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A penalty or other type of enforcement used to bring about compliance with the law or with rules and regulations.
Lists submitted by the debtor along with the petition (or shortly thereafter) showing the debtor's assets, liabilities, and other financial information. (There are official forms a debtor must use.)
An individual or business that holds a claim against the debtor that is secured by a lien on property of the estate. The property subject to the lien is their collateral.
Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. Examples include home mortgages, auto loans and tax liens.
A federal judge who, after attaining the requisite age and length of judicial experience, takes this status, thus creating a vacancy among a court's active judges. They may cut back on their own workload by up to 75% but often don't.
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
A set of rules and principles established by the United States _______ Commission that trial judges use to determine the sentence for a convicted defendant.
To separate. Sometimes juries are ______ed from outside influences during their deliberations.
Service of Process
The delivery of writs or summons to the appropriate party.
Parties to a lawsuit resolve their dispute without having a trial. These often involve the payment of compensation by one party in at least partial satisfaction of the other party's claims, but usually do not include the admission of fault.
Small Business Case
A special type of chapter 11 case in which there is no (or an inactive) creditors' committee and in which the debtor is subject to more oversight by the trustee than other chapter 11 debtors. The Bankruptcy Code contains certain provisions for these.
Standard of Proof
Degree of proof required. In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove a defendant's guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." Most civil lawsuits require proof "by a preponderance of the evidence" (50%+), or a higher standard of "clear and convincing" proof.
Statement of Financial Affairs
A series of questions the debtor must answer in writing concerning sources of income, transfers of property, lawsuits by creditors, etc. (There is an official form a debtor must use.)
Statement of Intention
A declaration made by a chapter 7 debtor concerning plans for dealing with consumer debts that are secured by property of the estate.
A law passed by a legislature.
Statute of Limitations
The time within which a lawsuit must be filed or a criminal prosecution begun. The deadline can vary, depending on the type of civil case or the crime charged.
Latin, meaning "of its own will." Often refers to a court taking an action in a case without being asked to do so by either side.
The act or process by which a person's rights or claims are ranked below those of others.
A command, issued under a court's authority, to a witness to appear and give testimony.
Subpoena Duces Tecum
A command to a witness to appear and produce documents.
Orders that a specific location be searched for items, which if found, can be used in court as evidence. These require probable cause in order to be issued.
A conference between the judge and lawyers held out of earshot of the jury and spectators.
A description that a witness gives to the police and that the police write down.
A decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial. It is used when there is no dispute as to the facts of the case, and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Latin for “to stand by things decided,” to adhere to precedents of earlier cases as sources of law. When an issue has already been ruled upon by a court, other cases involving the same issue must receive the same response.
Words falsely spoken which are damaging to a person's reputation; a verbal defamation.
The claim that an act otherwise criminal was legally justifiable because it was necessary to protect a person or property from the threat or action of another.
When a person turns him or herself in voluntarily to the jail, police, or the court.
Severance of Actions
To separate multiple criminal actions, defendants, causes of action, or cross-complaints for separate trials.
Offenses against chastity, common decency, morals, and the like.
All assaults and attempted assaults which are not of an aggravated nature and do not result in serious injury to the victim.
An act, committed by a child, that is illegal only because of the child's age (e.g. truancy, underage drinking, etc.)
Buying, receiving, possessing, selling, concealing, or transporting any property with the knowledge that it has been unlawfully taken, as by burglary, embezzlement, fraud, larceny, robbery, etc.
Substance Abuse Treatment
A special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to undergo testing and treatment for abuse of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. This may include inpatient or outpatient counseling and detoxification.
Substantive Criminal Law
Law with the purpose of prevention of harm to society which prescribed punishment for specific offenses. The basic law of rights and duties as opposed to "remedial law" which provides methods of enforcement.
Term of supervision served after a person is released from prison. The court imposes this during sentencing in addition to the sentence of imprisonment. Unlike parole, it does not replace a portion of the sentence of imprisonment.
To forbid the use of evidence at a trial because it is improper or was improperly obtained.
A bond purchased at the expense of the estate to insure the executor's proper performance. Also referred to as "fidelity bond."
Surety Bond Register
A bound, dated volume made available to the public and containing information about each surety bond deposited with the court. It is used by surety bond insurance companies and their bail bondsmen to check the status of their outstanding bail bonds.
In criminal law, this means the defendant doesn't have to serve the sentence at the time the sentence is imposed.
Arrested for no specific offense and released without formal charges being placed.
A legal practitioner who traditionally deals with most of the legal matters in some jurisdictions. Must have legally-defined qualifications, which vary from one jurisdiction to another.
The existing state of affairs or circumstances.
Status Quo Order
An order issued by a judge to prevent any of the parties involved in a dispute from taking any action until the matter can be resolved.
The upper chamber, or smaller branch, of the U.S. Congress. The upper chamber of the legislature of most of the states.
A member of one of the 49 state legislative chambers called State Senates. They consider and enact legislation that affects the people of their state.
The highest federal court in the United States, which is able to send cases back to both district and circuit courts for review; however, it only accepts 1 percent of all cases it receives.
To use a legal process by which you try to get a court of law to force a person, company, or organization that has treated you unfairly or hurt you in some way to give you something or to do something; to bring a lawsuit against someone or something.
The making of statements that might expose you to criminal prosecution, either now or in the future. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits the government from forcing you to provide this type of evidence.
Standing (Locus Standi)
The term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case.
Search and Seizure
The body of law that covers the issues of examining a person's property with the intention of finding evidence not in plain view and taking possession of that property against the will of its owner or possessor.
A trial conducted according to prevailing rules and procedures that takes place without unreasonable or undue delay or within a statutory period.
When someone makes a false statement about a company or the value of its stock, and others makes financial decisions based on the false information.
Generally refers to any crime in which the offender subjects the victim to sexual touching that is unwanted and offensive.
Generally refers to the theft of merchandise from a store or place of business. It is a type of larceny.
Requesting, encouraging or demanding someone to engage in criminal conduct, with the intent to facilitate or contribute to the commission of that crime.
The unwanted pursuit of another person, such as following a person, appearing at a person's home or place of business, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing a person's property.
Sexual relations involving someone below the "age of consent." People below the age of consent cannot legally consent to having sex. This means that sex with them, by definition, violates the law.
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