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Concurrent jurisdiction

authority shared by both federal and state courts

Original jurisdiction

the authority of a trail court to be first to hear a case

Appellate jurisdiction

authority held by a court to hear a case that is appealed from lower court

Litigant

a person engaged in a lawsuit

Due process clause

fourteenth amendment clause stating that no state may deprive a person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law

Due process law

principle in the Fifth Amendment stating that the government must follow proper constitutional procedures in trials and in other actions it takes against individuals

Grand jury

group that hears charges against a suspect and decides whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the person to trial

Indictment

a formal charge by a grand jury

Riding the circuit

traveling to hold court in a justice's assigned region of the country

Opinion

a written explanation of a Supreme Court decision; also, in some states, a written interpretation of a state constitution or state laws by the state's attorney general

Brief

a written statement setting forth the legal arguments, relevant facts, and precedents supporting one side of a case

Defendant

the person against whom a civil or criminal suit is brought into court

Plaintiff

person who brings charges into court

Perjury

lying under oath

Pardon

a release from legal punishment

Parole

means by which a prisoner is allowed to serve the rest of a sentence in the community under the supervision of a parole officer

Jury

a group of citizens who hear evidence during a trial and give a verdict

American Bar Association

the largest national organization of attorneys

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