Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen 111 E. Wisconsin Ave., Suite 1925 Milwaukee, WI 53202-4825
Jeffrey W. Jensen is a criminal defense lawyer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also a criminal appeals lawyer in Wisconsin.
Glossary of Legal Terms
These are definitions and discussions of important legal terms that you will encounter during the course of a criminal case in Wisconsin. This glossary was authored by Milwaukee, Wisconsin lawyer Jeffrey W. Jensen. Mr. Jensen has practiced criminal defense in Milwaukee for twenty-three years. This glossary, like the other free legal forms offered on this site, is not intended to be legal advice nor is it a substitute for experienced legal representation by a competent attorney.
For a searchable database of articles on criminal law and on family law you should visit the Jensen Defense Wiki. This is a large searchable database that includes a brief bank containing hundreds of appeals briefs and criminal motions.
Accessory - A person who assists in the commission of a crime, either before or after the fact.
Accomplice - 1. A partner in a crime. 2. A person who knowingly and voluntarily participates with another in a criminal activity.
Accused - The name for the defendant in a criminal case.
Acquittal - The legal certification of the innocence of a person who has been charged with a crime, setting the person free from a charge of guilty by a finding of not guilty; A release, absolution, or discharge of an obligation or liability. In criminal law the finding of not guilty.
Adjudication - Giving or pronouncing a judgment or decree. Also the judgment given.
Admissible evidence - Evidence that can be legally and properly introduced in a civil or criminal trial.
Admission - A statement tending to establish the guilt or liability of the person making the statement.
Admonish- To advise or caution. For example the court may caution or admonish counsel for wrong practices.
Affidavit - A voluntary, written, or printed declaration of facts, confirmed by oath of the party making it before a person with authority to administer the oath.
Aid and Abet - To actively, knowingly, or intentionally assist another person in the commission or attempted commission of a crime.
Alibi - A defense claim that the accused was somewhere else at the time a crime was committed.
Allegation - A statement of the issues in a written document (a pleading) which a person is prepared to prove in court.
Amicus curiae - A friend of the court; a nonparty who interposes, with the permission of the court, and volunteers information upon some matter before the court.
Appeal- An application to a higher court to review the legal rulings or judgment of a lower cout. An appellate court is an error correcting court and it normally does not hear testimony or receive evidence.
Appearance - The act of coming into court as a party to a suit either in person or through an attorney.
Appellate court - A court having jurisdiction to hear appeals and review a trial court's procedure.
Assault - Threat to inflict injury with an apparent ability to do so. Also, any intentional display of force that would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm.
Attempt - An endeavor or effort to do an act or accomplish a crime, carries beyond preparation, but lacking execution.
Bail - Money or other security (such as a bail bond) provided to the court to temporarily allow a person's release from jail and assure their appearance in court. "Bail" and "Bond" are often used interchangeably. (Applies mainly to state courts.)
Bailiff - An officer of the court responsible for keeping order and maintaining appropriate courtroom decorum and has custody of the jury.
Battery - A beating, or wrongful physical violence. The actual threat to use force is an "assault;" the use of it is a battery, which usually includes an assault.
Beyond a reasonable doubt - The standard in a criminal case requiring that the jury be satisfied to a moral certainty that every element of a crime has been proven by the prosecution. This standard of proof does not require that the state establish absolute certainty by eliminating all doubt, but it does require that the evidence be so conclusive that all reasonable doubts are removed from the mind of the ordinary person.
Bill of particulars - A statement of the details of the charge made against the defendant.
Bill of Rights- The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. In a criminal case the most important amendments are the fourth amendment (which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures), the fifth amendment (which provides for, among other things, due process of law and the right to remain silent), the sixth amendment (which provides for, among other things, the right to a speedy trial and the right to counsel), the eighth amendment (which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment) and the fourteenth amendment which applies the bill of rights to state court proceedings.
Breach - The breaking or violating of a law, right, or duty, either by commission or omission. The failure of one part to carry out any condition of a contract.
