element of general damages which allows for
monetary compensation for one's pain, suffering,
and emotional distress.
or other financial awards made to a nonmarital
partner. Palimony is similar to alimony, but
is normally awarded only if the parties have
agreed to it.
who solicits for a prostitute.
power of a governor or president to forgive
an already convicted defendant from penalties
or punishments arising out of that conviction.
A pardon should be distinguished from getting
a sentence commuted or reduced, both of which
operate temporarily to halt a punishment pending
A document allowing a person to be admitted
to the U.S. on other than an immigrant or
nonimmigrant visa, usually to allow humanitarian
admission to the U.S.
jury verdict in which the defendant is found
guilty of one or more charges but is acquitted,
or the jury deadlocks on the remaining charges.
lawsuit brought to determine paternity. Paternity
actions can be brought by the mother and,
in many states, by the District Attorney of
the county in which the mother lives.
spouse who is ordered by the court to pay
spousal or child support.
sexual obsession for children. Many believe
most pedophilia is a mental illness related
to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Many others
believe it is the worst form of criminal deviance
and should carry the most severe penalties
possible. Everyone agrees that the harm done
to children who are molested is massive and
limited to offenders who peek into windows
and through restroom walls for sexual gratification.
The term comes from the legendary story of
a man named Tom who peeked when Lady Godiva
rode her horse naked through the streets.
the litigation. This term is generally used
to describe an award of temporary support
while the litigation is going on.
retirement plan that is set up by an employer
for his employees.
commercial lease that calls for a rent computed
as a percentage of the tenant's sales.
rental agreement that runs from week-to-week,
month-to-month, or year-to-year.
unlawful and intentional falsification of
ones testimony while under oath to tell
the truth. Perjury can occur in court, administrative
hearings, depositions, and even the formal
acknowledgment of a written legal document
such as an affidavit signed under declaration
The status of being authorized to remain in
the U.S. permanently.
money judgment based on a civil wrong to an
individual, such as an automobile accident.
A portion of the personal injury award is
exempt property that may be retained by a
debtor who files bankruptcy.
person who files the initial complaint in
a divorce lawsuit.
parent-child relationship in which the child
actually resides with the parent. Compare
Legal Custody, Joint Legal Custody, Joint
person who sells the sexual services of another
party who files a lawsuit.
detailed written description of the terms
and conditions of an employee benefit plan,
such as a health benefit or retirement benefit
defendant's formal response to criminal charges
brought against him or her in a court of law.
The procedural response to these charges can
be a plea of not guilty, guilty, or no contest.
The initial plea is made at the defendants
negotiated settlement of a criminal matter
between the defendant and his or her attorney
on one side and the prosecutor on the other.
It usually results in the defendant pleading
guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for
a reduction in the severity of the penalty.
Courts favor plea bargains because they result
in judicial expediency and predictability
in the outcome of the matter.
The term commonly used to refer to asylum
commonly known as a lie detector, it is a
device designed to measure physiological responses
resulting from specific questions being asked
of the subject. The theory being that when
one lies the body reacts by increasing breath
and heart rate. While polygraphs are not allowed
as evidence of guilt or innocence in a court
of law, law enforcement and prosecutors have
been known to rely on them heavily in determining
whether to pursue a defendant.
visual and auditory display of sexual activity
intended solely to excite sexually with no
redeeming social or artistic value. The publication,
sale and distribution of "hard core" child
pornography can be a felony.
An established or specifically designated
location where a person may seek legal admission
to the U.S. A port of entry may be at an airport,
a sea port, or a land border crossing. All
aliens are required to seek admission at a
port of entry.
of stolen goods
unlawful possession of goods known to have
been stolen. It is generally considered a
agreement between a husband and wife made
during the marriage dealing with issues of
property, support, and other matters. Sometimes
called a "post-nuptial" agreement.
usually refers to the physical condition of
a person after death. In criminal investigations
the medical examiner will perform an autopsy
to determine not only the cause of death,
but the time and likely conditions surrounding
slang term used to describe marijuana.
legal document in which an individual designates
another individual to act on his or her behalf.
