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Law Glossary / "D - J"
This section defines law terms commonly used in injury claims. Entries have been simplified for the benefit of non lawyers  Sources: Black's Law Dictionary, Abridged 5th ed., 1983 and Oran's Law Dictionary for Non Lawyers,1975. 
From The Ashes:
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Damages - Compensation recovered in the courts by a person who has suffered loss, detriment or injury to his/her person, property or rights, through the unlawful act or negligence of another. 

  De novo - "Anew." A trial de novo is a completely new trial held in a higher or appellate court as if the original trial had never taken place. 

  Declamatory judgment - A judgment that declares the rights of the parties on a question of law. 

  Decree - Decision or order of the court. A final decree completes the suit; an interlocutory decree is a provisional or preliminary decree which is not final. 

  Default - A failure of a party to respond in a timely manner to a pleading; a failure to appear for trial. 

  Defendant - 1 (criminal) Person charged with a crime. 2. (civil) Person against whom a civil action is brought. 

  Defense attorney - The attorney who represents the defendant. 

  Deposition - Sworn testimony taken and recorded in an authorized place outside of the courtroom, according to the rules of the court. 

  Direct examination - The questioning of a witness by the party who produced the witness. 

  Discovery - A pretrial proceeding where a party to an action may be informed about (or "discover") the facts known by other parties or witnesses. 

  Dismissal with prejudice - Dismissal of a case by a judge which bars the losing losing party from raising the issue again in another lawsuit. 

  Dismissal without prejudice - The losing party is permitted to sue again with the same cause of action. 

  Disposition - 1. Determination of a charge; termination of any legal action;  2. A sentence of a juvenile offender. 

  Dissent - The disagreement of one or more judges of a court with the decision of the majority. 

  Docket - Book containing entries of all proceedings in a court. 

  Due process - Constitutional guarantee that an accused person receive a fair and impartial trial. up arrow

En banc "On the bench." All judges of a court sitting together to hear a case. 

  Enjoin - To require a person to perform, or abstain or desist from some act. 

  Evidence - Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents, etc. 

  Exception - A formal objection of an action of the court, during the trial of a case, in refusing a request or overruling an objection; implying that the party excepting does not acquiesce in the decision of the court and will seek to obtain its reversal. 

  Exhibit - Paper, document or other object received by the court as evidence during a trial or hearing. 

  Expert evidence - Testimony given by those qualified to speak with authority regarding scientific, technical or professional matters. up arrow

Fact-findinq hearing - A proceeding where facts relevant to deciding a controversy are determined. 

  Fair Preponderance-- Evidence sufficient to create in the minds of the triers of fact the belief that the party which bears the burden of proof has established its case. 

  Felony - A crime of grave nature than a misdemeanor. 

  Fine - A sum of money imposed upon a convicted person as punishment for a criminal offense. 

  File - 1. The complete court record of a case.  2. "To file" a paper is to give it to the court clerk for inclusion in the case record. 3. A folder in a law office (of a case, a client, business records, etc.) 

  Fraud - An intentional perversion of truth; deceitful practice or device resorted to with intent to deprive another of property or other right or in some manner do him/her injury. up arrow

General jurisdiction - Refers to courts that have no limit on the types of criminal and civil cases they may hear. Superior courts are courts of general jurisdiction. 

  Grand Jury - A body of persons sworn to inquire into crime and, if appropriate, bring accusations (indictments) against the suspected criminals. 

  Guardian ad litem - A person appointed by a court to manage the interests of a minor or incompetent person whose property is involved in litigation. 

Hearing - An in-court proceeding before a judge, generally open to the public. 

  Hearsay - Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what the witness has personally experienced or observed. 

  Hung Jury - A jury whose members cannot agree on a verdict. 

  Hypothetical question - A combination of facts and circumstances, assumed or proved, stated in such a form as to constitute a coherent state of facts upon which the opinion of an expert can be asked by way of evidence in a trial. up arrow

Immunity - Freedom from duty or penalty. 

  Impeachment of a witness - An attack on the credibility of a witness by the testimony of other witnesses. 

  Inadmissible - That which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted or received. 

  Induction - Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried out by a person or group. 

  Informed consent - A person's agreement to allow something to happen (such as surgery) that is based on a full disclosure of facts needed to make the decision intelligently. 

  Injure - 1. Hurt or harm 2. Violate the legal rights of another person. 

  Instruction - Direction given by a judge regarding the applicable law in a given case. 

  Interrogatories - Written questions developed by one party's attorney for the opposing party. Interrogatories must be answered under oath within a specific period of time. 

  Intervention - Proceeding in a suit where a third person is allowed, with the court's permission, to join the suit as a party. up arrow

Judge - An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law. 

  Judgment - Final determination by a court of the rights and claims of the parties in an action. 

  Judge pro tem - Temporary judge. 

  Jurisdiction-- Authority of a court to exercise judicial power. 

  Jurisprudence - The science of law. 

  Juror - Member of a jury. 

  Jury - Specific number of people (usually 6 or 12), selected as prescribed by law to render a decision (verdict) in a trial. up arrow


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