Journalist's Guide

Glossary The following is an abbreviated glossary intended to assist with some of the most frequent and basic legal terms. There are many other useful resources such as Black’s Law Dictionary or the Internet. Type in “legal dictionary’ and you’ll come up with a variety of sites. Some of the best

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Acquittal : The finding of a judge or jury that the evidence is insufficient to support a conviction, or a verdict that the accused is not guilty. Adjudication : A judgment or decision of a court or jury regarding a case. Admission : Statements acknowledging the existence of a fact relevant to the cause of the opposing party. In the criminal arena, an admission is short of a confession of guilt if not acknowledging all facts or elements of a charge (compare “Confession”). Affidavit : A written statement the contents of which are affirmed under the penalties of perjury to be true. Affirmed (Judgment) : A decision by an appellate court finding the judgment of a lower court is correct and should stand. Agreed statement of facts : A statement of all important facts, which all the parties agree is true and correct, which is submitted to a court for ruling. Alford Plea : A special type of guilty plea by which a defendant does not admit guilt but concedes the state has sufficient evidence to convict, normally made to avoid the threat of greater punishment. This is a guilty plea in which the defendant maintains their innocence, but acknowledges the prosecution has sufficient evidence to convict. Allocution : A defendant’s statement in mitigation of punishment. Annotation : A case summary or commentary on the law cases, statutes, and the rules illustrating its interpretation. Appearance : A coming into the court in person or by filing a paper, as plaintiff, defendant or legal representative. Appellant : A party who appeals a judgment of a court. Appellate Court : A court having jurisdiction to review the judgment or order of a lower court. Appellee : A party against whom an appeal is taken. Attorney of Record : An attorney who represents a party and has entered an appearance in an action (see “Counsel”). Bail Bond : A written obligation of a defendant, with or without a surety or collateral security, conditioned on the appearance of a defendant as required and providing for the payment of a penalty sum according to its terms; includes a surety bond posted by a surety insurer or bail bondsman and backed by the insurer’s pledge; a cash bond secured by deposited cash; a


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