64 terms

Court-related Terms

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Acquittal
The Finding of not Guilty
Appeal
The act of seeking a higher courts review of a lower court's decision.
Arraignment
A hearing before a judge during which the judge reads the charges to the defendant and the defendant pleads guilty or not guilty.
Arrest
The taking of a person into custody by an officer of the law.
Bail
Money a defendant puts up (usually a bond) to allow his or her release from custody and to guarantee his or her appearance at a future hearing.
Bailiff
The individual in the courtroom who helps the judge manage the evidence and maintain order in the courtroom.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
A standard of proof required to convict a person of a crime. The jury has a high degree of certainty about the defendant's guilt, although they need not be 100 percent convinced.
Burden of Proof
A party's duty to prove a disputed fact.
Capital Offense
An offense that has death as a penalty.
Certification
A decision made by a judge to try a juvenile in adult court.
Charge
The process of accusing the defendant of a crime.
Circumstantial Evidence
Facts or testimony not based on actual personal knowledge or observation, by which other non-substantiated facts can be reasonably inferred.
Civil Lawsuit
A lawsuit brought by individuals, companies or agencies against other individuals, companies or agencies to obtain relief for injuries suffered, monetary loss, physical injury, etc.
Closing Argument
A speech to the jury by the prosecutor and then the defense to try to convince the jurors how the evidence proves his or her side of the case.
Complaint
A legal written document by a person bringing a civil lawsuit stating his or her claims against the defendant. Also, the written document charging an alleged criminal defendant.
Decree
A final judgment or determination of a court.
Default
A default in an action occurs when a defendant fails to appear at the trial allowing the plaintiff to win
Defendant
Person who is sued in a civil case or accused in a criminal case.
Due Process
The notion, grounded in the Fifth and Fourteenth amendments to the U. S. Constitution, of rights in most court and administrative proceedings to receive sufficient notice of the proceeding, to be allowed to defend oneself in an orderly proceeding adapted to the nature of the case, and that every person have the protection of a day in court and the benefit of general law.
Equal Protection
This refers to the notion, grounded in the U. S. Constitution, that no person or class of persons be denied the same protection of the laws which is enjoyed by other persons or other classes in like circumstances in their lives, liberty, property and in their pursuit of happiness.
Felony
The most serious category of criminal offenses. With penalties of imprisonment ranging from a year and a day to life, or in some states, punishable by death. In Minnesota, a felony is a crime punishable by imprisonment of more than one year, with or without a fine.
Finding
The determination of fact by a judge.
Fine
The monetary penalty assessed against a defendant.
Grand Jury
In Minnesota, a panel of twenty-three citizens who hear evidence against a person accused of a crime and determine whether that person should stand trial. A grand jury can also investigate various aspects of government at its own initiative, particularly charges of corruption or mismanagement.
Gross Midemeanor
A crime with penalties of imprisonment from 91 days to one year or a fine of not more than $3,000 or both.
Homicide
The killing of one human by another, first-degree is the most serious, involves premeditation.
Immunity
Freedom from or protection against penalty. For example, an accused person may agree to give testimony in return for immunity from the prosecution.
Imprisonment
The placement of an individual in a jail or prison.
Indictment
A written accusation charging that a person has committed a crime.
Injunction
An order by the court issued to prohibit certain future conduct.
Insanity
The inability to know what one is doing and to decide if the action is right or wrong.
Intake
The step in juvenile process during which a decision is made either to detain the juvenile at a detention center or to release to the parents.
Irrelevant Facts
Evidence that does not tend to prove or disprove any issue of fact involved in a ca
Judgment
The official decision of the court
Jury
A group of citizens that decides the outcome of a civil case, or decides whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty in a criminal case. In a felony case, the jury will consist of 12 persons. In a misdemeanor or civil case, the jury consists of 6 persons. In a criminal case, the jury must reach a unanimous verdict.
Leading Question
A question that instructs the witness how to answer, puts words into the witness's mouth or suggests the desired answer.
Miranda Warning
After arrest and before questioning, arrested persons must be warned that: 1) they have the right to remain silent; 2) any statement they make may be used as evidence against them; 3) they have a right to the presence of an attorney; and 4) if they cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for them prior to any questioning if they so desire.
Parole
To release a convict from prison before his or her term is complete. Release is often conditional on good behavior.
Perjure
To knowingly and willfully give false testimony under oath
Petitioner
A person who starts a lawsuit; the party seeking to be paid for an injury or because his or her rights have been violated.
Preponderance of the Evidence
The standard of proof that requires the majority of the evidence to prove the case.
Pre-sentence Investigation
The procedure after conviction during which the defendant's criminal history is investigated.
Pre-trial Hearing
A court procedure during which the issues to be tried are narrowed and certain facts and admissions are agreed upon in order to speed up the trial.
Probable Cause
A strong belief, based on facts, that a crime has been committed, that a particular person has committed the crime and that evidence related to the crime exists.
Probation
The process of suspending a sentence, permitting a person to remain free under the supervision of a probation officer instead of serving time in prison.
Prosecutor
A public officer who conducts criminal proceedings on behalf of the state
Public Defender
An attorney paid by the county, state, or federal government who is responsible for providing representation to indigent defendants in criminal prosecutions when the courts determine the defendant cannot afford to hire a private attorney.
Rehabilitate
To permanently change behavior
Relevant
Directly related to the issue as it tends either to prove or disprove the point.
Respondent
Person who answers a petition (lawsuit).
Restitution
The sentence often used instead of a fine or imprisonment, designed to restore the victim to his or her condition before the crime.
Settlement
An agreement between plaintiff and defendant in a civil case prior to trial
Sentence
The time to be served in a prison or jail; also includes fine, probation, restitution and community service.
Standard of Proof
The burden of proof required in particular types of cases.
State
The party in a criminal trial that represents the public.
Status Offense
A class of crimes that concerns the accused's characteristics; for example - truancy only applies to minors.
Statutory Law
A law enacted by a legislature.
Stipulation
A written or oral agreement between attorneys or parties concerning some phase of a lawsuit.
Subpeona
An order compelling a witness to appear and give testimony before a court.
Substantiated Facts
The facts that have been verified.
Summons
A written notice 1) requiring the named person to appear in court on a specified day; or 2) informing the named person that a lawsuit has been started against him or her and he or she must answer.
Suspended Sentence
If certain conditions are met, a jail sentence need not be served. The sentence is then suspended
Unlawful Detainer
A legal action between a landlord and a tenant concerning the right to occupy the premises.
Warrant
Sanction or authorization, as an arrest warrant authorizes a police officer to take an individual into custody.