292 terms

JURI - courtroom terms (EN-EN)

An EN-EN Definition Glossary
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accused
Formally charged but not yet tried for committing a crime; the person who has been charged may also be called the defendant.
acquittal
A judgment of court, based on the decision of either a jury or a judge, that a person accused is not guilty of the crime for which he has been tried.
ADA
Assistant District Attorney. An assistant district attorney works for the elected District Attorney. An ADA will review and prosecute cases as assigned. ADA's meet with law enforcement, witnesses, and victims. They generally have authority to dispose of those cases assigned to them.
adjournment
Putting off or postponing business or a session of court until another time or place.
adjudication
The judicial decision that ends a criminal proceeding by a judgment of acquittal, conviction, or dismissal of the case.
affidavit
A written statement that the writer swears is true.
affirmed
In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
aggravated range
When a person is sentenced, this indicates a sentence that is more severe than the "presumed" sentence for a given crime. A defendant may receive more time if the judge finds aggravating factors. If no aggravating factors are found, the sentence will come from either the "presumptive" or "mitigated" range.
aggravating factors
Factors that make a crime worse than most similar crimes. Aggravating factors are often defined by law and include such things as - victim very old, gang related, done for hire, especially cruel, defendant does not support his family, or took advantage of a position of trust.
allegation
The assertion of a party to a cause made to the court in a pleading, stating what that party expects to prove
alleged
Said to be true, but not yet proven to be true; until the trial is over, the crime may be called the "alleged crime."
answer
The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
appeal
A request by either the defense or the prosecution that a higher court review the results of a decision on certain motions or in a completed trial. This can be an appeal from superior court to an appeals court, or an appeal from district court to superior court for a trial.
appearance
The formal proceeding by which a defendant submits to the jurisdiction of the court
appellate
About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgement of another lower court or tribunal.
arraignment
A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
arrest warrant
A written order issued by the District court or magistrate including a statement of the crime of which the person to be arrested is accused, and directing that the person be arrested and held to answer the accusation before a magistrate or other judge.
arson
Intentional fire setting
assailant
The person identified as the attacker.
attorney
Technically means an agent or substitute, or one who is appointed and authorize to act on behalf of another; in common usage, the term refers to a lawyer, attorney at law or counsel; when a power of attorney is given to a non-lawyer, the person receiving the power of attorney is an attorney in fact.
badger game
Trick sy into a compromising position him/her vulnerable to blackmail
bail
Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his/her appearance on the day and time appointed.
bail bondsman
A licensed person or person working for a licensed company, who will post bond for a defendant upon payment of a fee. The fee is generally fifteen per cent (15%) of the bond.
bail forfeiture
Bail that is kept by the court as a result of not following a court order.
bailiff
A courtroom clerk or attendant, whose duties include keeping order in the courtroom and maintaining custody of the jury.
bar
The railing in front of the bench, where the attorneys argue. Also refers to attorneys collectively, as in a member of the bar.
bench
The desk, platform, and surrounding area where the judge sits. As in, the lawyers should approach the bench. Also refers to all judges collectively, as in a member of the bench.
bench trial
Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.
bench trial
A trial in which the judge alone hears the case
bench warrant
An order issued by a judge to bring to court an accused person who has been released before trial and does not return to court when ordered to do so; or a witness who has failed to appear when ordered to do so.
beyond a reasonable doubt
The standard in a criminal case requiring that the jury be satisfied to a moral certainty 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 moved from the mind of the ordinary person.
bond
In criminal court, a term meaning the same thing as "bail;" generally a certificate or evidence of a debt.
bond forfeiture
A hearing to determine if the bond on a defendant is to be forfeited after a defendant fails to show for court. Forfeited bond money goes to the public schools.
booking
An official police record of the arrest of a person accused of committing a crime which identifies the accused, the time and place of arrest, the arresting authority, and the reason for the arrest.
box
The chairs and surrounding area where the jurors sit.
brief
A written statement submitted by the lawyers of both clients to the judge explaining why the judge should decide the case in favor of that lawyer's client.
