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Acquittal - a jury verdict that a criminal defendant is not guilty, or the finding of a judge that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction.

 

Adjournment - is a temporary postponement to a case.

 

Admissible - a term used to describe evidence that may be considered by a jury or judge in civil and criminal cases.

 

Affidavit - a written or printed statement made under oath.

 

Appeal - a procedure wherein one of the parties seeks the reversal of a law or judgment of a lower court. A higher court will issue a ruling on the appeal. Judge’s orders and judgments made during the proceeding of the case may be appealed.

 

Arbitration - a method of amicable dispute resolution.

 

Arraignment - the initial appearance of a person charged with a felony in Common Pleas Court occurs after an indictment, and its purpose is to inform the defendant of the charge against them and to take their pleas to the charge. Arraignments are heard before the judge.

 

Attorney or Lawyer - a person who has been trained in law and has been certified to give legal advice or to represent others in legal matters.

 

Automatic Stay - an injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and most collection activities against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.

 

Breach of Contract - the failure to do what is promised under a contract.

 

Brief - a legal document that sets out the legal arguments in a lawsuit.

 

Burden of Proof - the duty to prove disputed facts. In civil cases, a plaintiff generally has the burden of proving his or her case. In criminal cases, the government has the burden of proving the defendant’s guilt.

 

Capital Offense - a crime punishable by death.

 

Certify - is to testify in writing.

 

Citation - an order by a court, usually foe lesser offenses such as a traffic violation, for a person to appear before the court to answer charges.  Typically used for lesser offenses because it relies on the good faith of the defendant to appear as requested, as opposed to an arrest or bail.  Failure to obey a citation often results in a warrant for the arrest of the person.

 

Codicil - an amendment to an existing will.  Does not have to be written by an attorney (the will maker may write it), but it must be witnessed and dated.

 

Complaint - is a civil law action that initiates a lawsuit.

 

Contract - an agreement between two or more people that creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.

 

Conviction - a judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.

 

Damages - money paid to someone who has suffered injury or loss as a result of an action by a third party.

 

Defendant - in a civil case, the person or organization against whom the plaintiff brings suit; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.

 

Deposition - the sworn testimony of a party or witness in a case. Depositions are conducted in the court setting, but pursuant to court authority.

 

Discovery - the process, pre-trial, where each party to a case will ask for documentation and information relevant to their case.

 

Dismissal - the termination of a case.

 

Double Jeopardy - is the process of being tried twice for the same crime/offence.