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Ch.1

Basic Criminal Law_4th Edition_Anniken Davenport

TermDefinition
Law The body of rules of conduct created by government and enforced by the authority of government.
Jurisprudence The study of law.
Common Law The system of jurisprudence, originated in England and later applied in the United States, that is based on judicial precedent rather than legislative enactment.
Stare Decises To stand by that which was decided,; rule by which courts decide new cases based on how they decided similar cases before.
Precedent Prior decision that a court must follow when deciding a new, similar case.
Schools of Jurisprudence Various theories concerning how societies develop, maintain, and change laws governing individual behavior.
Consensus Theory A theory developed by Emile Durkheim that postulates that laws develop out of a society's consensus of what is right and wrong.
Referendum The enactment of a law through a popular vote rather than legislative action.
Burgeoisie In Marxist theory, the class in society that controls the means of production.
Proletariat In Marxist theory, the working class who must sell their labor in order to survive.
Elite or Ruling Class Theory Also known as the "ruling class" theory, it is the theory put forth by Karl Marx that postulates laws exist only as a means of class oppression.
Command School The school of jurisprudential thought that posits that laws are dictated to the society by the ruling class of that society.
mala in se A category of crimes that are bad in and of themselves.
mala prohibita A category of crimes that are crimes because society has decided they are crimes.
Natural Law School The school of jurisprudential thought that teaches that laws are based on morality and ethics, and that people have natural rights.
Moral Theory of Law A theory subscribed by Natural Law adherents stating that laws are based on the moral code of the society.
Historical School The school of jurisprudential thought that believes that law is an accumulation of societal traditions.
Analytical School The school of jurisprudential thought that believes laws are based on logic.
Sociological School Adherents of the Sociological School of jurisprudence believe that the purpose of law is to shape societal behavior. Believers are called realists.
Realists Belonging to the Sociological School of jurisprudence. Realists believe that the purpose of law is to shape societal behavior.
Crits The school of jurisprudences that believes the legal system is arbitrary and artificial, that legal neutrality and objectivity are myths to maintain the current status quo, and that the legal system perpetuates social inequality and oppression of those not in power.
Fem-Crits A school of jurisprudence that holds the legal system perpetuates the oppression of women in society.
Crime A wrong against society.
Tort A private or civil wrong or injury independent of contract, resulting from a breach of a legal duty.
Tortfeasor A person who commits a tort.
Defendant In a civil case the person against whom a suit is filed. In a criminal trial, the person accused of a crime.
Deterrent An action that discourages an individual from committing a crime. Fines, imprisonment, and death are considered deterrents of crime.
Burden of Proof The duty to go forward to prove an allegation with facts.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt The burden of proof the prosecution must meet in a criminal case in order to convict the accused.
Plaintiff The party who files a lawsuit.
Preponderance of the Evidence Evidence that is more convincing than the opposing evidence ; enough evidence to ti the scales of justice.
Summary Offenses Minor offenses such as parking tickets, or minor traffic violations.
Misdemeanors Crimes punishable by relatively short prison sentences, or fines. Misdemeanors are less serious than felonies.
Felonies The most serious classification of crimes punishable by long prison sentences or death.
Federal System A system of governing where government is divided into different levels.
Legislative Branch of government charged with making the law.
Executive Branch of government charged with enforcing the law.
Judicial Branch of government charged with interpreting the law.
U.S. Supreme Court The highest court in the United States.
Petition for Certiorari Request by a litigant that the U.S. Supreme Court hear his or her appeal.
Writ of Certiorari Notice from the Supreme Court that it will hear a case.
Checks and Balances The system of restraints built into the U.S. Constitution that prevents one branch of government from dominating the others.
Confirmation The process of approval of presidential nominees by the senate.
Impeachment The process by which Congress may charge a sitting judge, president, or vice president with "high crimes and misdemeanors" and convict that person in a trial before the Senate. A conviction results in removal from office.
Jurisdiction The power to hear and decide a case. Jurisdiction can be divided as to subject matter, parties, or territory.
Exclusive Jurisdiction A court with exclusive jurisdiction is the only court that can hear the case.
