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Glossary of Legal Terms
(Starting with "G")

By Henry Dahut,,
Studio City, CA, U.S.A.


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gag order

A court or executive order prohibiting attorneys or anyone working on behalf of the attorneys in a pending criminal or, civil matter from communicating their thoughts or impressions about their case to the media or to the public at large. The goal is to prevent pretrial prejudice from contaminating the jury. Most constitutional scholars believe that the First Amendment should limit the court’s ability to restrict the media from broadcasting information about the case.


See wage garnishment

general damages

Damages that cannot be precisely calculated such as damages for pain, suffering, emotional distress, or loss of comfort and support.

good cause

Another term for "just cause."


The intangible value of some portion of a business or professional practice which represents the expectation of continued patronage by the public.

grand jury

Some states still use the grand jury system. In essence it is a probable cause hearing before a jury to determine if there is enough evidence to hold the accused over for trial. Many states now use the "preliminary hearing" system which allows the judge independently to make the probable cause finding rather than going through the expense of a grand jury.

grand larceny

Also known as grand theft. It is the theft of another's property valued over a certain statutory amount. Many states impose a $500.00 threshold. Grand larceny is considered by most states to be a felony punishable by a term of one year or more in state prison.

See also: larceny theft

green card

Commonly used term for the document issued by the INS as evidence of lawful permanent resident status. The "green" card no longer exists, because the card issued is now blue. A permanent resident is required to carry his green card at all times.


A written claim that a union files for a worker against an employer. A grievance explains why an employer's actions against a worker were not for "good cause" or were in violation of the union's collective bargaining agreement with the employer.


A person who guarantees that the person making the promise to proform will in fact perform his or her obligations under contract.


An agreement as it pretains to a lease, whereby a person who will not occupy the premises guarantees that the tenant will perform his or her obligations under a lease or rental agreement.


A legal finding by a judge or a jury of someone who has been charged with a crime and has been found to have legally committed that crime. A defendant may also be found guilty subject to a plea without a trial as the result of a plea bargain.

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