Glossary of Legal Terms
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supplement” to “Putative”
A temporary supplement to a book or books to update the
Also, legal assistant. A person with legal skills who works
under the supervision of a lawyer.
An act of grace from governing power which mitigates punishment
and restores rights and privileges forfeited on account
of the offense.
Oral or verbal evidence; evidence given by word of mouth
Supervised release of a prisoner from imprisonment on certain
prescribed conditions which entitle him to termination of
A person, business, or government agency actively involved
in the prosecution of defense of a legal proceeding.
A grant to an inventor of the right to exclude others for
a limited time from make, using, or selling his invention
in the United States.
Patent and Trademark Office
The federal agency which examines and issues patents and
Per se doctrine
Under this doctrine an activity such as price fixing can
be declared as a violation of the antitrust laws without
necessity of a court inquiring into the reasonableness of
Request by a party that a judge not allow a certain prospective
juror as a member of the jury. No reason or cause need be
A publication which appears regularly but less often than
The criminal offense of making a false statement under oath.
A court order requiring that some action be taken, or that
some party refrain from taking action. It differs from forms
of temporary relief, such as a temporary restraining order
or preliminary injunction.
Person in need of supervision
Juvenile found to have committed a "status offense"
rather than a crime that would provide a basis for a finding
Anything a person owns other than real estate.
In criminal proceedings, the pretrial release of a defendant
without bail upon his or her promise to return to court.
The person who administers an estate. If named in a will,
that person's title is an executor. If there is no valid
will, that person's title is an administrator.
The ordinary jury of twelve (or fewer) persons for the trial
of a civil or criminal case. So called to distinguish it
from the grand jury.
The person filing an action in a court of original jurisdiction.
Also, the person who appeals the judgment of a lower court.
A person who brings an action; the party who complains or
sues in a civil action.
The first pleading by a criminal defendant, the defendant's
declaration in open court that he or she is guilty or not
guilty. The defendant's answer to the charges made in the
indictment or information.
Process where the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal
case work out a satisfactory disposition of the case, usually
by the accused agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense.
Such bargains are not binding on the court. Also referred
to as plea negotiating.
The written statements of fact and law filed by the parties
to a lawsuit.
Supplements to law books in pamphlet form which are inserted
in a pocket inside the back cover of the books to keep them
Polling the jury
The act, after a jury verdict has been announced, of asking
jurors individually whether they agree with the verdict.
Refers to items happening after the trial, i.e., post-trial
motions or post-trial discovery.
A will that leaves some or all estate assets to a trust
established before the will-maker's death.
Authority to do. One has the power to do something if he
is of legal age. Also, used as "powers," the term
refers to authority granted by one person to another, i.e.,
powers given an executor in a will or an agent in a power
Power of attorney
An formal instrument authorizing another to act as one's
agent or attorney.
Laws established by previous cases which must be followed
in cases involving identical circumstances.
Court order requiring action or forbidding action until
a decision can be made whether to issue a permanent injunction.
It differs from a temporary restraining order.
Also, preliminary examination. A hearing by a judge to determine
whether a person charged with a crime should be held for
Preponderance of proof
Greater weight of the evidence, the common standard of evidence
in civil cases.
A report to the sentencing judge containing background information
about the crime and the defendant to assist the judge in
making his or her sentencing decision.
Declaration or document issued by a grand jury that either
makes a neutral report or notes misdeeds by officials charged
with specified public duties. It ordinarily does not include
a formal charge of crime. A presentment differs from an
Presumption of law
A rule of law that courts and judges shall draw a particular
inference from a particular fact, or from particular evidence.
A child born after a will is executed, who is not provided
for by the will. Most states have laws that provide for
a share of estate property to go to such children.
Conference among the opposing attorneys and the judge called
at the discretion of the court to narrow the issues to be
tried and to make a final effort to settle the case without
Prima facie case
A case that is sufficient and has the minimum amount of
evidence necessary to allow it to continue in the judicial
Constitutions, codes, statutes, ordinances, and case law
That law, such as a contract between two persons or a real
estate transaction, which applies only to the persons who
subject themselves to it.
A benefit or advantage to certain persons beyond the advantages
of other persons, i.e., an exemption, immunity, power, etc.
For himself; in his own behalf. One who does not retain
a lawyer and appears for himself in court.
A reasonable belief that a crime has or is being committed;
the basis for all lawful searches, seizures, and arrests.
Court proceeding by which a will is proved valid or invalid.
Term used to mean all proceedings pertaining to the administration
of estates such as the process by which assets are gathered;
applied to pay debts, taxes, and expenses of administration;
and distributed to those designated as beneficiaries in
the will. Conducted in states courts.
The court with authority to supervise estate administration.
Estate property that may be disposed of by a will.
An alternative to imprisonment allowing a person found guilty
of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions
and under the supervision of a probation officer. A violation
of probation can lead to its revocation and to imprisonment.
Legal responsibility of manufacturers and sellers to buyers,
users, and bystanders for damages or injuries suffered because
of defects in goods.
An individual to whom a promise is made.
An individual who makes a promise.
A promise which estops the promisee from asserting or taking
A tax levied on land and buildings (real estate) and on
Owner; person who has legal right or title to anything.
A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal
case and the interests of the state in civil matters. In
criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of
deciding who and when to prosecute.
The last negligent act which contributes to an injury. A
person generally is liable only if an injury was proximately
caused by his or her action or by his or her failure to
act when he or she had a duty to act.
The instrument authorizing one person to represent, act,
and vote for another at a shareholders' meeting of a corporation.
Government lawyer who provides free legal defense services
to a poor person accused of a crime.
That law such as traffic ordinances or zoning ordinances
which applies to the public.
Public Service Commission
Also, Public Utilities Commission. A state agency which
Money award given to punish the defendant or wrongdoer.
Purchase agreement or purchase offer
Also, sales agreement and earnest money contract. Agreement
between buyer and seller of property which sets forth in
general the price and terms of a proposed sale.
Alleged; supposed; reputed.