- 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.
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.
judgment - A judgment that declares the rights of the parties on a
question of law.
- Decision or order of the court. A final decree completes the suit; an
interlocutory decree is a provisional or preliminary decree which is not
- A failure of a party to respond in a timely manner to a pleading; a failure
to appear for trial.
- 1 (criminal) Person charged with a crime. 2. (civil) Person against whom
a civil action is brought.
attorney - The attorney who represents the defendant.
- Sworn testimony taken and recorded in an authorized place outside of
the courtroom, according to the rules of the court.
examination - The questioning of a witness by the party who produced
- A pretrial proceeding where a party to an action may be informed about
(or "discover") the facts known by other parties or witnesses.
with prejudice - Dismissal of a case by a judge which bars the losing
losing party from raising the issue again in another lawsuit.
without prejudice - The losing party is permitted to sue again with
the same cause of action.
- 1. Determination of a charge; termination of any legal action;
2. A sentence of a juvenile offender.
- The disagreement of one or more judges of a court with the decision of
- Book containing entries of all proceedings in a court.
process - Constitutional guarantee that an accused person receive a
fair and impartial trial.
banc "On the bench." All judges of a court sitting together to hear
- To require a person to perform, or abstain or desist from some act.
- Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records,
- 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.
- Paper, document or other object received by the court as evidence during
a trial or hearing.
evidence - Testimony given by those qualified to speak with authority
regarding scientific, technical or professional matters.
- A proceeding where facts relevant to deciding a controversy
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
- A crime of grave nature than a misdemeanor.
- A sum of money imposed upon a convicted person as punishment for a criminal
- 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.)
- 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.
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
Jury - A body of persons sworn to inquire into crime and, if appropriate,
bring accusations (indictments) against the suspected criminals.
ad litem - A person appointed by a court to manage the interests of
a minor or incompetent person whose property is involved in litigation.
An in-court proceeding before a judge, generally open to the public.
- Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather
than what the witness has personally experienced or observed.
Jury - A jury whose members cannot agree on a verdict.
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.
- Freedom from duty or penalty.
of a witness - An attack on the credibility of a witness by the testimony
of other witnesses.
- That which, under the established rules of evidence, cannot be admitted
Writ or order by a court prohibiting a specific action from being carried
out by a person or group.
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
- 1. Hurt or harm 2. Violate the legal rights of another person.
- Direction given by a judge regarding the applicable law in a given case.
- Written questions developed by one party's attorney for the opposing
party. Interrogatories must be answered under oath within a specific period
Proceeding in a suit where a third person is allowed, with the court's
permission, to join the suit as a party.
- An elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide
cases in a court of law.
Final determination by a court of the rights and claims of the parties
in an action.
pro tem - Temporary judge.
Authority of a court to exercise judicial power.
- The science of law.
- Member of a jury.
- Specific number of people (usually 6 or 12), selected as prescribed by
law to render a decision (verdict) in a trial.
- Court official with limited authority.
Professional misconduct or unreasonable lack of skill. A claim of malpractice
must prove two things. One, you must prove that you could have won your
case were it not for your lawyer's negligence. And, secondly, you must
prove that your lawyer's actions were negligent.
- Command from a court directing the enforcement of a judgment, sentence
- Criminal offenses less than felonies; generally those punishable by fine
or imprisonment of less than 90 days in a local facility. A gross misdemeanor
is a criminal offense for which an adult could be sent to jail for up to
one year, pay a fine up to $5,000 or both.
- Erroneous or invalid trial. Usually declared because of prejudicial error
in the proceedings or when there was a hung jury.
circumstances - Those which do not constitute a justification or excuse
for an offense but which may be considered as reasons for reducing the
degree of blame.
- Oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during or
after a trial upon which a court issues a ruling or order.
- Unsettled; undecided. A moot point is one not settled by judicial
- The absence of ordinary care.
- Written or oral pledge by a person to keep a promise or speak the truth.
- Statement by an attorney taking exception to testimony or the attempted
admission of evidence and opposing its consideration as evidence.
counsel - Phrase used to identify attorneys that are employed by a
party to assist in the preparation and management of a case but who are
not the principal attorneys of record in the case.
- 1. A person who has committed a felony, as established by state law and
is eighteen years of age or older. 2. A person who is less than eighteen
but whose felony case has been transferred by the juvenile court to a criminal
- 1. To make a proposal ; to present for acceptance or rejection.
2. To attempt to have something admitted into evidence in a trial;
to introduce evidence 3. An "offer" in contract law is a proposal to make
a deal. It must be communicated successfully from the person making
it to the person to whom it is made and it must be the person to whom it
is made and it must be definite and reasonably certain in its terms.
hearing - A pretrial hearing normally scheduled at the same time the
trial date is established. Purpose of the hearing is to ensure each party
receives (or "discovers") vital information concerning the case held by
the other. In addition, the judge may rule on the scope of discovery or
on the admissibility of challenged evidence.
statement - The initial statement made by attorneys for each side,
outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial.
- statement of decision by a judge or court regarding a case tried before
it. Published opinions are printed because they contain new legal interpretations.
Unpublished opinions, based on legal precedent, are not printed.
per curiam - Phrase used to distinguish an opinion of the whole court
from an opinion written by only one judge.
- 1. Court's denial of any motion or point raised to the court. 2. To overturn
or void a decision made in a prior case.