burglary
Stealing property after trespassing
calendar
A document listing cases for hearing before a court. Calendars may be for district court, superior court, motions, forfeitures, criminal docket management, plea, or trials.
capital case
This is a first-degree murder case in which the jury can impose either a life sentence or the death penalty. If a person is guilty of first-degree murder and there are any statutory aggravating factors then the State has to seek the death penalty.
capital murder
Planned, wilful premeditated murder
capital offense
A crime punishable by death.
carjacking
Taking sy's car by force
case law
The law as laid down in cases that have been decided in the decisions of the courts.
chamber
A judge's private office; proceedings conducted in the judge's office are said to be conducted in _ _ _ _ _ _ _ s.
charge
The law that the police believe the defendant has broken.
charge to the jury
The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial.
chief judge
The judge who has primary responsibility for the administration of a court but also decides cases.
circumstantial evidence
All evidence except eyewitness testimony.
clerk of court
An officer appointed by the court to work with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration, especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court and to maintain court records.
clerk of court
An officer of the court, who is responsible for the clerical part of the court's work (who keeps its records and seal, issues process, enters judgments and orders, provides certified copies, and the like).
code
A collection or compendium of statutes.
dognapping
Taking a canine from its owner against his/her will
commitment
The warrant or order by which a court or magistrate directs an officer to take a person to prison.
common law
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
common law
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial decisions rather than legislative action.
complaint
A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
complaint
A term in civil cases that signifies a filing of a suit. In criminal court, the complaint is the reporting of a crime to authorities.
concurrent sentence
Running together; when two or more sentences are served at the same time. Opposite of consecutive sentence.
consecutive sentence
Successive; succeeding one another in regular order; one sentence beginning at the completion of another.
continuance
Postponement of a court hearing; putting it off until another day.
contract
An agreement between two or more persons that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.
conviction
A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
counsel
Legal advice; a term used to refer to lawyers in a case.
counsel table
Table(s) near the front of the courtroom, reserved for the attorneys in the case
counterclaim
A claim that a defendant makes against a plaintiff.
court
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Judges sometimes use the word to refer to themselves in the third person, as in "The _ _ _ _ _ has read the briefs."
court commissioner
A judicial officer who is lower in rank than a judge, serving as an assistant to the judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions; similar in function to a magistrate.
court of limited jurisdiction
A court that hears only certain kind of cases.
court of record
A court in which proceedings are recorded and made a matter of public record.
court reporter
A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court and produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request.
criminal court
A court that hears cases concerned with the alleged violation of criminal law.
criminal law
The law whose violation is considered an offense against the state and is punishable upon conviction by imprisonment and other penalties for adult offenders and by action of a juvenile court for juvenile offenders.
cross examination
The examination of a witness by the party opposed to the one who produced him during a trial or hearing, or upon taking a deposition.
damages
Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
default judgement
A judgement rendered because of the defendant's failure to answer or appear.
defendant
In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
defendant
A person who has been formally charged with committing a crime; the person accused of a crime.
defense attorney
The lawyer who represents the defendant in legal proceedings. Victims are usually not required to speak with defense attorneys except in court, but may do so if they choose.
defense table
The table where the defense lawyer sits with the defendant in the courtroom.
deferred sentence
Defendant enters a guilty plea, receives probation for a certain amount of time, and gives up the right to trial. The DA dismisses the case if the probation is completed successfully.
deposition
An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to administer oaths.
deputy clerk
A person appointed to act in place, of, or on behalf of, the clerk of court; an employee of the clerk's office.
direct examination
The first interrogation or examination of a witness during trial by the party on whose behalf he is called.
discovery
Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
discovery
Process by which the DA provides to a Defense Attorney information gathered during the investigation of a felony; the ascertainment of that which was previously unknown.
disposition
The final judicial decision which ends a criminal proceeding by a judgment of acquittal or dismissal, or which states the sentence if the accused is convicted.
district attorney
Commonly refers to an official elected by the people of the community in his/her district to represent the interests of the general public, including crime victims, in court proceedings
district attorney's report
A report that is prepared by law enforcement in felony cases to inform the District Attorney what the facts are in a case. This is also known as a "felony report."
