A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the
party making it, before a notary or officer having authority
to administer oaths.
something that someone says happened.
A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually
the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was
conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or
"to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the
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.
Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.
A judge's office.
A crime punishable by death.
The law that the police believe the defendant has broken.
to the jury:
The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that
applies to the facts of the case on trial.
All evidence except eyewitness testimony.
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.
written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs
allegedly committed by the defendant.
Put off trial unitl another time.
A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Legal advice; a term used to refer to lawyers in a case.
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes.
Judges sometimes use "court" to refer to themselves in the
third person, as in "the court has read the briefs."
A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in
court and produces a transcript of the proceedings upon
Questioning of a witness by the attorney for the other side.
In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a
criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
table where the defense lawyer sits with the defendant in
An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law
to administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to
examine potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be
used later in trial.
Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents
in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare
A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.
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.
A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
A body of citizens who listen to evidence of criminal
allegations, which are presented by the government, and
determines whether there is probable cause to believe the
offense was committed. As it is used in federal criminal
cases, "the government" refers to the lawyers of the U.S.
attorney's office who are prosecuting the case.
Statements by a witness who did not see or hear the incident
in question but heard about it from someone else. Hearsay is
usually not admissible as evidence in court.
The process of calling something into question, as in
"impeaching the testimony of a witness." (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.
The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there
is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to
justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
Judge's explanation to the jury before it begins
deliberations of the questions it must answer and the law
governing the case.
Written questions asked by one party of an opposing party,
who must answer them in writing under oath; a discovery
device in a lawsuit.
A meeting with the police or prosecutor.
(1) The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in
a lawsuit. (2) To send out officially, as in to issue an
Government official with authority to decide lawsuits
brought before courts. Other judicial officers in the U.S.
courts system are Supreme Court justices.
The official decision of a court finally determining the
respective rights and claims of the parties to a suit.
(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. (2) The
geographic area over which the court has authority to decide
A person who is on the jury.
Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into
and declare a verdict on matters of fact.
Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony,
punishable by less than a year of confinement.
invalid trial, caused by fundamental error. When a mistrial
is declared, the trial must start again from the selection
of the jury.
A promise to tell the truth.
A reason that an attorney interrupts a witness to talk to
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.
An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position
before the court and also to answer the judges' questions.
The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading
"guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a
declaration made in open court.
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.
sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court
releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as
certain conditions are observed.
probation officers (or pretrial services officers) :
Screen applicants for pretrial
release and monitor convicted offenders released under court
To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a
on-behalf of the government.
defenders (or defense attorney):
Represent defendants who can't afford an attorney in
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted
of a crime.
To separate. Sometimes juries are sequestered from outside
influences during their deliberations.
A conference between the judge and lawyers held out of
earshot of the jury and spectators.
A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Answer questions in court.
Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or
before grand juries.
A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not
guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give
The decision of a petit jury or a judge.
with prosecutors and assist the victims of a crime.
The process by which judges and lawyers select a 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."
written order directing the arrest of a party. A search
warrant orders that a specific location be searched for
items, which if found, can be used in court as evidence.
A person called upon by either side in a lawsuit to give
testimony before the court or jury.
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