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Chapter 11

Criminal Justice Vocabulary Words

TermDefinition
Affirmative Defense A defense to the plaintiff's complaint raised in the defendant's answer
Allegations Numbered paragraphs setting forth the background and reasons for filing a suit
Amendment (to a pleading) An amended pleading is one that is corrected in regard to facts that existed at the time the original pleading was filed. Contrast to supplemental pleading.
Answer A formal, written statement by the defendant in a lawsuit that answers each allegation contained in the complaint
Appeal A proceeding brought to a higher court to review a lower court's decision
Appellant The party who takes an appeal from one court or jurisdiction to another
Appellee The party in a cause against whom an appeal is taken
Assumption of risk The legal rule under which a person may not recover for an injury he or she receives when voluntarily exposing him- or herself to a known danger
At issue (joined) The term used to describe the status of litigation when the complaint and a responsive pleading have been filed
Attorney-Client Privilege The privilege that protects confidential communications, oral or written, between the attorney and a client in the course of the professional relationship that cannot be disclosed without the consent of the client
Bench Trial Trial by a judge, rather than a jury
Bill Of Cost A certified , itemized statement of the amount of costs in an action of suit
Caption or Style The title of the case, which usually includes the name of the court, the names of the parties, and the court number
Case Number A number assigned to a case
Cause of Action The incident of facts that give a person a right to relief in court
Challenge for Cause A request by a plaintiff or defendant to a judge that a prospective juror not be allowed to be a member of the jury because of specified causes or reasons
Civil Cover Sheet A cover sheet required by many courts listing the parties, the type of action, and other information relates to the case that may be administratively useful to the court
Claimant One who claims or asserts a right
Closing Arguments A summary presented by each party to a case that gives the jury reasons to find in the party's favor
Comparative Negligence The rule under which negligence is measured by percentage and damages are diminished in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the plaintiff
Complaint The original pleading by which an action is filed in court
Contingency Fee Agreement A fee that is a percentage of the amount obtained in negotiation or or litigation with another party
Continue or Continuance Rescheduling of a court date to a later date
Contributory Negligence An affirmative defense that asserts the injuries and damages complained of by the plaintiff were caused in whole or in part by the plaintiff's own negligence
Counterclaim A claim presented by a defendant in opposition to or for deduction from the claim of plaintiff
Cross-Claim A pleading filed by a defendant that asserts a claim against another defendant arising out of the same action as the original complaint
Cross-Examine (Cross-Examination) Questioning of a party by opposing counsel
Default 1) Failure of the defendant to appear and answer the summons and complaint in litigation 2) Failure to comply with the terms of a contract
Money Damages Damages in a case that can be reduced to financial claims
Motion for Continuance A motion that seeks to postpone a trial or hearing date
Motion for Dismissal A motion to dismiss a trial
Motion for Instructed or Directed Verdict A motion typically made by the defendant's lawyer at the close of evidence presented by the plaintiff, based on the premise that the plaintiff has failed to prove his or her case
Motion for Judgment non obstante verdict or notwithstanding the verdict A posttrial motion that asks the judge to disregard a jury's verdict
Motion for Mistrial A motion that requests immediate dismissal of a case because inadmissible evidence has been presented that irreparably damages one of the parties's cases
Motion for New Trial A posttrial motion that is filed prior to requesting and appeal
Motion for Nonsuit A motion requesting the court to dismiss the case for lack of action on the part of the opposing party. In various courts, the action is referred to as a voluntary dismissal or motion for dismissal
Motion for Order to Show Cause A motion that requests the court to issue specific relief for the filing party that requires the opposing party to appear and demonstrate, or show cause, why the relief should not be granted
Motion for Protective Order A motion filed to protect one party from requests by the opposing party, such as a request to take depositions at too great a distance from the witness
Motion for Sanctions A motion filed when discovery responses are not delivered timely to request disciplinary action
Motion for Summary Judgment A pleading that requests the court to grant judgment against the opposing party, where the party filing believes there is no real issue of fact to be decided at trial
Motion in Limine A motion which seeks to suppress revelation of certain information during litigation
Motion to Change Venue A pleading filed before answering a petition or complaint that requests the case be transferred to another county or parish
Motion to Compel A motion seeking an order compelling the opposing party to perform some action relative to the litigation; often used to compel production of overdue discovery
Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution Occurs when the court closes a case as nothing has been filed within a specified period of time.
Motion to Dismiss for Want of Prosecution The Plaintiff did not do what he or she was supposed to do, such as showing up for a hearing or trial setting, or failing to take certain specified actions
Motion to Quash Service A motion seeking to have service declare invalid on the basis that service was improperly made, that the wrong party was served, or that the summons does not show the date of service
Party A legal person or entity engaged in litigation with another
Peremptory Challenge Request by a party that a judge not allow a prospective juror to serve as a member of the jury. No reason or cause need be given
Petition First pleading filed in any lawsuit; also called complaint
Petition in Intervention An additional party with an interest in the outcome of a lawsuit may file a petition in intervention, setting out the details of the intervenor's interests and the relief the intervenor seeks
Petitioner Initiating party in a dissolution of marriage proceeding
Plaintiff A person or entity who brings the action; the party who complains or sues in a civil action
Pleading(s) Written statement made by each side of a lawsuit concerning the various claims and defenses to be decided in court
Prayer A summary in the complaint or petition which states what the plaintiff or petitioner is asking the court to do
Preserving the Record A recording is made of testimony on disputed points in litigation, typically by a court recorder; the transcript can be used to support a later appeal
Pretrial Conference Conference among the lawyers and the judge called at the discretion of the court to review the issues to be tried and set discovery deadlines and hearing and trial dates
Default Judgment When a party fails to appear or respond to a petition or complaint, judgment can be granted to the opposing party by default
Defendant 1) The person or entity defending or denying a suit. 2) The party against whom recovery is sought or the accused in a criminal case.
