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.

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

Appeal: A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine if it was correct. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the "appellant;" the other party is the "appellee."

Brief: A written statement submitted in a trial or appellate proceeding that explains one side's legal and factual arguments.

Case file: A complete collection of every document filed in court in a case.

Caseload: The number of cases handled by a judge or a court.

Complaint: A written statement that begins a civil lawsuit, in which the plaintiff details the claims against the defendant.

Constitutionality: The condition of acting in accordance with an applicable constitution; the status of a law, a procedure, or an act's accordance with the laws or guidelines set forth in the applicable constitution.

Counsel: Legal advice; a term also used to refer to the lawyers in a case.

Injunction: A court order preventing one or more named parties from taking some action. A preliminary injunction often is issued to allow fact-finding, so a judge can determine whether a permanent injunction is justified.

Grand jury: a jury, normally of twenty-three jurors, selected to examine the validity of an accusation before trial.

Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.

Memorandum: A "memorandum of decision," or "memorandum opinion," is a brief statement by a judge announcing his/her ruling without detail or giving extensive reasons, which may or may not be followed by a more comprehensive written decision. Such memoranda (plural) are issued by appeals courts

Motion: A request by a litigant to a judge for a decision on an issue relating to the case.

Reversal: The act of a court setting aside the decision of a lower court

Sanction: A penalty or other type of enforcement used to bring about compliance with the law or with rules and regulations.

Sentence: The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.

Subpoena: A command, issued under a court's authority, to a witness to appear and give testimony

Sunshine Law: a law requiring certain proceedings of government agencies to be open or available to the public.

Transcript: A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial, or during some other formal conversation, such as a hearing or oral deposition

Writ: A written court order directing a person to take, or refrain from taking, a certain act.


Date filed

May 1, 2003