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Probable cause is the standard of evidence that is used in a criminal case to determine if a case has been established. The proof is tendered to a judge or a jury.

Helpful Legal Terms

Mitigating circumstances - Those which do not constitute a justification or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reasons for reducing the degree of blame deliberate intent to kill: Murder in the first degree is characterized by premeditation; murder in the second degree is characterized by a sudden and instantaneous intent to kill or to cause injury without caring whether the injury kills or not hich do not constitute a justification or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reasons for reducing the degree of blame Motion in Limine - A motion made by counsel requesting that information which might be prejudicial not be allowed to be heard in a case

Joint petition One bankruptcy petition filed by a husband and wife together.

Judge An official of the Judicial branch with authority to decide lawsuits brought before courts. Used generically, the term judge may also refer to all judicial officers, including Supreme Court justices.

Judgeship The position of judge. By statute, Congress authorizes the number of judgeships for each district and appellate court.

Judgment The official decision of a court finally resolving the dispute between the parties to the lawsuit, jack hyatt.

Chapter 7 trustee Official appointed in a Chapter 7 case to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the creditors. The trustee's responsibilities include reviewing the debtor's petition and schedules, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.

Chapter 9 The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing for reorganization.

Chapter 13 trustee Official appointed to administer a Chapter 13 case. A Chapter thirteen trustee's responsibilities are similar to those of a Chapter 7 trustee; however, a Chapter 13 trustee has the additional responsibilities of overseeing the debtor's plan, receiving payments from debtors, and disbursing plan payments to creditors.

Chapter 15 The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code dealing with cases of cross-border insolvency.

Chief judge The judge who has primary responsibility for a court; chief judges are determined by seniority.

Claim assertion of a right to payment a debtor's property or from a debtor.

Opinion - A judge's written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because of the reasoning and/or the principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission - The agency established by OSHA to adjudicate enforcement actions under the Act

Judicial Conference of the United States The policy-making entity for the federal court system. A 27-judge body whose presiding officer is the Chief Justice of the United States.

Issue - . The disputed point in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit. . To send out officially, as in to issue an order.

Joinder – Combining charges or defendants on the same complaint. Where a crime is committed by two people, both may be charged on one complaint. Joinder also applies in civil cases, where parties and claims may be joined in one complaint.

Joint and Several Liability - A legal doctrine that makes each of the parties who are responsible for an injury liable for all the damages awarded in a lawsuit if the other responsible parties cannot pay.

Joint Tenancy - A form of legal co-ownership of property also known as survivorship . At the death of one co-owner, the surviving co-owner becomes sole owner of the property. Tenancy by the entirety is a special form of joint tenancy between a husband and wife.

Offense - A violation of a municipal ordinance or state statute.

Offer – An expression of willingness to enter into a bargain that is definite and certain in its terms and that is communicated to the offeree. Once accepted, the offer is transformed into a contractual obligation.

Offeree – The person to whom an offer is made.

Offeror – The person making an offer.

Opening Statement - The first statement made by lawyers for each side, outlining the facts each intends to establish during the trial.

Opinion - A judge’s written explanation of the decision of the court or of the majority of judges. A dissenting opinion opposes the majority opinion because of the reasoning and or the principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers different reasoning. A per curiam opinion is an unsigned opinion of the court.

Judgment and Sentence - The official document of a judge’s disposition of a case committing a defendant to prison.

Judicial Review - The authority of a court to correct the official actions of other branches of government.

Jurat - Certificate of officer or person who administered an oath.

Jurisdiction - The court’s legal power to hear and resolve specific disputes. Jurisdiction is usually composed of personal jurisdiction over persons and subject matter jurisdiction over types of cases.

Jurisprudence - The study of the structure of the legal system. And the law.

Juror Disqualified - Juror who is excused from a trial.

Jury - Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into and declare a verdict on matters of fact.

Jury Array - The whole body of potential jurors summoned to court from which the jury will be selected. Also called Jury Panel.

Non-jury trial - A case tried by a judge.