Burglary - The act of illegal entry with the intent to steal.
Capital crime - A crime punishable by death.
Cases - General term for an action, cause, suit, or controversy, at law or in equity; questions contested before a court of justice.
Chronological - Arranged in the order in which events happened; according to date.
Citation - A writ or order issued by a court commanding the person named therein to appear at the time and place named; also the written reference to legal authorities, precedents, reported cases, etc., in briefs or other legal documents.
Commit - To send a person to prison, asylum, or reformatory by a court order.
Competency - A witness's ability to observe, recall and recount under other what happened. Criminal defendants must also be competent to stand trial; they must understand the nature of the proceedings and have the ability to assist their lawyers.
Complainant - The party who complains or sues; one who applies to the court for legal redress.
Complaint - 1. The legal document that usually begins a civil lawsuit. It states the facts and identifies the action the court is asked to take. 2. Formal written charge that a person has committed a criminal offense.
Consent - Agreement; voluntary acceptance of the wish of another.
Conspiracy - A combination of two or more persons formed for the purpose of committing by joint collaboration some unlawful act.
Continuance - Postponement of a legal proceeding to a later date.
Conviction - A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.
Crime - An act in violation of the penal laws of a state or the United States. A positive or negative act in violation of penal law. In Wisconsin a crime is any offense that is punishable by imprisonment. Other offenses are municipal ordinance violations.
Cross-examination- During any evidentiary hearing, including a trial, questioning by the party (or the party's attorney) who did not call the witness and where the witness is usually hostile to the party's contentions. As opposed to direct examination, leading questions are permitted on cross-examination.
Custody- In a divorce action "custody" refers to the right of a parent to make important decisions on behalf of a minor child. Examples of such decisions are health care, schooling, and religious training. Custody does not refer to where the child will live.
Defendant - The person defending or denying a suit.
Deliberation - The jury's decision-making process after hearing the evidence and closing arguments and being given the court's instructions.
Delinquency - The commission of an illegal act by a juvenile.
Direct examination - The first questioning of witnesses by the party on whose behalf they are called.
Discovery - In a Wisconsin criminal case discovery is governed by Sec. 971.23, Stats., which permits the defendant (and the state) to turn over certain evidence in the case. This typically involves police reports, the defendant's record, expert witness reports, and a witness list. Contrary to popular myth, there is no such thing as a "motion of discovery." A motion is not required. All that is required is that a written demand be served upon the proscutor.
Dismissal - The termination of a lawsuit.
Due process of law - The right of all persons to receive the guarantees and safeguards of the law and the judicial process. It includes such constitutional requirements as adequate notice, assistance of counsel, and the rights to remain silent, to a speedy and public trial, to an impartial jury, and to confront and secure witnesses.
Embezzlement - The fraudulent appropriation by a person to his own use or benefit or property or money entrusted to him by another.
Entrapment - A defense to a criminal charge where it is shown that government agents unfairly induced the defendant to commit a crime. Generally, entrapment requires more than a mere showing that the police suggested that the crime be committed. It must be shown that the defendant had no predisposition to commit the crime, was resistant to committing the crime, but that the behavior of the police overcame the defendant's resistance to committing the crime.
Evidence - Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
Exhibit - A document or other item introduced as evidence during a trial or hearing.
Expert testimony - Testimony given in relation to some scientific, technical or professional matter by experts, i.e., person qualified to speak authoritatively by reason of their special training, skill or familiarity with the subject.
False arrest - Any unlawful physical restraint of another's personal liberty, whether or not carried out by a peace officer.
False pretenses - Representation of some fact or circumstance which is not true and is calculated to mislead, whereby a person obtains another's money or goods.
Felony - A serious criminal offense. In Wisconsin a felony is a crime which is punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
File - To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court/court administrator to enter into the files or records of a case.
Filing Fee - The fee required for filing various documents.
