Criminal Defense GLOSSARY
Glossary of Criminal Defense Terms
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Capital Crime: A crime punishable by death.
Capital offense: A crime punishable by death.
Case law: The law as laid down in cases that have been
decided in the decisions of the courts.
Charge: The criminal offense which is contained in the
Chambers: A judge's office.
Charge to the jury: The judge's instructions to the jury
concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial.
Chief judge: The judge who has primary responsibility for
the administration of a court but also decides cases; chief judges
are determined by seniority.
Circumstantial evidence: All evidence except eyewitness
Clerk of court: An officer appointed by the court to work
with the chief judge in overseeing the court's administration,
especially to assist in managing the flow of cases through the court
and to maintain court records.
Common law: The legal system that originated in England
and is now in use in the United States. It is based on judicial
decisions rather than legislative action.
Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating
the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant. commit - To send a
person to prison, asylum, or reformatory by a court order.
Contract: An agreement between two or more persons that
creates an obligation to do or not to do a particular thing.
Consecutive Sentences: Successive sentences, one beginning
at the aspiration of another, imposed against a person convicted of
two or more violations.
Counsel: Legal advice; a term used to refer to lawyers in
Court: Government entity authorized to resolve legal
Court reporter: A person who makes a record of what is
said in court.
Conviction: A determination by a judge or jury that the
defendant is guilty of the alleged crime.