a defendant has committed an offense. Includes a citation, an indictment, information, and statement of charges.

CHIEF JUDGE

Presiding or Administrative Judge in a court.

CHILD ABUSE

Any form of cruelty to a child's physical, moral, or mental well-being.

CHILD MOLESTATION

Any form of indecent or sexual activity on, involving, or surrounding a child under the state's designated age.

CHILD SUPPORT

The legal obligation of parents to contribute to the economic maintenance, including education, of their children. Money paid by one parent to another toward the expenses of the children of the marriage.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE

All evidence except eyewitness testimony. One example is physical evidence, such as fingerprints, from which an inference can be drawn.

CITATION

A reference to a source of legal authority. A direction to appear in court, as when a defendant is cited into court, rather than arrested.

CIVIL ACTION

Noncriminal case in which one private individual or business sues another to protect, enforce, or redress private or civil rights.

CIVIL CASE

A lawsuit brought to enforce, redress, or protect private rights or to gain payment for a wrong done to a person or party by another person or party. In general, all types of actions other than criminal proceedings.

CIVIL PROCEDURE

The rules and process by which a civil case is tried and appealed, including the preparations for trial, the rules of evidence and trial conduct, and the procedure for pursuing appeals.

CLAIM

The assertion of a right to money or property.

CLASS ACTION

A lawsuit brought by one or more persons on behalf of a larger group.

CLEAR AND CONVINCING EVIDENCE

Standard of proof commonly used in civil lawsuits and in regulatory agency cases. It governs the amount of proof that must be offered in order for the plaintiff to win the case.

CLEMENCY OR EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY

Act ofconsequences of a criminal act, accusation, or conviction. It may take the form of commutation or pardon.

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