Findings of Fact- In pretrial motions heard before the court where there is a dispute as to the important facts the court will hear testimony and then recite findings on the record as to which facts were proven.
Fine - A sum of money paid as part of a penalty of conviction for a particular criminal offense.
Foreclosure - A court proceeding upon default in a mortgage to vest title in the mortgagee.
Forfeiture- Upon conviction for a municipal ordinance violation, the payment money ordered by the court as punishment; the seizing of property by the government that is believed to be the fruits of a criminal enterprise.
Fraud - A false representation of a matter of fact which is intended to deceive another.
Grand Jury - A jury of inquiry whose duty it is to receive complaints and accusations in criminal matters and if appropriate issue a formal indictment.
Guardian ad Litem- An attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interests of a minor or incompetent person whose interests are affected by litigation. A guardian ad litem is not "adversary counsel" whose obligation it is to argue the wishes of the client whether or not the attorney believes that this is in the client's best interest.
Habeas corpus - The name of a writ having for its object to bring a person before a court. In criminal cases the most frequent application of this term is in an application in federal court under 28 U.S.C. §2254 for relief from a state court judgment that was obtained contrary to the constitution.
Hearing - A formal proceeding (generally less formal than a trial) with definite issues of law or of fact to be heard. Hearings are used extensively by legislative and administrative agencies.
Hearsay - A statement offered for the truth of the matter asserted where the statement is made other than while testifying under oath in the court proceeding for which is it offered. Under almost all circumstances in criminal cases hearsay offered by the government is prohibited under the confrontation clause of the United States Constitution.
Homicide- The killing of another person. See manslaughter, below, for a discussion of the various degrees of homicide in Wisconsin.
Hypothetical question - An imaginary situation, incorporating facts previously admitted into evidence, upon which an expert witness is permitted to give an opinion as to a condition resulting from the situation.
Immunity - Grant by the court, which assures someone will not face prosecution in return for providing criminal evidence.
Incarceration - Imprisonment in a jail or penitentiary.
Incompetent - One who lacks ability, legal qualification, or fitness to manage his own affairs.
Indictment - A written accusation by a grand jury charging a person with a crime.
Infraction - A violation of law not punishable by imprisonment. Minor traffic offenses generally are considered infractions.
Initial appearance- Where a person is arrested and kept in custody by the police he must be charged and brought before the court for an initial appearance within seventy-two hours. At an initial appearance the judge reviews the criminal complaint to make sure that probable cause is established and then the court sets bail.
Injunction - A prohibitive order or remedy issued by the court at the suit of the complaining party, which forbids the defendant to do some act which he is threatening or attempting to do. Conversely, it may require him to perform an act which he is obligated to perform but refuses to do.
Issue - 1. The disputed pint in a disagreement between parties in a lawsuit. 2. To send out officially, as in to issue an order.
Intent to kill- In Wisconsin, in a prosecution for first degree intentional homicide, the state must prove that the defendant formed the mental intent to kill another. This intent need not exist for any substantial time prior to the act that caused death.
Judgment - The official and authentic decision of a court of justice upon the rights and claims of parties to an action or suit submitted to the court for determination.
Jurisdiction - The power or authority of a court to hear and try a case; the geographic area in which a court has power or the types of cases it has power to hear.
Jury - A certain number of men and women selected according to law and sworn to try a question of fact or indict a person for public offense.
Kidnapping - The unlawful and carrying away of a human being by force and against his will.
Knowingly - With knowledge, willfully or intentionally with respect to a material element of an offense.
Legitimate - That which is legal, lawful, recognized by law or according to law.
Liable - Legally responsible.
Libel - Published defamation which tends to injure a person's reputation.
Litigation - A lawsuit; a legal action, including all proceedings therein.