district court
Where misdemeanor cases are heard concerning the violation of state statutes.
docket
A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
double jeopardy
putting a person on trial more than once for the same offense; double jeopardy is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.
due process
A term often used to refer to the right to notice and an opportunity to be heard.
electronic house arrest
Defendants are placed on supervised probation and monitored electronically twenty-four hours a day. Defendants on this program must remain in their homes when not at their employment or receiving treatment. A response team responds to violations twenty-four hours a day.
embezzlement
Financial fraud
en banc
"In the bench" or "full bench" in French. Refers to court sessions with the entire membership of a court participating rather than the usual quorum. U.S. courts of appeals usually sit in panels of three judges, but may expand to a larger number in certain cases. They are then said to be sitting _ _ _ _ _ _ (French).
endorsement of witnesses
Naming of all prosecution witnesses
enhanced intensive probation
Intensive probation with the added requirement of electronic monitoring of the defendant similar to that used in electronic house arrest.
equity
A body of law, or field of jurisdiction, differing in its origin, theory, and methods from common law; often used in a general sense to refer to the body of law pertaining to injunctions and restraining orders.
evidence
Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
ex parte
On one side only, done for one party.
exclusionary rule
Evidence gained illegaly cannot be used
exculpatory
Clearing or tending to clear from alleged fault or guilt.
expert witness
Woman/man of a science educated in the art, or persons possessing special or peculiar knowledge acquired from practical experience.
extortion/exaction
Obtaining money, property or services through coercion
extradition
The surrender by one state to another of an individual accused or convicted of an offense outside its own territory and within the territorial jurisdiction of the other.
failure to appear (FTA)
Defendant does not appear for court, order for arrest is issued.
federal question
Jurisdiction given to federal courts in cases involving the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties.
felony
A crime of graver or more atrocious nature than those designated as misdemeanors, carrying more potential jail, usually more than a year, time for an offender.
file
To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court to enter into the files or records of a case.
fraud
Intentional deception made for personal gain
fugitive
One who flees or escapes from some duty or penalty.
grand jury
A jury composed of eighteen citizens to meet in felony cases and to determine whether a crime probably occurred and whether the defendant probably committed the crime. If twelve of the eighteen jurors agree then they return a true bill of indictment.
habeas corpus
A writ that is usually used to bring a prisoner before the court to determine the legality of his imprisonment. It may also be used to bring a person in custody before the court to give testimony, or to be prosecuted.
handling
Dishonestly dealing with stolen property
hearsay
Statements by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else.
hoax
Deception without the intention of gain
hung jury
A jury whose members cannot agree whether the accused is guilty or not; mistrial.
impeach
To discredit the truthfulness of a witness.
impeachment
(2) The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may "impeach" (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government for trial in the Senate.
impeachment
(1) The process of calling something into question, as in "impeaching the testimony of a witness."
in forma pauperis
"In the manner of a pauper" (Latin). Permission given to a person to sue without payment of court fees on claim of indigence or poverty.
indictment
A formal written accusation, made by a grand jury after submission by the prosecutor and filed in a court, alleging that a specific person committed a specific crime. The office of the District Attorney prepares indictments.
indigent
An accused person who has been found by the court to be too poor to pay for his/her own attorney.
information
A formal accusation by a government attorney that the defendant committed a misdemeanor.
infraction
Minor violation of the law that does not rise to the level of misdemeanor. Driving offense make up the bulk of charges designated as infractions.
injunction
An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
innocent
Free from guilt; free from legal fault. This should not be confused with the term "not guilty." Not guilty is a verdict by a judge or a jury that a person accused of a crime did not commit it or that there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime.
instructions
Judge's explanation to the jury before it begins deliberations of the questions it must answer and the law governing the case.
intensive probation
Defendants are on supervised probation, have curfews, and see probation officer at least once a week.
interrogatories
Written questions asked by one party of an opposing party, who must answer them in writing under oath; a discovery device in a lawsuit.
interview
A meeting with the police or prosecutor.
