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Govt - Topic 13

Government - Topic 13 Vocabulary (lessons 3, 4 & 5)

TermDefinition
item veto a governor may veto one or more items in a bill without rejecting the entire measure
clemency mercy or leniency granted to an offender by a chief executive
pardon release from the punishment or legal consequences of a crime, by the President (in a federal case) or a governor (in a State case)
commutation the power to reduce (commute) the length of a sentence or fine for a crime
reprieve an official postponement of the execution of a sentence
parole the release of a prisoner short of the complete term of the original sentence
common law an unwritten law made by a judge that has developed over centuries from those generally accepted ideas of right and wrong that have gained judicial recognition
precedent court decision that stands as an example to be followed in future, similar cases
criminal law the portion of the law that defines public wrongs and provides for their punishment
felony a serious crime which may be punished by a heavy fine and/or imprisonment or even death
misdemeanor a lesser offense, punishable by a small fine and/or a short jail term
civil law the portion of the law relating to human conduct, to disputes between private parties, and to disputes between private parties and the government
jury a body of persons selected according to law who hear evidence and decide questions of fact in a court case
information formal charge filed by a prosecutor without the action of a grand jury
justice of the peace a judge who stands on the lowest level of the State judicial system and presides over justice courts
warrant a court order authorizing, or making legal, some official action such as a search or an arrest
preliminary hearing the first step in a major criminal prosecution where the judge decides if the evidence is enough to hold the person for action by the grand jury or the prosecutor
appellate jurisdiction the authority of a court to review decisions of inferior (lower) courts
county a major unit of local government in most States
township a subdivision of a county
special district an independent unit created to perform one or more related governmental functions at the local level
charter a city's basic law, its constitution; a written grant of authority from the king
mayor-council government the oldest and most widely used type of city government, which includes an elected mayor as the chief executive and an elected council as its legislative body
strong-mayor government a type of government in which the mayor heads the city's administration
weak-mayor government a type of government in which the mayor shares his or her executive duties with other elected officials
commission government a government formed by commissioners, heads of different departments of city government, who are popularly elected to form the city council, thus incorporating both legislative and executive powers in one body
council-manager government a modification of the mayor-council government, it consists of a strong council of members elected on a non-partisan ballot, a weak mayor who is elected by the people, and a manager who is named by the council
zoning the practice of dividing a city into a number of districts and regulating the uses of that property
metropolitan a city and area around it
Created by: brittlloyd