Manslaughter - The unlawful killing of another without intent to kill; either voluntary (upon a sudden impulse); or involuntary (during the commission of an unlawful act not ordinarily expected to result in great bodily harm). In Wisconsin there is no crime of manslaughter. Rather, the levels of homicide are as follows: (1) First degree intentional homicide which is the intentional killing of another; (2) Second degree intentional homicide which is the intentional killing of another where the defendant had the privilege to act in self-defense but the use of deadly force was unreasonable; (3) First degree reckless homicide which is the killing of another by criminally reckless behavior evidencing an utter disregard for human life; and, (3) Second degree reckless homicide which is the killing of another by criminally reckless conduct where there state is unable to prove utter disregard for human life. There are also various forms of criminally negligent homicide.
Mediation - A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them agree on a settlement.
Mens rea - Literally in Latin, "guilty mind." The intent required to commit the crime. It is a prerequisite to conviction for a crime involving a moral wrong, but it is not a prerequisite to conviction for an act that is a crime only because a statute designates it to be a crime, e.g., overtime parking.
Miranda warning - Requirement that police tell a suspect in their custody of his or her constitutional rights before they question him or her. So named as a result of the Miranda v. Arizona ruling by the United States Supreme Court.
Misdemeanor - A criminal offense lesser than a felony and generally punishable by fine or by imprisonment other than in a penitentiary.
Mistrial - An invalid trial, caused by fundamental error. When a mistrial is declared, the trial must start again from the selection of the jury.
Mitigation - A reduction, abatement, or diminution of a penalty or punishment imposed by law.
Moot - A moot case or a moot point is one not subject to a judicial determination because it involves an abstract question or a pretended controversy that has not yet actually arisen or has already passed. Mootness usually refers to a court's refusal to consider a case because the issue involved has been resolved prior to the court's decision, leaving nothing that would be affected by the court's decision.
Motion - An application made to a court or judge which requests a ruling or order in favor of the applicant.
Motion in Limine- A motion filed shortly before trial asking to court to make a preliminary ruling on a point of trial procedure or on the admissibility of evidence.
Motion to suppress evidence- A motion brought to obtain a court order "suppressing" evidence (i.e. ordering that the evidence not be used at trial) seized by the government contrary to the constitution (usually contrary to the fourth amendment). The suppression of evidence is authorized under the "exclusionary rule" created by the United States Supreme Court. A defendant may also move to suppress a statement given by him while in police custody and in response to police questioning where the defendant was not given the Mirand Warning, where the statement was coerced by police, or where the defendant invoked his right to counsel and the police continued questioning.
Naturalization - Process by which a person acquires nationality after birth and becomes entitled to privileges of citizenship.
Negligence - Failure to use care which a reasonable and prudent person would use under similar circumstances.
Negotiation - The process of submission and consideration of offers until an acceptable offer is made and accepted.
Nolo contendere - A Latin phrase meaning "I will not contest it." A plea in a criminal case which does not require the defendant to admit guilt, but the defendant does not contest the facts on which the charge is based. Some judges refuse to accept such pleas in criminal cases.
Non compos mentis - Not of sound mind; insane.
Not guilty plea - Complete denial of guilt. In criminal cases, a necessary stage of the proceedings required to preserve all legal issues.
Not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect- A plea in the criminal case which causes a bifurcated trial. In the first phase the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense charged. If the state succeeds then then the case proceeds to a second phase where the burden is on the defendant to prove by clear, satisfactory, and convincing evidence that he suffers from mental condition that prevented him from comprehending the wrongfulness of his behavior or prevented him from conforming his conduct to law. Contrary to public perception, this is an extremely rare plea in criminal cases.
Notice - Formal notification to the party that has been sued in a civil case of the fact that the lawsuit has been filed. Also, any form of notification of a legal proceeding.
Oath - A solemn pledge made under a sense of responsibility in attestation of the truth of a statement or in verification of a statement made.
Objection - The process by which one party takes exception to some statement or procedure. An objection is either sustained (allowed) or overruled by the judge.
Opinion - A judge's written explanation of a decision of the court or of a majority of judges. A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because of the reasoning and/or the principles of law on which the decision is based. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision of the court but offers further comment. (A per curiam opinion is an unsigned opinion "of the court.")
