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a conclusive resolution of a matter and disposition of it; in a legal case, the amount of money the defendant agrees to pay the plaintiff


(law) a legal proceeding in which the appellant resorts to a higher court for the purpose of obtaining a review of a lower court decision and a reversal of the lower court's judgment or the granting of a new trial; take a court case to a higher court for review

Preliminary hearing

A hearing to determine whether there is probable cause to formally accuse a person of a crime, that is, whether there is a reasonable basis for believing that a crime has been committed and for thinking the defendant committed it. If the judge concludes that the evidence is sufficient to hold trial, and the offense is bailable, the court sets bail. If the judge concludes that the evidence is insufficient, the defendant is discharged from custody; appear before a judge to determine if enough evidence is present for a trial and probable cause


is a defendant's response to the formal charges brought against them in a criminal case; in a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges. See also nolo contendere.

plea bargaining

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; usually involves the defendant's pleading guilty to a lesser offense in return for a lighter sentence.



public defender

An attorney employed by the government to represent criminal defenders who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer.

oral argument

stage in Supreme Court procedure in which attorneys for both sides appear before the Court to present their positions and answer questions posed by justices


Question closely, or question a witness that has already been questioned by the opposing side; to question a witness at a trial or a hearing to check or discredit the testimony


a writ issued by court authority to compel the attendance of a witness at a judicial proceeding; a legal requirement that someone or something appear in court to give or be evidence; a legal order requiring a person to appear in court to give testimony


criminal offense of making false statements under oath


a judgment of not guilty; deliverance from a charge; V. acquit: free from a charge or accusation; discharge from a duty; conduct (oneself) in a specified manner;, n. A discharge from accusation by judicial action.

Hung Jury

a jury that is unable to agree on a verdict (the result is a mistrial)


(law) the findings of a jury on issues of fact submitted to it for decision; the decision a jury makes in a trial; the decision said by the jury


with an attorney present, the judge decides whether to impose a term of incarceration and, if so, the duration of the term; judge sets punishment for convicted defendant, can vary from case to case


a program for reforming the offender to prevent later offenses; the process of learning to cope with everyday living.

Capital offense

a crime so serious that capital punishment is considered appropriate


the act or process of discouraging actions or preventing occurrences by instilling fear or doubt or anxiety, a communication that makes you afraid to try something


compensation;, the act of restoring someone or something to the rightful owner or to a former state or position; making good on a loss or damage


the act of correcting for your wrongdoing; a repayment; a deserved punishment; " You did the crime, you do the time"


imprisonment; jailing; confinement, a method of protecting society from criminals by keeping them in prisons

mandatory sentencing

punishment that judges must impose according to what the law directs

Structured Sentencing

formal sentencing based on severity of crime and prior record ; a model of criminal punishment that includes determinate and commission-created presumptive sentencing schemes, as well as voluntary/advisory sentencing guidelines.


a sentence which releases a convicted person into the community under the supervision of a probation officer


tendency to repeat previous behavior;

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