Home | Glossary of Terms | Visit Our Blog | Contact Us
State Cases Federal Cases
 
Cases Originating in California State Court
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas
Motions for a New Trial
Sentencing Memoranda
Direct Appeal
Writ of Habeas Corpus - State Court
Writ of Habeas Corpus - Federal Court
Expungement
Cases Originating in California's Federal Courts
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas
Motions for a New Trial
Representation at Sentencing
Sentencing Memoranda
Direct Appeal
Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus

GLOSSARY OF TERMS

Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court to decide whether the trial was conducted properly.

Bail: Security given for the release of a criminal defendant or witness from legal custody (usually in the form of money) to secure his appearance on the day and time appointed.

Bench Trial: Trial without a jury in which a judge decides the facts.

Brief: A written statement submitted by the lawyer for each side in a case that explains to the judges why they should decide the case or a particular part of a case in favor of that lawyer's client.

Conviction: A determination by a judge or jury that the defendant is guilty of the alleged crime.

Defendant: In a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.

Federal question: Jurisdiction given to federal courts in cases involving the interpretation and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and treaties.

Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.

Habeas corpus: Usually the last legal effort by a prisoner after all appeals are exhausted to challenge the authority of the prison or jail warden to continue to hold him. The prisoner is given a chance to argue his case on the grounds of illegal confinement if the judge grants the "writ of habeas corpus."

Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.

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; a concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment.

Oral argument: An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before the court and also to answer the judges' questions.

Plea: in a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading guilty or not guilty in answer to charges presented.

Record: A written account of all the acts and proceedings in a lawsuit.

Remand: When an appellate court sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.

Reverse: When an appellate court sets aside the decision of a lower court because of an error. A reversal is often followed by a remand.

Sentence: The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.

Statute: A law passed by a legislature.

Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.

Transcript: A written record of what was said, either in a proceeding such as a trial or during some other conversation, as in a transcript of a hearing or oral deposition.

Uphold: The decision of an appellate court not to reverse a lower court decision.

United States Court of Appeals: Courts which hear appeals from federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, and tax courts.

U.S. attorney: A lawyer appointed by the President in each judicial district to prosecute and defend cases for the federal government.

Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.

Writ of certiorari: An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.

Free Consultation Form
First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Phone *
Arrest Date *
Arrest County
Arrest State
Court Date
Offense * 
Questions/ Comments
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Direct Appeal
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Writ of Habeas Corpus - State Court
Motions for a New Trial Writ of Habeas Corpus - Federal Court
Sentencing Memoranda Expungement
Bail Pending Sentencing or Appeal Sentencing Memoranda
Withdrawing Guilty Pleas Direct Appeal
Motions for a New Trial Federal Writ of Habeas Corpus
Representation at Sentencing