Order - A mandate, command, or direction authoritatively given. Direction of a court or judge made in writing.
Ordinance - A rule established by authority; may be a municipal statute of a city council, regulating such matters as zoning, building, safety, matters of municipality, etc.
Overrule - A judge's decision not to allow an objection. Also, a decision by a higher court finding that a lower court decision was in error.
Paralegal - Also, legal assistant. A person with legal skills who works under the supervision of a lawyer.
Pardon - An act of grace from governing power which mitigates punishment and restores rights and privileges forfeited on account of the offense.
Parole - Supervised release of a prisoner from imprisonment on certain prescribed conditions which entitle him to termination of his sentence.
Party - A person, business, or government agency actively involved in the prosecution of defense of a legal proceeding.
Party to the crime- In Wisconsin a person is "concerned in the commission of the crime" is liable as though he directly committed it. A person is concerned in the commission of the crime if he aids and abets the commission of the crime or if he is a member of a conspiracy to commit the crime. A person aids and abets the commission of a crime if, knowing that another is committing a crime, he stands by ready and willing to assist in the commission of the crime. A conspiracy is an agreement between two or more persons to work together to commit a crime.
Perjury - The criminal offense of making a false statement under oath.
Plaintiff - A person who brings an action; the party who complains or sues in a civil action.
Plea - The first pleading by a criminal defendant, the defendant's declaration in open court that he or she is guilty or not guilty. The defendant's answer to the charges made in the indictment or information.
Plea bargaining - Process where the accused and the prosecutor in a criminal case work out a satisfactory disposition of the case, usually by the accused agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser offense. Such bargains are not binding on the court. Also referred to as plea negotiating.
Power - Authority to do. One has the power to do something if he is of legal age. Also, used as "powers," the term refers to authority granted by one person to another, i.e., powers given an executor in a will or an agent in a power of attorney.
Power of attorney - An formal instrument authorizing another to act as one's agent or attorney.
Precedent - Laws established by previous cases which must be followed in cases involving identical circumstances.
Preliminary Hearing- In Wisconsin a statutory hearing at the outset of a felony criminal case at which the state must establish through live witnesses probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a felony. As with any probable cause hearing, the credibility of the witnesses is not an issue. The court must believe all testimony presented and then determine whether that establishes probable cause. Contrary to public perception, a preliminary hearing is not a "mini-trial".
Probable cause - A reasonable belief that a crime has or is being committed; the basis for all lawful searches, seizures, and arrests.
Probation - An alternative to imprisonment allowing a person found guilty of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions and under the supervision of a probation officer. A violation of probation can lead to its revocation and to imprisonment.
Prosecutor - A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interests of the state in civil matters. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute.
Public defender - Government lawyer who provides free legal defense services to a poor person accused of a crime.
Quasi-criminal action - A classification of actions such as violation of a city ordinance that is not also violation of a criminal statute, which are wrongs against the public punishable through fines but are not usually indictable offenses.
Reasonable doubt - This is the burden of proof in a criminal case. The jury must find the defendant guilty beyond any reasonable doubt. A reasonable doubt is a doubt which gives pause in the most important affairs of life. If the jury is able to reconcile the evidence upon any reasonable hypothesis consistent with the defendant's innocence they must do so and find the defendant not guilty. The jury, however, is not required to search for any doubt- they are to search for the truth giving the defendant the benefit any doubt for which a reason may be given.
Rebut - Evidence disproving other evidence previously given or reestablishing the credibility of challenged evidence.
Record - All the documents and evidence plus transcripts of oral proceedings in a case.
Recuse - The process by which a judge is disqualified from hearing a case, on his or her own motion or upon the objection of either party.
Redress - To set right; to remedy; to compensate; to remove the causes of a grievance.
Remand - To send a dispute back to the court where it was originally heard. Usually it is an appellate court that remands a case for proceedings in the trial court consistent with the appellate court's ruling.
