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Glossary of Legal Terms
(Starting with "R")

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


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A federal law otherwise known as the "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization" act. It was originally intended to crack down on criminal conspiracies and actions which used otherwise lawful enterprises to hide the underpinnings of criminal activity. Over the years, the law was expanded to use criminal conspiracies to implicate vicariously others not directly linked to the center of a criminal conspiracy.

race discrimination

Race discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently because of the employee's race or because of a characteristic that is related to the employee's race.

race harassment

Race harassment (also known as "racial harassment") occurs when an employer engages in behavior of a racist nature that alters the conditions of employment.

random test

A "surprise" drug or alcohol test performed on an employee by an employer.


The money or valuable consideration demanded by a kidnapper for the release of the person kidnapped.


Unlawful sexual intercourse with another without consent. Most forms of rape are executed with force or threat of force. Rape can also be done through trick or deceit. This would include drugging a person into sexual submission. In either case, the major element to prove is the lack of consent. Statutory rape occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with an underage minor. It is irrelevant whether or not the minor consented since it is presumed that a minor does not possess the mental capacity to consent.

reasonable accommodation

A "reasonable accommodation" is a change or modification to a job that makes it easier for an employee with a disability to do the job.

reasonable doubt

The most crucial element to the prosecutor's burden of proof. The prosecutor must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty. Ultimately the jury must be convinced of the defendant’s guilt without material doubt. However the doubt must be reasonable, not created by a clever and skilled lawyer.


The collection of evidence and argument offered in response to an opposing attorney’s evidence and argument.


That degree of disregard towards another person’s safety and well being so as to reach a level of substantial certainty that harm would result.

reckless driving

The dangerous and careless operation of a motor vehicle such that it creates a substantial certainty that harm will ensue from the circumstances. Most common forms of such behavior involve driving while impaired from alcohol or drugs.


A person outside his country or place of last residence who has established a well founded fear of persecution on account of political opinion, race, religion, nationality or membership in a particular social group. A refugee will not necessarily be allowed to come to the U.S. unless he fits into a designated category of persons who should be admitted. A refugee admitted to the U.S. may seek permanent resident status 1 year after admission.

refugee visa

A travel document issued to a refugee allowing him to seek admission to the U.S.


The right of a spouse who has contributed separate property to help buy marital property to be reimbursed the amount contributed.

relative petition

An application submitted to the INS to establish a person's qualification as a relative of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.


A "release" of claims is a written document, signed by an employee that gives up legal claims the employee may have against the employer. An employee might be required to sign a release of claims in exchange for a severance package.


Only relevant evidence can be admitted in a trial. Evidence is relevant if it tends to prove or disprove a fact in controversy at trial.

relief from judgement

A court order relieving a party from the effect of a judgment (generally for support or property distribution) based on such things as fraud, duress, perjury, and the like.

religious discrimination

Religious discrimination occurs when an employer treats an employee differently because of the employee's religious beliefs. Under certain circumstances, the employer may be required to accommodate the employee's beliefs - as long as that accommodation does not cause a hardship for the employer.


A high court's review of a lower court’s decision on a matter such that it results in the case being sent back to the trial court for purposes of correcting a legal deficiency or because the high court did not have proper jurisdiction to hear the matter.


The process or ejecting a person from the U.S. A removal order is entered at the conclusion of a removal hearing, where the person has been found to be either inadmissible or deportable.

removal hearing

A proceeding before an immigration judge to determine whether a person should be ejected from the U.S.


A voluntary modification of an existing agreement - perhaps to reduce monthly payments and to extend the repayment period, or to pay a smaller lump sum now in settlement of a larger sum claimed by the creditor.


The compensation paid by the tenant to the landlord for use of the premises.

rent control law

A law (usually enacted by a city, but sometimes by a county or state) that limits the amount by which a landlord may raise rents.


A secured creditor taking possession of the collateral when the debtor defaults.

request for admissions

As part of the "discovery" process, either party to a lawsuit may serve on the other party written requests to admit certain facts, in order to save time at trial. Admissions will then be admitted into evidence at the trial.

request for production of documents

As part of the "discovery" process, either party to a lawsuit may serve on the other party a written request for production of specified documents, such as promissory notes and sales contracts.

residential lease

A lease of property to be used as the tenant's residence.

resident manager

A person hired by the landlord to manage the property while living in one of the building's apartments.

resisting arrest

Once arrested, legally or not, one must comply with the arrest and be taken into custody. The physical resistance to an arrest is a crime even if the arrest was not supported by probable cause or was the result of mistaken identity.


The opposing spouse named in the complaint filed by the petitioner.

restraining order

A court order preventing parties from engaging in certain conduct, such as harassing each other or disposing of marital assets.

retail lease

A lease for property used for stores, outlets, or other retail purposes.


An act by an employer motivated by the employer's desire to punish the employee for the employee's exercise of some right protected by law.

retaliatory eviction

An eviction motivated by the landlord's desire to punish the tenant for the tenant's exercise of some right protected by law.

retaliatory rent increase

A rent increase motivated by the landlord's desire to punish the tenant for the tenant's exercise of some right protected by law.

retaliatory termination

A firing of an employee motivated by the employer's desire to punish the employee for the employee's exercise of some right protected by law (also known as "retaliatory discharge").


A high court’s decision to reverse the outcome at the trial court such that the case must be tried over or the criminal action dismissed. This will happen when the reviewing court finds an error of law or substantial prejudice in the proceedings.

right-to-sue letter

The letter issued by the EEOC that gives a worker permission to file a discrimination lawsuit against his employer in federal court.


The unlawful taking of property from a person through force, threat or intimidation. Robbery is a considered an aggravated felony when it is accompanied with a dangerous weapon such as a gun. Such a felony is punishable by state or federal prison.

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