Investigation
the gathering of evidence by law-enforcement officials (and in some cases prosecutors) for presentation to a grand jury or in a court, to prove that the accused did commit the crime.
involuntary manslaughter
Accidental killing during unlawful but not felonous act
issue
(1) The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit.
issue
(2) To send out officially, as in to issue an order.
jail
A confinement facility. Technically, a jail is administered by a local law-enforcement agency for adults and sometimes juveniles who have been accused of committing a crime but whose trials are not yet over, and persons who have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for one year or less.
judge
A judicial officer who has been elected or appointed to preside over a court of law.
judge pro tem
A temporary judge appointed for a particular day or to hear a particular matter; may be a lawyer, court commissioner, or retired judge.
judgment
The official decision of a court finally determining the respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit.
judgment
A court's final determination of the rights and obligations of the parties in a case. This may be in answer to a motion or trial.
judiciary
General term referring to the entire court system, i.e. the third branch of government.
jurisdiction
(1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case.
jurisdiction
(2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
jurisprudence
The study of law and the structure of the legal system.
juror
A person who is on the jury.
jury
A group of citizens who decide whether the accused is guilty or not. They are selected by law and sworn to determine certain facts by listening to testimony in order to reach a decision as to guilt or innocence.
jury room
The room in which the jurors wait when they are not present in the courtroom, and when they are deliberating at the end of the trial.
jury selection
The process by which the judge, the prosecutor, and the defense attorney screen citizens who have been called to jury duty to determine if they will hear the evidence and decide guilt or innocence in a particular trial.
juvenile
A person accused of an offense who is too young at the time of the alleged offense to be subject to criminal court proceedings as an adult and is therefore handled in the juvenile justice system.
larceny
Wrongful acquisition of the personal property of sy
law
General term for rules and principles of conduct established by the constitution, the legislature, or the courts.
law clerk (or staff attorney)
Assist judges with research and drafting of opinions.
lawsuit
A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint.
litigation
A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
loan sharking
Offer unsecured loans at high interest rates to individuals
local rules
Rules of procedure adopted by each court to supplement the statewide rules, usually adopted by the state's highest court.
magistrate
A judicial officer who is lower in rank than a judge, serving as an assistant to the judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions; similar in function to a court commissioner. A committing magistrate is a magistrate having the authority to conduct preliminary hearings in criminal cases, and to decide whether defendants should be committed or released until trial.
magistrate judges
Judicial officers who assist U.S. district judges in getting cases ready for trial, who may decide some criminal and civil trials when both parties agree to have the case heard by a magistrate judge instead of a judge.
misdemeanor
Offenses lower than felonies and generally those punishable by fine or imprisonment otherwise than in penitentiary. These crimes are generally punishable by no more than 150 days in jail.
mistrial
An invalid trial, caused by fundamental error. When a m _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is declared, the trial must start again from the selection of the jury.
mitigating factor
A factor that make a crime less deserving of punishment than most similar crimes. Mitigating factors are often defined by law and include such things as - defendant was very young; the person was honorably discharged from the armed forces, et cetera.
mugging
street robbery
nolo contendere
No contest-has the same effect as a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned, but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any other purpose.
not guilty
A verdict by a judge or a jury that a person accused of a crime did not commit it or that there is not enough evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the crime.
not guilty plea
A formal response by a person accused of committing a specific crime in which the accused says that the charges are not true and he did not commit the crime.
notice
A written order to appear in court at a certain time and place.
oath
A promise to tell the truth.
objection
A reason that an attorney interrupts a witness to talk to the judge.
offender
An adult who has been convicted of a crime.
offense
A crime; technically, in some jurisdictions, only the most minor crimes are called offenses.
opening statement
An outline of anticipated proof. Its purpose is to advise the jury prior to testimony of the facts relied upon and of issues involved; and to give the jury a general picture of the facts and the situations so that the jury will be able to understand the evidence.
opinion
A judge's written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because of the reasoning and/or the principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment.
oral argument
An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court and also to answer the judges' questions.
order of arrest
An order for the arrest of a defendant following the filing of charges or failure to appear when required by the court.
