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Flashcards in Chapter 15 terms Deck (29)
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1

Criminal law

The branch of law that regulates the conduct of individuals, defines crimes, and specifies punishment to criminal acts

2

Plaintiff

The individual or organization who brings complaint in court

3

Defendant

The one against whom a complaint is brought in a criminal or civil case

4

Civil law

The branch of law that deals with disputes that do not involve criminal penalties

5

Precedent

Prior case whose principles are used by judges as the basis for their decision in a present case

6

Stare decisis

Literally, "let the decision stand." The doctrine that a previous decision by a court applies as a precedent in similar cases until that decision is overruled

7

Trial court

The first court to hear a criminal or civil case

8

Court of appeals

A court that hears appeals of trial court decisions

9

Plea bargain

A negotiated agreement in a criminal case in which a defendant agrees to plead guilty in return for the state's agreements to reduce the severity of the criminal charge or prison sentence the defendant is facing

10

Uniform Commercial Code

Code used in many states in the area of contract of law to reduce interstate differences in judicial decisions

11

Jurisdiction

The sphere of a court's power and authority

12

Due process of law

The right of every citizen against arbitrary action by national or state government

13

Writ of habeas corpus

A court order that the individual in custody be brought into court and shown the cause for detention. Habeas corpus is guaranteed by the Constitution and can be suspended only in cases of rebellion or invasion

14

Chief justice

Justice on the Supreme Court who presides over the Court's public sessions

15

Senatorial courtesy

The practice whereby the president, before formally nominating a person for a federal judgeship, seeks the indication that the senators from the candidate's own state support the nomination

16

Miranda rule

The requirement, articulated by the Supreme Court in Miranda v. Arizona, that persons under arrest must be informed prior to police interrogation of their rights to remain silent and to havethebenefit of legal counsel

17

Standing

The right of an individual or organization to initiate a court case, on the basis of their having a substantial stake in the outcome

18

Mootness

A criterion used by courts to screen cases that no longer require resolution

19

Writ of certiorari

A decision of at least four of the nine Supreme court justices to review a decision of a lower court; from the Latin "to make more certain"

20

Solicitor general

The top government lawyer in all cases before the Supreme Court where the government is a party

21

Per curiam

A brief, unsigned decision by an appellate court, usually rejecting a petition to review the decision of a lower court

22

Amicus curiae

Literally, "friend of the court"; individuals or groups who are not parties to a lawsuit but who seek to assist S.C. in reaching a decision by presenting additional briefs

23

Brief

A written document in which attorneys explain, using case precedents, why the court should find in favor of their client

24

Oral argument

Stage in S.C. procedure in which attorneys for both sides appear before the court to present their positions and answer questions posed by justices

25

Opinion

The written explanation of the S.C.'s decision in a particular case

26

Dissenting opinion

A decision written by a justices in the minority in a particular case in which the justice wishes to express his or her reasoning in the case

27

Judicial restraint

Judicial philosophy whose adherents refuse to go beyond the clear words of the Constitution in interpreting its meaning

28

Judicial activism

Judicial philosophy that posits that the Court should go beyond the words of the Constitution or a statute to consider the broader societal implications of its decisions

29

Class-action suit

A legal action by which a group or class of individuals with common interests can file a suit on behalf of everyone who shares that interest