Accessory: Someone who helps another person commit a crime, either before or after the criminal act takes place. Typically, an accessory is not present when the actual crime occurs. For example, an accessory might help plan the crime or hide the criminal after the fact. Act of God: Natural events like a storm or tornado for which parties cannot be held accountable. Admissible Evidence: Evidence that is allowed to be presented to the jury under the laws of evidence and the court’s rules. Affidavit: A notarized statement made under oath. Arbitration: A method of resolving disputes that is an alternative to a trial before a judge and/or jury. In arbitration, an “arbitrator,” who is frequently a retired judge, conducts a hearing during which the two parties present their evidence, including the testimony of witnesses.
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The arbitrator issues a ruling in favor of one of the parties. The parties may agree that the arbitration will be binding, which means that the arbitrator’s ruling is final and not subject to appeal or challenge. Bench Trial: A trial without a jury in which the judge decides which party wins the case. In a criminal case, the judge in a bench trial pronounces the verdict. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt: This is the legal standard that must be met in order for a judge or jury to find a defendant guilty in a criminal case. Breach of Contract: When a party fails to fulfill his/her end of a contract. Brief: A written document, usually prepared by an attorney, that argues one side of a case to the court.
In a criminal case, the District Attorney’s Office files a criminal complaint with the court charging a defendant with a crime or crimes
Case Law: Often referred to as “common law,” the phrase refers to laws that have not been authored by a legislative body but which have come into common acceptance through judges’ decisions and interpretations of law in past cases. A large bulk of U. S. law is actually “case law. Civil Action: A lawsuit, such as personal injury and breach of contract, that involves a dispute between private parties that is not criminal in natureplaint: A complaint is the document that begins the legal process. In civil cases, the complaint is the document filed with the court by the party initiating the lawsuit that spells out the basis of the case.
Contempt of Court: There are many ways that a person can be found to be in “contempt of court. Additionally, someone may be found to be in contempt of court if he or she has said or done something in the courtroom that is disrespectful to the judge or that hinders the judge’s ability to conduct the case. Financial penalties and/or jail time may be assessed against someone who is found to be “in contempt. Contracts may be written, verbal, or understood (implied). Copyright: Copyright law refers to the right of authors to prevent others from copying and profiting from the author’s works without permission. Cross-Examination: The questioning of a witness for one party by counsel for the opposing party. Damages: The award granted to the plaintiff in a civil case by a judge or jury as compensation for being harmed – financially, physically, or otherwise – by the defendant.