Deponent A person who makes a deposition or affidavit under oath.
Deposition Testimony of a witness or a party taken under oath outside the courtroom
Direct Examination Questioning of a party to litigation conducted by the party's counsel
Discovery The process by which a party to a lawsuit is entitled to obtain facts, documents, and information about the case
Entry of Appearance Formala entry of an attorney into a case, presented to the court in pleading form
Failure to State a Claim Affirmative defense that alleges that the plaintiff failed to state a claim that the court can require the defendant to satisfy
Fiduciary A person or institution that manages money or property of another and must exercise a standard of care imposed by law, e.g., personal representatives or executor of an estate, a trustee, etc.
Flat Fee A set fee based on a specific type of legal work
Hung Jury A jury that cannot reach a verdict; a hung jury results in a mistrial
Impeach Discredit, as a witness for an opposing party
Injunctive Relief A type of relief in equity in which a party is ordered not to perform an action or to perform an action
Interrogatories A set or series of written questions served upon a party, witness, or other person having information or interest in a case; a discovery device
Judgment Creditor One who is owed money as a result of a judgment in his or her favor
Judgment Debtor ONe who owes money as a result of a judgment in favor of a creditor
Judgment-proof A judgment debtor that has no assets to seize in satisfaction of a judgment is considered Judgment-proof
Jurisdiction The power and authority of a court to hear and try a case
Laches(Doctrine of) An affirmative defense that alleges an inappropriate delay in filing suit that resulted in prejudice to the defendant
Leave of Court Permission of the court to take some action
Legal File A transcript of court proceedings submitted as a part of an appeal
Majority Age at which a person is legally no longer a minor
Mediation Nonbinding settlement discussions between the parties
Memorandum Opinion (or opinion) A judgment in which the judge sets to the factual and legal reasons that the judge used to reach the conclusions given in his or her opinions
Mistrial Declared when an event occurs that undoes the ability to conduct a fair trial. One cause might be the revelation of excluded information either deliberately or accidentally; another cause would be the inability of the jury to determine a verdict
Privilege Log A log describing discovery documents the production of which is objected to by the answering party
Rebuttal Evidence given by one party in litigation to refute evidence introduced by the other party
Redirect Examination Questioning of a party by the party's own counsel following a session of cross-examination of opposing counsel
Registered Agent An individual named by a corporation to receive service of process on behalf of the corporation. The registered against is listed with the state corporate division, along with his or her contact information for service
Remove (removal to federal court) Where the facts of a case permit either federal or state action, and the case is filed in state court, the opposing party can have the case removed to federal court for hearing under federal law and rules
Request for Admissions Written statements of fact concerning a case that are submitted to an adverse party which that party must admit or deny
Request for Production of Documents A direction or demand served upon another party, witness, or other person for production of specific documents and things for review with respect to a suit; a discovery device
Res Judicata The principle stat states that once there has been a judicial decision, the matter cannot be litigated again
Respondent The party against whom a dissolution of marriage proceeding is initiated
Standing A concept requiring that the person injured is the one that must sue
Statute of Limitation The time period following an occurrence within which a lawsuit must be filed
Submitted on the Record An appeal in which no oral arguments are presented is considered submitted on the recored of the case in lower court
Subpoena Duces Tecum A command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony and to bring items specified in the subpoena
Summons Instrument used to provide noticed to a defendant or witness to a civil action or special proceeding
Supplemental Pleading A supplemental proceeding is filed to address events that were not known or did not exist at the time that the original pleading was filed
Venue The district or county which is the residence of a principal defendant, where a contract was executed or is to be performed, or where an accident took place.
Verification A statement that the allegations in a complaint or discovery responses are true and correct
Voir Dire The preliminary examination in a court of a witness or juror to determine his competency or interest in a matter. "to speak the truth"
With Prejudice A type of judgment that bars the right to bring or maintain an action on the same claim or cause
Work Product Doctrine A doctrine that protects the evaluations, strategy, and planning of the attorney from discovery by opposing counsel during litigation
Writ of Certiorari An order by the appellate court requiring the lower or trial court to surrender jurisdiction to the appellate court for the duration of the appeal
Writ of Execution An order of the court evidencing the debt or one party to another and commanding the court officer to take property in satisfaction of the debt
Writ of Garnishment ´┐╝An order of the court in which property, money, or credits in the possession of a third party may be seized and applied to pay a debtor's debt. it is used as an incident to or auxiliary of a judgment rendered in a principle action
Created by: StRavens