ordinance
Usually refers to a law enacted by a city or county, as distinguished from a statute, which is enacted by the state legislature
panel
(1) In appellate cases, a group of judges (usually three) assigned to decide the case.
panel
(2) In the jury selection process, the group of potential jurors.
parole
The conditional release of a convicted offender from a confinement facility before the end of his sentence with requirements for the offender's behavior set and supervised by a parole agency.
parties
Plaintiffs and defendants (petitioners and respondents) to lawsuits, also known as appellants and appellees in appeals, and their lawyers.
penitentiary
A state or federal prison.
perjury
Deliberate false testimony under oath involving a material fact.
perpetrator
A person who actually commits a crime.
personal recognizance
The promise of an accused person to thecourt that he will return to court when ordered to do so; given in exchange for release before and during his trial.
petit jury (or trial jury)
A group of citizens who hear the evidence presented by both sides at trial and determine the facts in dispute. Federal criminal juries consist of 12 persons. Federal civil juries consist of six persons.
petition
A document filed in juvenile court alleging that a juvenile should come under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for some offense or asking that the juvenile be transferred to criminal court for prosecution as an adult.
piracy
hijacking a ship and taking possession of it
plaintiff
The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
plea
In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
plea
A defendant's formal answer in court to the charge that he has committed a crime. Some possible pleas include - guilty, not guilty, no contest, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
plea bargain
A negotiation in which the defendant agrees to enter a plea of guilty to a lesser charge and the prosecutor agrees to drop a more serious charge
pleadings
Written statements of the parties in a civil case of their positions. In the federal courts, the principal pleadings are the complaint and the answer.
possession of stolen goods
Possessing knowingly stolen goods
pre-sentence investigation (PSI)
Report compiled by the Probation Department after plea and before sentencing to make sentencing recommendations to the judge.
precedent
A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
precedent
A previously decided case, furnishing an example for determining similar cases in the future.
preliminary hearing
A hearing where the judge decides whether there is enough evidence to make the defendant have a trial.
presiding judge
The judge who is presiding over a particular trial or proceeding; in multijudge districts, the term is used to refer to the one judge who also has supervisory and administrative responsibilities within the court.
pretrial conference
A meeting of the judge and lawyers to discuss which matters should be presented to the jury, to review evidence and witnesses, to set a timetable, and to discuss the settlement of the case.
price gouging
Pricing sg much higher than is considered reasonable or fair (during emergencies)
pro se
A Latin term meaning "on one's own behalf"; in courts, it refers to persons who present their own cases without lawyers.
probable cause
Reasonable suspicion of a crime
probation
A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
probation hearing
A hearing before a judge to review the performance of a defendant while on probation. Hearings are not generally held unless a probationer has violated some term of their probationary sentence.
probation officers (or pretrial services officers)
Screen applicants for pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision.
procedure
The rules for the conduct of a lawsuit.
prosecute
To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
prosecutor
An attorney for the community elected by the voters of a district to represent the interests of the general public, including crime victims, in court proceedings against people accused of committing crimes. Some jurisdictions use other terms for the prosecutor, such as U.S. Attorney (a federal prosecutor), district attorney, or state's attorney.
public defender
Defense attorney provided by the state
public defender
An attorney employed by a government agency to represent defendants who are unable to hire private counsel.
public defenders (or defense attorney)
Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in criminal matters.
record
A written account of all the acts and proceedings in a lawsuit.
remand
When an appellate court sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.
remand
To send back to a lower court. Typically refers to a situation where a Defendant in Superior Court asks to return a misdemeanor conviction to District Court for compliance with the judgment of that court.
restitution
State law allows the prosecutor to request restitution (repayment for the victim's losses) as part of the sentence of any defendant who is found guilty of a crime. Reimbursable losses include out-of-pocket expenses (such as repair costs, medical bills, and stolen property) which have not previously been covered.
retainer
The fee a defendant pays for an attorney to represent him.
reversal
When an appellate court sets aside the decision of a lower court because of an error. A _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ is often followed by a remand.