Concurrent Jurisdiction Jurisdiction shared by two or more courts.
Federal Circuit One of thirteen federal judicial districts, each with a U.S. District Court and a U.S. Court of Appeals.
U.S. Courts of Appeal The federal court system's intermediate appellate courts.
U.S. District Courts The federal court system's trial courts.
War on Terror The term commonly used to refer to the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks and efforts to bring the masterminds of the attacks to justice.
Enumerated Powers The powers explicitly given to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution.
Supremacy Clause The clause in the U.S. Constitution that states that the Constitution, federal law, and treaties are the supreme law of the land. Article VI, Section 2.
Preemption Doctrine This concept that federal law must take precedence over state and local law.
Interstate Commerce Commerce that occurs between states as opposed to strictly within a state's borders.
Commerce Clause The clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives the federal government the right to regulate interstate commerce. Article I, Section 8, Clause 3.
Police Power The power of a government to enforce laws and regulate the health, safety, morals, and welfare of the population.
Interstate Occurring within a state's border.
Arrest Warrant Document approved by a magistrate or judge attesting that there is probable cause to believe that someone has committed a specific crime and authorizing that person's arrest.
Miranda Warning The warning given to suspects that they have the right to remain silent and the right to counsel named for the Supreme Court case that requires police officers to read the right to suspects. (Miranda vs. Arizona)
Preliminary Arraignment An accused's first official notification of the charges against him or her. The preliminary arraignment generally occurs shortly after arrest.
Bail Money or other guarantee posted to assure a defendant who is released from custody pending trial or appeal will appear when called or forfeit the security posted.
Released on One's Own Recognizance The situation that occurs when the court does not require the defendant to post bail at the preliminary hearing. Despite the lack of bail, the defendant is obligated to return for further proceedings.
Preliminary Hearing A normal hearing that is the first occasion at which the government must produce evidence against the defendant. The prosecutor must convince the judge or magistrate hearing the case that it is more likely than not that the defendant committed the crime he or she is charged with.
Probable Cause A low standard of proof in a criminal case used to justify an arrest or hold a defendant over for trial after a preliminary hearing. The standard requires that there be sufficient proof to convince a reasonable person that it is more likely than not that he or she committed the crime charged.
Grand Jury A body of citizens whose job it is to determine if a crime has been committed and if a person should be charged with that crime based on probable cause.
Information A formal document signed and filed by a district attorney or prosecutor that charges an individual with a specific crime.
Plea Bargaining The practice of negotiating with a defendant and his attorney about the terms of a guilty plea.
Indictment A formal charge by which the defendant has been charged with a crime, usually as a result of a grand jury inquiry.
Nol Pros Motion An abbreviated form of the latin "Nolle Prosequi", which roughly translates as "no prosecution"; It is a motion filed by a prosecutor indicating that justice is better served by not prosecuting the defendant.
Arraignment The stage of a criminal case at which the defendant is first formally charged with a specific crime.
Plea A formal response to criminal charges. A plea may be not guilty, guilty, cool contendere, or not guilty by reason of insanity.
Nolo Contendere Latin for "I will not contest this," also called "no contest"; a plea entered that admits no wrongdoing but allows the court to sentence the defendant as guilty.
Trial The examination of facts and law presided over by a judge, magistrate, or other person with authority to hear the matter.
Trial by Judge A trial where the presiding magistrate renders the verdict.
Trial by Jury A trial where the verdict is determined by a jury.
Jury A group of men and women from the community selected to determine the truth; while the judge is responsible for interpreting the law, the jury is charged with finding the facts of the case . The right to trial by jury is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution in all serious criminal cases. A jury decides what the facts of the case are and applies those facts to the law. Juries must be convinced by a reasonable doubt that the defendant broke the law.
Voir Dire French for "to speak the truth," it refers to the examination of citizens to ascertain their fitness for serving on a jury; during the void dire phase of a criminal trial, the attorneys ask questions the jury pool. These are designed to ferret out jurors who cannot be impartial or who can't serve on the jury because of illness or other obligations and to help the attorneys in the case decide where and when to use available peremptory challenges.
Created by: JacquelineS89