Removal - The transfer of a state case to federal court for trial; in civil cases, because the parties are from different states; in criminal and some civil cases, because there is a significant possibility that there could not be a fair trial in state court.
Reply - The response by a party to charges raised in a pleading by the other party.
Res ipsa loquitur - Literally, " a thing that speaks for itself." In tort law, the doctrine which holds a defendant guilty of negligence without an actual showing that he or she was negligent. Its use is limited in theory to cases in which the cause of the plaintiff's injury was entirely under the control of the defendant, and the injury presumably could have been caused only by negligence.
Respondent - The person against whom an appeal is taken.
Rest - A party is said to "rest" or "rest its case" when it has presented all the evidence it intends to offer.
Retainer - Act of the client in employing the attorney or counsel, and also denotes the fee which the client pays when he or she retains the attorney to act for them.
Return - A report to a judge by police on the implementation of an arrest or search warrant. Also, a report to a judge in reply to a subpoena, civil or criminal.
Reverse - An action of a higher court in setting aside or revoking a lower court decision.
Revoke - To cancel or nullify a legal document.
Robbery - Felonious taking of another's property, from his or her person or immediate presence and against his or her will, by means of force or fear.
Rules - Established standards, guides, or regulations set up by authority.
Rules of evidence - Standards governing whether evidence in a civil or criminal case is admissible.
Self-defense - The claim that an act otherwise criminal was legally justifiable because it was necessary to protect a person or property from the threat or action of another.
Self-incrimination, privilege against: - The constitutional right of people to refuse to give testimony against themselves that could subject them to criminal prosecution. The right is guaranteed in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution . Asserting the right is often referred to as "taking the Fifth."
Sentence - The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
Sequester - To separate. Sometimes juries are separated from outside influences during their deliberations. For example, this may occur during a highly publicized trial.
Sexually violent person- In Wisconsin under Chapter 980, a person who has a mental condition that predisposes him to commit crimes of sexual violence (sexual assault et al.) and who is more likely than not to commit a crime of sexual violence unless he is committed to a secure mental hospital for treatment.
Standing - The legal right to bring a lawsuit. Only a person with something at stake has standing to bring a lawsuit.
Stare decisis - The doctrine that, when a court has once laid down a principle of law applicable to a certain set of facts, it will adhere to that principle and apply it to future cases where the facts are substantially the same. This is a defining characteristic of the common law system followed in the U.S., Great Britain, and a few other nations.
Status offenders - Youths charged with the status of being beyond the control of their legal guardian or are habitually disobedient, truant from school, or having committed other acts that would not be a crime if committed by an adult, i.e., smoking. Also referred to as minors or children in need of supervision.
Statute - Legislative enactment; it may be a single act of a legislature or a body of acts which are collected and arranged for a session of a legislature.
Statute of limitations - A statute which limits the right of a plaintiff to file an action unless it is done within a specified time period after the occurrence which gives rise to the right to sue.
Stay - A court order halting a judicial proceeding.
Stipulation - An agreement between the parties involved in a suit regulating matters incidental to trial.
Strike - Highlighting in the record of a case, evidence that has been improperly offered and will not be relied upon.
Subpoena - A command to appear at a certain time and place to give testimony upon a certain matter.
Subpoena Duces Tecum - A court order commanding a witness to bring certain documents or records to court.
Substantive criminal law - Law with the purpose of prevention of harm to society which prescribed punishment for specific offenses. The basic law of rights and duties as opposed to "remedial law" which provides methods of enforcement.
Substantive law - The statutory or written law that governs rights and obligations of those who are subject to it.
Summons - Instrument used to commence a civil action or special proceeding; the means of acquiring jurisdiction over a party.
Suppress - To forbid the use of evidence at a trial because t is improper or was improperly obtained.
Suspension - A temporary loss of the right to practice law by an attorney.
Sustain - A court ruling upholding an objection or a motion.
