A written order issued by a judge that directs a law enforcement officer to search a specific area for a particular piece of evidence.
In bankruptcy proceedings, a debt is secured if the debtor gave the creditor a right to repossess the property or goods used as collateral.
An affirmative defense in which the defendant claims that a criminal act was legally justifiable because it was necessary to protect a person or property from the threat or action of another.
The constitutional right of people to refuse to give testimony against themselves that could subject them to criminal prosecution. The right is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution. Asserting the right is often referred to as taking the Fifth.
A will whose validity does not have to be testified to in court by the witnesses to it, since the witnesses executed an affidavit reflecting proper execution of the will prior to the maker's death.
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime. A concurrent sentence means that two or more sentences would run at the same time. A consecutive sentence means that two or more sentences would run one after another.
A document containing background material on a convicted person. It is prepared to guide the judge in the imposition of a sentence. Sometimes called a presentence report.
To separate. Sometimes juries are separated from outside influences during their deliberations. For example, this may occur during a highly publicized trial.
Keeping all witnesses (except plaintiff and defendant) out of the courtroom except for their time on the stand, and cautioning them not to discuss their testimony with other witnesses. Also called separation of witnesses. This prevents a witness from being influenced by the testimony of a prior witness.
The delivery of a legal document, such as a complaint, summons, or subpoena, notifying a person of a lawsuit or other legal action taken against him or her. Service, which constitutes formal legal notice, must be made by an officially authorized person in accordance with the formal requirements of the applicable laws.
An agreement between the parties disposing of a lawsuit.
The person who sets up a trust. Also called the grantor.
Male only sex offender group.
A pre-disposition (that is, prior to a plea or a finding of involvement or guilt) placement outside of the family home.
If a juvenile has not been compliant with court-ordered conditions, then a hearing is held to allow the juvenile to demonstrate the reason(s) why he or she should not be held in contempt of court or have his or her probation revoked.
A conference between the judge and lawyers, usually in the courtroom, out of earshot of the jury and spectators.
False and defamatory spoken words tending to harm another's reputation, business, or means of livelihood. Slander is spoken defamation; libel is published.
A court that handles civil claims for small amounts of money. People often represent themselves rather than hire an attorney. In the District of Columbia, the maximum claim sought in Small Claims Court cannot exceed $5,000.
The doctrine that the government, state or federal, is immune to lawsuit unless it gives its consent.
A remedy requiring a person who has breached a contract to perform specifically what he or she agreed to do. Specific performance is ordered when monetary damages would be inadequate compensation.
A trust set up for the benefit of someone who the grantor believes would be incapable of managing his or her own financial affairs.
The legal right to bring a lawsuit. Only a person with something at stake has standing to bring a lawsuit.
The doctrine that courts will follow principles of law laid down in previous cases. Similar to precedent.
A review of a case’s progress before the judge.
Youths charged with the status of being beyond the control of their legal guardian or are habitually disobedient, truant from school, or having committed other acts that would not be a crime if committed by an adult. They are not delinquents (in that they have committed no crime), but rather are persons in need of supervision, minors in need of supervision, or children in need of supervision, depending on the state in which they live. Status offenders are placed under the supervision of the juvenile court.
The time within which a plaintiff must begin a lawsuit (in civil cases) or a prosecutor must bring charges (in criminal cases). There are different statutes of limitations at both the federal and state levels for different kinds of lawsuits or crimes.
Process by which a court seeks to interpret the meaning and scope of legislation.
Law enacted by the legislative branch of government, as distinguished from case law or common law.
A court order halting a judicial proceeding.
An agreement by attorneys on both sides of a civil or criminal case about some aspect of the case, e.g., to extend the time to answer, to adjourn the trial date, or to admit certain facts at the trial.
Removal of evidence that has been improperly offered and will not be relied upon.
A Latin phrase which means “on one's own behalf.” Voluntary, without prompting or suggestion.
A court order compelling a witness to appear and testify.
A court order commanding a witness to bring certain documents or records to court.
A decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
A notice to a defendant that he or she has been sued or charged with a crime and is required to appear in court. A jury summons requires the person receiving it to report for possible jury duty