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Courtroom Vocabulary Words

 

Acquittal: A legal determination that a person who has been charged with a crime is innocent.

Adjudicate: To decide judicially in court.

Appeal: A request for a higher court to review a decision made by a lower court.

Arraignment: When the accused is brought before the court to hear the charges against him or her. They plead guilty or not guilty at this time.

Bail: Security (usually money) to insure that the accused person appear at trial.

Conviction: The result of a criminal trial in which a person is found guilty.

Cross-examination: The questioning of a witness by the lawyer for the opposing side.

Direct-examination: The first questioning in a trial of a witness by the lawyer who called that witness.

Docket: A written list of all important acts done in court with regard to an individual case from the beginning to end.

Ex Parte: By, or for, or on the request of one party only, without notice to any other party.

Hearing: A court proceeding before or after the trial of a lawsuit.

Indictment: An accusation of a crime, made against a person by a grand jury upon the request of a prosecutor.

Information: An accusation of a crime, made against a person by the prosecutor.

Judgment: The decision of a court of law.

Mistrial: A trial that becomes invalid, is essentially canceled, because of a mistake in procedure.

Motion: How a lawyer asks the judge to make a decision.

Oath: A declaration of a statement's truth, which renders one willfully asserting an untrue statement punishable for perjury.

Objection: The opposing side finds fault with the question being asked the witness.

Overruled: The judge, following an objection, decides the questions may continue.

Parole: Conditional release from prison before the end of a sentence.

Perjury: A deliberate lie said under oath.

Plaintiff v Defendant: This is the way a case is always set up in writing. The name of the person or organization filing a lawsuit goes first; the name of the person or organization being charged goes last. The “v” is an abbreviation for the word “versus.”

Plead: To answer an allegation.

Proceeding: Any hearing or court appearance related to the adjudication of a case.

Remand: To send a case back to the court from which it came for further proceedings.

Reverse: To set aside a judgment on appeal or proceedings in error.

Sustained: The judge, following an objection, agrees that the line of questioning should not continue.

Verdict: A verdict of guilty or not guilty is handed down by the jury.

Sentence: The punishment given to a person who has been convicted of a crime.

Warrant: A written order from a judge or magistrate that allows the police to arrest a person or to conduct a search.

Your Honor: The way a judge is addressed in a courtroom.