Temporary restraining order - An emergency remedy of brief duration issued by a court only in exceptional circumstances, usually when immediate or irreparable damages or loss might result before the opposition could take action.
Testimony - The evidence given by a witness under oath. It does not include evidence from documents and other physical evidence.
Transcript - A written, word-for-word record of what was said. Usually refers to a record of a trial, hearing, or other proceeding which has been transcribed from a recording or from shorthand.
Treatise - A formal and systematic book or writing containing a narrative statement on a field of law.
Trial - A judicial examination of issues between parties to an action.
Trial brief - A written document prepared for and used by an attorney at trial. It contains the issues to be tried, synopsis of evidence to be presented and case and statutory authority to substantiate the attorney's position at trial.
Under the influence of alcohol- In Wisconsin one is not permitted to drive a motor vehicle on a public roadway while the person is under the influence of alcohol; however, not every person who has consumed alcohol is under the influence as that term is used in the law. What must be shown is that the person consumed a sufficient amount of alcohol to impair that person's ability to drive safely. Persons who blood alcohol is greater than .08 grams per 210 liters of breath are presumed by statute to be under the influence of alcohol.
United States Court of Appeals - Courts which hear appeals from federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, and tax courts.
United States District Courts - Courts which try both criminal and civil actions and admiralty cases.
Vacate - To set aside.
Venire - A writ summoning persons to court to act as jurors.
Venue - Authority of a court to hear a matter based on geographical location.
Verdict - A conclusion, as to fact or law, that forms the basis for the court's judgment.
Veterans' Administration - The federal agency which administers a system of benefits for veterans and their dependents.
Voir dire - The preliminary examination made in court of a witness or juror to determine his competency or interest in a matter. Literally, to speak the truth.
Waiver - Intentionally given-up right.
Waiver of immunity - A means authorized by statute by which a witness, before testifying or producing evidence, may relinquish the right to refuse to testify against himself or herself, thereby making it possible for his or her testimony to be used against him or her in future proceedings.
Warrant - Most commonly, a court order authorizing law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An application seeking a warrant must be accompanied by an affidavit which establishes probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.
With prejudice - A declaration which dismisses all rights. A judgment barring the right to bring or maintain an action on the same claim or cause.
Without prejudice - A declaration that no rights or privileges of the party concerned are waived or lost. In a dismissal these words maintain the right to bring a subsequent suit on the same claim.
Witness - One who personally sees or perceives a thing; one who testifies as to what he has seen, heard, or otherwise observed.
Words and Phrases Legally Defined - A set of books in dictionary form which lists judicial determinations of a word or phrase.
Writ - A judicial order directing a person to do something.
Writ of certiorari - An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
Writ of execution - An order of the court evidencing debt of one party to another and commanding the court officer to take property in satisfaction of the debt.
Writ of garnishment - An order of the court whereby property, money, or credits int he possession of another person may be seized and applied to pay a debtor's debt. It is used as an incident to or auxiliary of a judgment rendered in a principal action.
Milwaukee criminal defense attorney Jeffrey W. Jensen, of the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen, a Milwaukee law firm with offices located at 111 E. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 1925, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has represented persons throughout the State of Wisconsin. If you will face felony charges in either state court or in federal court you should call 414.671.9484. Attorney Jensen regularly appears in Milwaukee County (Milwaukee criminal defense lawyer), Waukesha County (Waukesha criminal defense lawyer, Brookfield criminal defense lawyer), Washington County (West Bend and Germantown criminal defense lawyer), Racine County (Racine criminal defense lawyer), Kenosha County (Kenosha criminal defense lawyer), Brown County (Green Bay criminal defense lawyer), Fond du Lac County (Fond du Lac criminal defense lawyer), and Winnebago County (Oshkosh criminal defense lawyer)
The material on this site is a product of the Law Offices of Jeffrey W. Jensen. Unless otherwise noted it may be used for any legal purpose with attribution.