The power of attorney can be very broad, or
can be restricted to one type of act (for
example, signing checks).
discrimination occurs when an employer treats
an employee differently because she is pregnant.
formal hearing to determine whether there
is sufficient evidence to hold the accused
over to answer felony charges. The burden
of proof is minimal. The prosecution normally
presents only enough evidence and testimony
to show the probability of guilt. The preliminary
hearing is heard by a judge rather then a
term for "antenuptial" agreement.
incurred by a spouse before marriage.
area of law defining the liability of an owner
or operator of their property.
the plaintiff's burden is in a personal injury
claim. Generally, this means proof, by more
than 50%, that the defendant was legally responsible
for an injury.
rule of law that allows or requires a court
to determine that a particular fact is true
if another fact is proved. For example, a
state may have a presumption of death if a
person is missing for seven years. If it is
proved that the person has been missing for
seven years, then the court may declare that
person legally dead.
fundamental right of a person accused of a
crime. The defendant is always presumed to
be innocent until proven otherwise. The prosecution
must carry the burden of proving a defendant
guilty of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt
and to a moral certainty.
Latin term describing the bare minimum allowed
to prove a case against a defendant. In a
criminal prosecution all the elements of a
crime must be proved by the prosecution. Also,
a prima facie case presented to a Grand Jury
will result in an indictment.
customary phrase used by lawyers and judges
describing someone with a record of prior
criminal charges or convictions. A record
of "priors" demonstrates a repeat offender.
Judges usually use the priors to justify giving
a longer sentence to the repeat offender.
constitutional right to refuse being compelled
to testify in a court of law if that testimony
can later be used against that person in a
the U.S. Constitution it provides under Article
IV that citizens of each state shall be entitled
to the same privileges and protections provided
to the citizens in that state. The 14th Amendment
specifically provides: "No State shall make
or enforce any law which shall abridge the
privileges or immunities of citizens of the
amount of proof necessary before law enforcement
can stop, search or arrest a criminal suspect.
It is that degree of belief necessary which
will cause law enforcement to say that under
the totality of the circumstances a crime
has been or is about to be committed. Probable
cause is often more subjective then objective.
is totally discretionary and is granted by
a judge to a person convicted of a crime.
Probation allows that person to avoid incarceration
in exchange for agreeing to comply with the
terms and conditions of probation. Examples
of probation terms can include making restitution
to the victim and attending rehabilitation.
Probation often requires that the person violate
no law. A violation of probation can result
in the person being sent to jail for the term
the defendant would have received had probation
not been granted.
area of law which holds manufacturers, designers
and other makers of products responsible for
employee who is exempt from laws requiring
overtime pay because the employee has received
high-level training (such as an advanced degree
program) and makes important decisions without
written promise to pay a sum certain at a
used in a criminal trial which tends to prove
a fact in controversy. Proof can be testimony,
expert opinion, and physical evidence.
of a debtor's possessions, including the right
to receive money from someone in the future.
decision by a prosecutor to charge formally
and convict a person believed to have committed
attorney and resources that represent the
government in bringing formal criminal charges
against a person accused of a crime.
who receives payment in exchange for sex.
placing of a person in government control
so as to protect that person from threats
of danger. Protective custody is sometimes
used to help a child who has been threatened
or abused by his parents.
Public assistance programs of the federal
or state governments.
public official regularly assigned by the
courts to defend people accused of crimes
who cannot afford a private attorney.
who works for a federal, state, or local government
federal, state, or local government agency
that employs workers.
owned by a local government agency (usually
called a "housing authority") and
rented out to low-income people at rents below
market rates. This program is subsidized by
the federal government, through HUD.
the plaintiff in a lawsuit proves that the
defendant acted "maliciously" or with fraud,
the court might allow an award of "punitive"
damages to punish the defendant and to set
an example to other people who might be thinking
of doing something similar. This is over and
above compensation for the actual damages
suffered by the defendant. Same as "exemplary"
person in an invalid marriage who believes
in good faith that he or she is legally married.