rights of the defendant
The powers and privileges which are constitutionally guaranteed to any person arrested and accused of committing a crime including the right to remain silent; the right to an attorney at all stages of the proceedings; the right to a courtappointed attorney if the defendant does not have the financial means to hire her/his own counsel; the right to release on reasonable
robbery
Taking sy's property by force or by the threat of force
robbery
Stealing by violence or intimidiation
Robert Gooyash
The interpreter at the European Parliament who compiled this set of flashcards.
rules of court
Statewide rules typically adopted by highest court of a particular state, governing practice and procedure in the state courts; in addition, each court may adopt local rules to supplement the statewide rules.
scam/swindle
Defraud a person by gaining his/her confidence
search warrant
Document issued by a court giving authorization to search certain premises
search warrant
An order in writing, issued by a judge or magistrate, in the name of the state, directed to a sheriff, or other officer, commanding him to search a specific house, shop, or other premises, for specific property related to a crime.
sentence
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
sequester
To separate. Sometimes juries are sequestered from outside influences during their deliberations.
service of process
The service of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
settlement
Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
shoplifting
Taking a product from a shop without paying
sidebar
A conference between the judge and lawyers held out of earshot of the jury and spectators.
smuggling
Taking goods across borders illegally
statement
A description that a witness gives tot he police and that the police write down.
statute
An act of the legislature declaring, commanding, or prohibiting something. A law.
statute of limitations
A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
statute of limitations
A statutory time limit, by which a civil or criminal case must be filed; when the time has expired, the statute of limitations is said to have run or expired.
subpoena
A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
subpoena duces tecum
A command to a witness to produce documents.
summary judgement
A decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgement as a matter of law.
Summons
A citation requiring a defendant to appear in court to answer a suit to which has been brought against him.
superior court
Where most felony cases are heard concerning violation of state statutes.
supreme court
Court of higher powers and extensive jurisdiction; our state has supreme court and the United States has a Supreme Court.
suspect
A person who is believed by criminal justice officials to be one who may have committed a specific crime, but who has not been arrested or formally charged. Once arrested a suspect is called a defendant.
temporary restraining order
Prohibits a person from an action that is likely to cause irreparable harm. This differs from an injunction in that it may be granted immediately, without notice to the opposing party, and without a hearing. It is intended to last only until a hearing can be held.
testify
Answer questions in court.
testimony
Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
theft
Taking property without proprieter's consent
tort
A civil wrong or breach of a duty to another person, as outlined by law. A very common tort is negligent operation of a motor vehicle that results in property damage and personal injury in an automobile accident.
traffic court
An administrative court that hears only traffic matters, usually uncontested.
transcript
A written, word-for-word record of what was said in a proceeding.
treason
Betrayal of one's own country
trial
A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
trial court
Court in which trials are actually held; as opposed to an appellate court, which reviews decisions by the trial courts.
U.S. Attorney (or federal prosecutor)
A lawyer appointed by the President in each judicial district to prosecute and defend cases for the federal government.
U.S. Marshall (or bailiff)
the person enforcing the rules of behavior in courtrooms.
uphold
The decision of an appellate court not to reverse but to _ _ _ _ _ _ a lower court decision.
venue
The geographical location in which a case is tried.
venue
A neighborhood, place, or county in which an injury or crime was done; or where a hearing/trial is held.
verdict
The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
Verdict
the decision of a judge or jury at the end of a trial that the accused defendant is either guilty or not guilty.
victim advocate
The person who works with prosecutors and assists the victim of a crime.
victim compensation program
A program of the state designedto provide compensation to victims of certain crimes for their damages and expenses. Initial application for funds is generally made through the office of the District Attorney through the use victim impact statements.
victim impact statement
A form provided to allow victims of crime to provide the court with their comments about the impact the crime had on them.
victim witness assistant
Employees of the District Attorney's Office that are assigned to provide information and assistance to the victims of crime. They act as liaison between the victim and the Assistant District Attorney assigned to a case.
voir dire
The process by which judges and lawyers select a petit jury from among those eligible to serve, by questioning them to determine knowledge of the facts of the case and a willingness to decide the case only on the evidence presented in court. "Voir dire" is a phrase meaning "to speak the truth."
waiver
The intentional or voluntary relinquishment of a known right.
warrant
A written order directing the arrest of a party.
witness
A person called upon by either side in a lawsuit to give testimony before the court or jury.
writ
A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
writ of certiorari
An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
writ of execution
A writ to put in force the judgment of decree of a court.
