- A person or persons formally charged but not yet tried for committing a crime.
- A legal judgment, based on the decision of either a jury or a judge,
that an accused is not guilty of the crime for which he/she has been charged or tried.
-Evidence that is relevant and proper for consideration in reaching a decision.
- A written,
sworn statement in which the writer swears that the information stated therein is
- A request by either the defense or the
prosecution parties to a case that the results of a
decision on certain motions or of a completed trial be reviewed by a higher
court for error.
- Generally means an accused person’s appearance in a court at which
the court may inform him/her of the charges against him/her, advise him/her
of his/hers rights, appoint a
lawyer for him/her, and/or hear his/her plea.
- Money or property promised or given to the court as security when an
accused person is released before and during his/her trial with the agreement
that the defendant will return to court when ordered to do so. Bail is
forfeited if the defendant fails to return to the court.
- A trial in which the judge hears the case without a jury and decides
whether the accused is guilty.
- A court order which directs that an accused person who has been released
before trial and fails to return when ordered to do so be brought to court.
Beyond a reasonable doubt-The degree of
proof needed for a jury or judge to convict an accused person of a crime.
- The law as formed by past court decisions, opinions, interpretations, or
Change of venue
- Transfer of a pending case in one county or district to another county
or district; often sought because of claimed prejudicial
publicity in the
original county or district.
- A formal accusation filed by the prosecutor’s office that a specific
person has committed a specific crime, also referred to as pressing charges.
- A formal written statement filed in court by any person, often a prosecutor
or a victim, which accuses a specific person of committing a specific crime.
Concurrent or consecutive sentences
- Concurrent sentences are sentences for different offenses running together
or served at the same time; consecutive sentences are successive sentences
served one after another.
- Requirement that certain facts about a proceeding or nature of a proceeding
be withheld from public discussion or scrutiny ostensibly to serve the
interests of justice.
- A delay or postponement of a court hearing; the case is said to be “continued”
when it has been delayed or postponed.
- A judgment of the court, based either on the decision of a jury or a
judge or on the guilty plea of the accused, that the defendant is guilty
of the crime for which he/she has been tried.
- A person who is able to give information that supports the statements
made by either the victim or the accused.
- Each separate offense listed in a complaint, information or indictment
accusing a person of committing a crime.
- A person who has been convicted by a court of committing a crime.
Criminal justice system
- The entire network of government agencies charged with law enforcement,
prosecution, trial, and the punishment and supervision of those arrested and/or convicted
of having violated the criminal law.
- The law whose violation is considered an offense against the state that
is punishable upon
conviction by imprisonment, fine, or other penalties.
- The questioning of a witness by an opposing party.
- A person who has been formally charged with committing a crime.
- The lawyer who represents the defendant in a legal proceeding.
- The act of holding a person in custody.
- A decision by a judicial officer to end a case for legal or other reasons.
- The final judicial decision which ends a criminal proceeding by judgment
of acquittal or dismissal or which sets the sentence if the defendant
- The formal record maintained in brief of the court proceedings; “trial
docket” sometimes refers to the list of cases to be tried on any
given day or in a given period of time.
- All legal statements concerning procedural and substantive due process
standards which must be applied in a disciplinary hearing or trial, including
those raised primarily as defenses.
- Testimony and objects used to prove or corroborate the statements made
by the victim, the accused, or other witnesses.
- A person who sees a crime taking place.
- A serious crime for which the punishment is imprisonment, usually for
one year or more.
- A formal response by a person accused of committing a specific crime
admitting that the charges are true.
- A legal proceeding in which arguments, witnesses, and/or evidence are
heard by a judicial officer or an administrative body.
- A jury whose members cannot agree whether the accused is guilty or innocent.
- A formal written accusation, made by a grand jury and filed in court,
alleging that a specific person has committed a specific crime.
- The gathering of evidence by law enforcement officials and in some cases
prosecutors, for presentation to a grand jury or in court, to prove the
facts of the case.
- A group of citizens selected by law and sworn to determine certain facts
by listening to testimony in order to decide whether the accused is guilty or not.
- A person accused of an offense who is too young at the time of the alleged
offense to be subject to criminal court proceedings and is handled in
the juvenile justice system. The age limit for juveniles in most states
- A crime that is less serious than a felony and for which the punishment
can include imprisonment for up to one year, usually in a jail or other
- A trial which is invalid because of some fundamental error in procedure
or other wrong doing.
- A verbal or written request made by the prosecutor or the defense attorney
before, during, or after a trial that the court issues a rule or an order.
- A defendant’s formal answer in court to the charges in which the
defendant states that he or she does not contest the charges. The nolo
contendre plea is not an admission of guilt but carries the same legal
consequences as a guilty plea.
Not guilty plea
- A formal response by a person accused of committing a specific crime
in which he/she says that the charges are untrue.
- A written order to appear in court at a certain time and place.
- A protest or argument made concerning the activity of the other party in court.
- The conditional release of a convicted offender from a jail or prison
before the end of his sentence based upon requirements for the offender’s
behavior set and supervised by a parole agency.
Parole revocation hearing
- Normally a two-step process. The first step consists of a preliminary hearing.
At the hearing the parolee may present letters, documents and individuals
as evidence of his/her good behavior during the time of his/her release.
If probable cause is not found, the parolee is released. If probable cause
is found, a final revocation hearing is held to evaluate all the facts
and to determine if parole should be revoked. Sometimes called
probation revocation hearing.
- A defendant’s formal answer in court to the charge that he/she
committed a crime.
- An agreement between the prosecutor and the defense attorney that the
defendant will plead guilty to a crime in exchange for some concession
from the state, usually a lesser charge, the dismissal of other pending
charges, or a recommendation by the prosecutor for a reduced sentence.
- A legal proceeding before a judicial officer in which arguments, witnesses,
and/or evidence are presented to determine if there is sufficient cause
to hold the accused for trial. Sometimes called a probable cause hearing
or a pretrial hearing.
- A document which details the past behavior, family circumstances, and
personality of a convicted adult offender and gives information about
the crime he or she committed. It is prepared by a
probation agency or other authority in order to assist the court in determining
the most appropriate sentence.
- A meeting between the judge and all attorneys to establish the issues
and guidelines of a trial, or to attempt to conclude the matter before a trial.
- The degree of
proof needed to arrest and begin
prosecution against a person suspected of committing a crime; the evidence must be
such that a reasonable person would believe that this specific crime was
committed and that it is probable that the person being accused committed it.
- Conditional freedom granted to an offender by the court after
conviction or a guilty plea with requirements for the offender’s behavior set
and supervised by the court.
- Any law passed by a local, state, or federal legislative body.
- An agreement between the parties or their attorneys, generally relating
to evidence at trial.
- A court order requiring a witness to attend and give testimony; it may
also order him or her to bring books or records with them.
- The document by which a defendant is notified to appear in court, and
answer charges or claims against him/her.
- Evidence given by competent witness, under oath; as distinguished from
evidence derived from writings and other sources.
- A proceeding, either civil or criminal, in court, where the law and evidence
are reviewed, and the guilt, liability, or other issues are determined
by jury or judge.