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Litigation Process

For YHS Gov students

TermDefinition
Appeal In most civil and criminal cases each party has the right to petition a higher court to reconsider a verdict based on a question of law.
Verdict The finding of the jury or judge that determines which party wins the case. In a civil case, this determines the amount of any damages to be awarded. In a criminal case, this establishes the defendant's guilt but a judge imposes a sentence.
Jury deliberations What happens when a group of jurors adjourns to discuss a case and reach a verdict.
Closing arguments After each party has presented its case, each side makes statements summarizing the testimony and the law governing the case.
Objections Lawyers will from time to time lodge a protest against a question being asked by the other side or to the admission of a particular piece of evidence.
Cross examination One side may ask questions of each witness called by the other side.
Opening statement A plaintiff in a civil case or the District Attorney in a criminal case makes a statement outlining the facts he or she expects to establish during the trial.
Voire dire examination Part of the jury selection process in which a judge will try to determine whether there are any reasons why a particular juror might have difficulty making a fair decision in the case.
Rules of evidence Rules that determine the admission or exclusion of particular statements of witnesses or exhibits to be considered by the judge or jury. The basic issue is whether the evidence is reliable and relevant to the case at hand.
Jury trial A court case in which a group of citizens determine whether the defendant is guilty in a criminal case, and decide who wins and the amount of any damages in a civil case.
Mediation A third party to help two sides reach settlement in a civil case.
Settlement Reaching an agreement with opposing party to avoid cost of full trial.
Discovery The process by which each party can get information about the other's case.
Summons In a civil case, the formal notification that a suit has been started.
Complaint In a civil case, when the plaintiff prepares a written statement describing the nature of his/her claim.
Plea bargain The process in which a criminal case is settled without trial because defendants negotiate with the prosecuting attorney.
Indictment A formal charge of a crime in a criminal case.
Grand jury In a criminal case, this is a group of citizens whose task is to review the prosecution's evidence and decide whether it is sufficient to justify a trial.
Bail A sum of money or property deposited by a person to assure that person's appearance at trial. It is not a fine, but it will be forfeited if the person does not appear at court.
Booked In a criminal trial, once an individual has been arrested, he or she is brought to a police station or county jail; the person's photograph and fingerprints are taken.
Probable cause A reasonable belief, based on reliable information, that a crime has been committed and that the individual being apprehended committed the crime.
Subpoena A court order directing a witness (person who has knowledge about the issue) to appear on a specified date.
Criminal case This kind of legal case is brought by the government against an individual accused of committing a crime.
Civil case This kind of legal case normally involves a dispute between private individuals or corporations.
Appellant A person who applies to a higher court for a reversal of the decision of a lower court.
Appellee The respondent in a case appealed to a higher court.
Created by: yhs-sanders