No Probable Cause – A finding that Insufficient grounds exist to hold the person who was arrested.

Notice - Formal notification to a party that has been sued that a civil lawsuit has been filed.

Juvenile - Person under eighteen years of age.

Kangaroo Court - Trial in which a person’s rights are totally disregarded and in which the result is a foregone conclusion.

Knowingly and Willfully – Voluntarily.

Negligence - Failure to exercise the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise under the same set of circumstances.

Next Friend –Person acting without formal appointment as guardian for the benefit of a person of unsound mind not judicially declared incompetent, an infant, or other person under some disability.

No-Contest Clause – Provision in a will that a person who makes a legal challenge to the will’s validity will be disinherited.

No-Fault Proceedings - Civil cases in which parties may resolve their dispute without a formal finding of fault.

Nolle Prosequi –Decision by a prosecutor to not to prosecute.

Nolo Contendere - Plea in which the defendant does not admit guilt, but which has the same legal effect as a plea of guilty in a criminal case.

Lapsed Gift - A gift made in a will to a person who has died prior to the testator’s death.

Notice of Lis Pendens - Notice to warn all persons that the title to certain property is in litigation, and that if they purchase or lease that property they are in danger of being bound by an adverse judgment.

Nuisance –Unwarranted, unreasonable, or unlawful use of one’s property that annoys, disturbs, or inconveniences another in the use of his or her property.

Nunc Pro Tunc – A retroactive order.

Nuncupative Will - An unwritten oral will.

Oaths - Sworn promises required in court, usually administered by the in-court clerk.

Jury List - List of jurors empanelled to try a cause or containing the names of all the jurors summoned to attend court.

Jury Polling - The procedure by which each individual juror is asked to affirm his or her verdict in open court at the conclusion of a trial.

Jury Trial - A trial in which the jury judges the facts and the judge rules on the law.

Justiciable - Issues and claims that can be properly examined in court.

Larceny –Theft.

Jury The group of persons selected to hear the evidence in a trial and render a verdict on matters of fact. See also grand jury.

Jury instructions A judge's directions to the jury before it begins deliberations regarding the factual questions it must answer and the legal rules that it must apply.

Judge - elected or appointed public official with authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law. A judge Pro Tem is a temporary judge.

Judgment - first disposition of a lawsuit.

Consent Judgment - Occurs when the provisions and terms of the judgment are agreed on by the parties and submitted to the court for its sanction and approval.

Default Judgment - judgment rendered because of the defendant’s failure to answer or appear.

Judgment Notwithstanding the Verdict – Judgment entered by order of the court for one individual notwithstanding the jury’s verdict in favor of the other individual. A judgment notwithstanding the verdict may only arise after a motion for a directed verdict.

Judgment on the Pleadings – Judgment based on the pleadings alone. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case and one individual is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Summary Judgment - Judgment given on the basis of pleadings, affidavits, and exhibits presented for the record without any need for a trial. As with Judgment on the Pleadings, it is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case and one individual is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law.

Objection - The process by which one individual tries to prevent the introduction of evidence or the use of a procedure at a hearing. An objection is either sustained allowed or overruled by the judge.

Lawsuit A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty which resulted in harm to the plaintiff.

Lien A charge on specific property that is designed to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation. A debtor may still be responsible for a lien after a discharge.

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

Liquidation The sale of a debtor's property with the proceeds to be used for the benefit of creditors.

Liquidated claim A creditor's claim for a fixed amount of money.

Jurisdiction The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type of case. It also is used as a synonym for venue, meaning the geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction to decide cases.

Jurisprudence The study of law and the structure of the legal system.

Intestate Succession - The process by which the property of a person who has died without a will passes on to others according to the state’s descent and distribution statutes. If someone dies without a will and the court uses the state’s intestate succession laws, an heir who receives some of the deceased’s property is an intestate heir.

Invoke the Rule - Separation and exclusion of witnesses other than parties from the courtroom.

Irrevocable Trust - A trust that, once it is set up A grantor CAN not revoke. To view in Spanish click on link: Spanish

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