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Govt - Topic 13

Govt - Topic 13 Vocabulary

TermDefinition
popular sovereignty a government that exists only with the consent of the governed
limited government basic principle of American government, which states that government is restricted in what it may do, and each individual has rights that government cannot take away; see constitutionalism, popular sovereignty
initiative a process in which a certain number of qualified voters sign petitions in favor of a proposed statute or constitutional amendment, which then goes directly to the ballot
fundamental law laws of basic and lasting importance which may not easily be changed
statutory law a law passed by the legislature
police power authority of each State to act to protect and promote the public health, safety, morals, and general welfare of its people
referendum a process by which a legislative measure is referred to the State's voters for final approval or rejection
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
Created by: brittlloyd