A Fortiori
Denotes a proof of a claim by means of an already proven stronger claim. Example: If it is forbidden to ride a bike with an extra passenger, then it is also forbidden to ride a bike with two extra passengers.
Ad Hominem
An ad hominem argument consists of replying to an argument or factual claim by attacking a characteristic or belief of the person making the argument or claim, rather than by addressing the substance of the argument or producing evidence against the claim. It is most commonly used to refer specifically to the ad hominem abusive, or argumentum ad personam, which consists of criticizing or personally attacking an argument's proponent in an attempt to discredit that argument.
Bona Fide
Good faith. This is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of a proposition or body of opinion.
Caveat Emptor
Let the buy beware. Generally caveat emptor is the property law doctrine that controls the sale of real property after the date of closing.
Corpus Delecti
Body of crime. This refers to the principle that it must be proven that a crime has occurred before a person can be convicted of committing the crime. For example, a person cannot be tried for larceny unless it can be proven that property has been stolen. (Remember the top 10 tips for committing the perfect crime? Keep this in mind).
De Facto
De facto is a Latin expression that means "in fact" or "in practice" but not spelled out by law. For example, de facto marriage, or a de facto standard (a standard generally accepted but not formalized).
De Jure
The opposite of de facto.
Dictum
In common law legal terminology a dictum (plural dicta) is any statement that forms a part of the judgment of a court, in particular a court whose decisions have value as precedent.
Ex Officio
By virtue of office or position; "by right of office". Often used when someone holds one position by virtue of holding another. A common misconception is that ex officio members of a committee/congress may not vote, but this is not guaranteed by that title.
Flagrante Delicto
A legal term used to indicate that a criminal has been caught in the act of committing an offense (compare corpus delicti). The colloquial "caught red-handed" or "caught in the act" are English equivalents.
Habeas Corpus
This is the name of a legal action through which a person can seek relief from unlawful detention of themselves or another person. The writ of habeas corpus has historically been an important instrument for the safeguarding of individual freedom against arbitrary state action.
Ibid.
This is the term (short for Ibidem) used to provide an endnote or footnote citation or reference for a source that was cited in the preceding endnote or footnote. To find the ibid. source, one has to look at the reference right before it, and so ibid. serves a similar purpose to ditto marks (〃).
Ipso Facto
This is directly translated as "by the fact itself", which means that a certain effect is a direct consequence of the action in question, instead of being brought about by a subsequent action such as the verdict of a tribunal.
Non Sequitur
It does not follow. This logic term refers to a conclusion which does not follow from its premise.
Obiter Dictum
"Said by the way", is a remark or observation made by a judge that, although included in the body of the court's opinion, does not form a necessary part of the court's decision.
Per Diem
"Per day," meaning specific amount of money an organization allows an individual to spend per day. Typically, though not exclusively, this is to cover travel and subsistence expenses.
Post Mortem
"After death" - an autopsy.
Prima Facie
"On its first appearance", or "by first instance". It is used in modern legal English to signify that on first examination, a matter appears to be self-evident from the facts.
Primogeniture
Primogeniture is the common law right of the first born son to inherit the entire estate, to the exclusion of younger siblings. It is the tradition of inheritance by the first-born of the entirety of a parent's wealth, estate or office; or in the absence of children, by collateral relatives, in order of seniority of the collateral line.
Pro Bono
Pro bono is a phrase derived from Latin meaning "for the public good." The term is sometimes used to describe professional work undertaken voluntarily and without payment, as a public service.
Sine Qua Non
"Without which it could not be" ("but for"). It refers to an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient. In recent times it has passed from a merely legal usage to a more general usage in many languages.
Subpoena
A subpoena is "a command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter."