Glossary


ACTION
– Case, cause, suit, or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice

ADJUDICATE –To determine finally

ADJUDICATION – Giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree, Also the judgment given.

ADMISSION – Voluntary acknowledgment of the existence of certain facts relevant to the adversary’scase.

AFFIDAVIT – A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having the authority to administer oaths. For example, in criminal cases, affidavits are often used by police officers seeking to convince courts to grant a warrant to make an arrest or a search. In civil cases, affidavits of witnesses are often used to supportmotions for summary judgment.

ALFORD PLEA – A special type of guilty plea by which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes that the State has sufficient evidence to convict; normally made to avoid the threat of greater punishment.

ANSWER – Defendant’s answers the plaintiff’s complaint (response to a pleading)

APPEAL – An application or complaint to the higher court to correct or modify the judgment of a lower court.

APPEARANCE – An attorney’s filing that states that he/she is the counsel of record for the defendant on the case.

APPOINTMENT – An attorney that is assigned to a defendant by the court. This may be either a public defender or a private attorney who appears on the court appointed attorney list.

ASSAULT – An attempt by the defendant to inflict physical injury on the plaintiff.

BAILIFF – A court officer whose duties are to keep order in the court and security amongst the litigants.

BENCH WARRANT – This is an arrest warrant issued by the Judge or Magistrate usually due to an accused person who fails to appear for a trial.

BIND-OVER – To hold a person for trial on bond (bail) or in jail. If the judicial official conducting a hearing finds probable cause to believe the accused committed a crime, the official will bind over the accused, normally by setting bail for the accuser’s appearance at trial.

BLENDED SENTENCING – A disposition for juveniles that have been found to be serious youthful offenders (SYO) with both a juvenile and an adult sentence imposed.

BONDS – A bond is the contract or security to the court that you will appear for the next hearing. Types of Bonds: Cash, Surety, Recognizance, Appearance, Property

CAPIAS – A capias is issued to arrest an adult and bring before the court who has failed to appear for a hearing or who failed to comply with a prior order of the court. (These are served by the Sheriff Dept)

CERTIFICATION – Generally used to refer to the process of transferring a minor’s case from one court or county to another.

CHANGE OF VENUE – The transfer of a legal action from one county to another. (Ex:1 or both parties have permanently moved away from the originating county)

CHARGE – The actual Ohio Revised Code Statute that describes the offense

CITATION – A direction to appear in court, as when a defendant is cited into court, rather than arrested.

CODEFENDANT – A person named in an indictment with another defendant, for a charge arising out of the same criminal incident.

COMMIT – To execute, perpetrate, or carry out an act. To commit a crime, to send a person to prison, asylum, or reformatory by a court order.

COMPLAINT – A legal document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take. A formal written charge that a person has committed a criminal offence.

CONSANGUINITY – Related by blood or ancestry.

CONTEMNOR – A person whose behavior in or out of court violates a court order, or otherwise disrupts or shows disregard for the court and has been found in contempt of court. Refusing to answer a proper question, to file court papers on time, or to follow local court rules can expose witnesses, lawyers, and litigants to contempt findings. Contempt of court is punishable by fine or imprisonment.

CONTEMPT – A willful disregard or disobedience of a public authority

CONTEMPT OF COURT – An act which embarrasses, hinders, or obstructs a court in the administration of justice, or lessens its authority or dignity. Contempt’s are of two kinds: direct contempt’s are committed in the viewand presence of the court; indirect contempt’s are committed outside the presence of the court (usually a failure or refusal to obey a court order)

CONTINUANCE – Postponement of an action pending in court.

CONVEY –To transport, carry; communicate

COURT REPORTER – A person whomakes a word-for-word record of what is said in court and produces a transcript of the proceedings upon request. Voice recording and video tape are also being used for this purpose.

COURT OF APPEALS – An intermediate appellate court having jurisdiction to hear appeals from judgments and final orders of common pleas courts, municipal courts, and county courts, and to reverse or modify such judgments of final orders, or remand cases back to the lower courts for further proceedings.

DECREE – A court decision or order. A final decree is one fully and finally disposing of a case;

DEFENDANT – The person against whom a lawsuit is started or a crime charged. The defendant is sometimes called “respondent.”

DEFAULT JUDGMENT – Action taken by the court when a person fails to appear in court in answer to a summons in a civil case.

DISMISS – To terminate legal action involving outstanding charges against a defendant in a criminal case.

DISPOSITION – Determination of a case, whether by dismissal, plea, settlement, verdict, or finding.

DIVERSION – The process of removing someminor criminal traffic, or juvenile cases from the full judicial process, on the condition that the accused undergo some sort of rehabilitation ormake restitution for damages.

DOCKET – A list of cases to be heard by a court, or a log containing brief entries of court proceedings.

DOMESTIC RELATIONS – A division of the Common Pleas Court which deals with divorce, dissolution of marriage, annulment, suits for alimony, and related questions of property division, alimony, child custody, and child support

DUCES TECUM – Latin. It means “bring with you.” On a subpoena it means that you must bring your records or other specified material into court with you.

ENTRY – An entry is a written notation on the case docket that journalizes any orders, decisions, or judgment made in the case.

EX PARTE – Latin for “one party only.” Ex parte refers to those proceedings where one of the parties has not received notice and therefore, is neither present nor represented.

EXPUNGMENT – An expungement is an order that removes the record of the proceedings of a case, as if the case never happened.

FELONY – A serious crime carrying a potential penalty of imprisonment for more than one year, or death. Unless the sentence is modified by the judge, a sentence of imprisonment for a felony must be served in a state penitentiary or reformatory.

FINDINGS – The finding is the determination by a court or jury of the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

FIDUCIARY – Normally, the term indicates a trustee, which is the classic form of a fiduciary relationship. A fiduciary has rights and powers which would normally belong to another person. The fiduciary holds those rights which he or she must exercise to the benefit of the beneficiary. A fiduciary must not allow any conflict of interest to infect his/her duties toward the beneficiary and must exercise a high standard of care in protecting or promoting the interests of the beneficiary. Fiduciary responsibilities exist for persons other than trustees such as between attorney and client and principal and agent.

FORFEITURES – The loss of property or a privilege due to breaking a law. For example, a landlord may forfeit his or her property to the federal or state government it the landlord knows it is a drug-dealing site but fails to stop the illegal activity. Of, you may have to forfeit your driver’s license if you commit too manymoving violations or are convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Also applies to the loss of a bond due to the failure of the defendant to appear in court.

GARNISHMENT – A type of legal proceeding taken to enforce payment of amoney judgment, in which property of the judgment debtor held by a third person is paid into court to satisfy the debt. The usual types of garnishment are garnishment of unpaid wages and garnishment of a bank account.

GUARDIAN – A person who has the legal duty and power to take care of the person and property of another whom because of some disability, usually age or incompetence, is considered incapable of administering his or her own affairs.

GUARDIAN AD LITEM – A person appointed by the court during the course of a litigation, in which an infant, minor or legally incompetent person is a party, to represent and protect their interests in a law suit.

HABEAS CORPUS - “You have the body”; the name of a writ used to bring a person before a court or judge. Generally, the writ is addressed to an official or person who holds another. It commands him or her to produce the detained person in court so that the court may determine whether that person is being denied his or her freedom lawfully.

HEARING - A flexible term for a court proceeding or the trial of a suit.

INACTIVE CASE – A pending case over which the court has no effective control; a case which is filed in the court but for some reason cannot be processed by the court;

INDIGENT - Impoverished; needy; poor; without funds.

INTERIM ORDER – A temporary court order; intended to be of limited duration, usually just until the court has had an opportunity to hear the full case and make a final order.

INTERROGATORIES –Written questions posed by one party and served on another who must answer them in writing under oath – a form of discovery to enable the party posing the questions to prepare for trial

JUDGMENT – A final order of a trial court, which gives effect to the factual decision in the case.

JUDGE ASSIGNMENT – A random draw pools for the selection of a judge to a case.

JURISDICTION – The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.

JURY – A group of people called by law and sworn to hear evidence in a case and give a verdict.

JUVENILE – A minor, a person under the age of 18.

LESSER INCLUDED OFFENSE (LIO) – Is a charge, which the defendant either pleads guilty to or is found guilty of – different than the charge listed on the complaint. This is used most often in a plea bargain.

LITIGANT – A party to a legal action

LITIGATION – The process of resolving a dispute over legal rights in court.

MAGISTRATE – A civil officer with the power to administer and enforce the law. They have limited jurisdiction and authority, especially in criminal cases.

MANDAMUS – Latin; “We command.” AWrit ofMandamus is a written order requiring the person to whom it is addressed to do some specified act, generally connected with his or her duty as a public official.

MISDEMEANOR – A lesser offense than a felony and generally punishable by fine or limited jail time, but not in a penitentiary.

MOTION – A request or suggestion. An application to the court for the handing down of a certain order or decision.

NOLLE PROSEQUI – Unwilling to prosecute; a formal entrymade on the court record by which the prosecutor declares he or she will not further prosecute the case.

NUNC PRO TUNC – Latin, meaning “Now for then.” A phrase applied to acts allowed to be done after the time when they should be done, with a retroactive effect, i.e., with the same effect as if regularly done.

OFFENSE – A crime, such as a felony, misdemeanor, or other punishable unlawful act.

ORDER – A written or verbal command from a court directing or forbidding an action.

PATERNITY – Fatherhood

PATERNITY SUIT – A type of court suit in which a mother tries to prove that a certain man is the father of her child out of wedlock.

PERMANENT WARD – The permanent ward termination of parental rights from a child under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court; thus making the child a permanent ward of the court or other guardian.

PLEA – The defendant’s response to a criminal charge (guilty, not guilty)

POWER OF ATTORNEY – A formal authorization of a person to act in the interest of another person.

PRELIMINARY HEARING – The purpose of the hearing is to determine whether there is a probable cause to believe, first, that a crime has been committed and, second, that the accused committed the crime.

PRE-TRIAL – This is a type of hearing. It is a meeting between the assigned judge or magistrate and the opposing counsel. It is held to discuss the facts of the case, rule on any outstanding motions, and consider any matters that may aid in the disposition of the case.

PROBATION – This is a type of sentence. It is a full or partial suspension of the suspension of the sentence of a convicted offender, on conditions designed to insure his future good behavior.

PRO-SE – A person who is representing themselves in court or on a legal matter.

PROSECUTOR – A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interest of the state in civil matters. In Criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute.

QUASH – To annul, discharge; i.e., an indictment, a conviction or order. A motion to quash is initiated for the purpose of disqualifying certain evidence.

Q.U.D.R.O. – Qualified Domestic Relations Order

RECOGNIZANCE – A term used interchangeably with “bail bond” in many statutes and court opinions. An obligation entered into before a court of record or duly authorized magistrate, containing a condition to do some particular act, usually to appear and answer a criminal accusation

RELATIONAL DATABASE – A database system in which any file can be a component of more than one of the database’s tables.

RESTITUTION – An act of giving the equivalent for any loss, damage or injury.

REVOCATION – To nullify by canceling or reversing; annul.

SENTENCE – The judgment formally pronounced by the court or judge upon the defendant after his or her conviction by imposing a punishment to be inflicted either in the form of a fine, incarceration or probation.

SET ASIDE – A set aside is an order. It cancels the effect of a previous order, entry, judgment, or action.

STAY – To delay or stop the effect of an order or decision by legal action or mandate.

STENOGRAPHER – A person employed chiefly to take and transcribe dictation.

SUBPOENA – An order of the court which requires a person to be present at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter. Failure to appear may be punishable as a contempt of court.

SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM – “Bring with you”; a subpoena served upon the person who has custody of records, commanding that such custodian bring the specified records to court on the stated day and time.

SUMMONS – A notice to a defendant that he or she has been sued or charged with a crime and is required to appear in court. A jury summons requires the person receiving it to report for the possible jury duty.

TRANSCRIPT – A written, word-for-word record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.

TRUANCY – Failure to attend school as required by law.

UIFSA –The uniformchild and spousal support legislation, the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act already adopted and implemented by most states and expected to be law throughout the United States soon. It is the successor of URESA and is a “long-arm statute,” as it gives the state the issues the first support order jurisdiction over the support payer anywhere in the U.S. for the purposes of varying that order.

URESA – Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act of the United States, as created in 1950 by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform Stats Laws. This was the first uniform family support legislation in the U.S. and it was ultimately adopted, in some form or another, by all states. It was updated in 1968 and the revised version became known as “RURESA,” THE INITIAL “R” standing for “Revised.” It has been replaced by UIFSA.

VENUE – The proper geographical area (county, city, or district) in which a court with jurisdiction over the subject matter may hear a case.

VERDICT – The opinion of a jury, or a judge where there is no jury, on the factual issues of a case.

VOIR DIRE – French for “to see telling.” A mini-hearing held as a jury is being impaneled, in which the prosecution and defense are allowed to question potential jurors in an effort to preclude any potentially biased jurors fromserving on the panel.

WARRANT – Most commonly, a court order authorizing lawenforcement officers tomake an arrest or conduct a search. An affidavit seeking a warrant must establish probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.

WITNESS – One, who testifies to what they have seen, heard or otherwise observed.

WRIT – An order issued by a court commanding that a certain act or acts been done or not done. There is a wide variety of special writs, andmuch state-to-state variation in testimony, lawand practice.

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS – Latin for “you have the body,” a court petition which orders that a person being detained be produced before a judge for a hearing to decide whether the detention is lawful. A prisoner files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in order to challenge the authority of the prison or jail warden to continue to hold him/her. If the judge orders a hearing after reading the writ, the prisoner gets to argue that his/her confinement is illegal. These writs are frequently filed by convicted prisoners who challenge their conviction on the grounds that the trial attorney failed to prepare the defense and was incompetent. Prisoners sentenced to death also file habeas petitions challenging the constitutionality of the state death penalty law. Habeas writs are different from and do not replace appeals, which are arguments for reversal of a conviction based on claims that the judge conducted the trial improperly. Often, convicted prisoners file both. Habeas Corpus was one of the concessions the English king made in theMagna Carta and has stood as a basic individual right against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.