Definition of Terms

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Appellate Court:
A court which reviews trial court cases on questions of law.
Challenge:
To ask that a member of the jury panel be excused.
Challenge For Cause:
To ask that a member of the jury panel be excused, because there appears to be a reason why he or she might not be impartial as a juror.
Civil Action:
A civil court proceeding filed by one party against another.
Complaint:
A written charge against a person in a criminal action. A written statement of the plaintiff’s claim in a civil action.
Cross Examination:
The questioning of a witness by the side that did not call the witness.
Deliberations:
The discussion by the jury through which the verdict in a case is reached. This discussion is private; only members of the jury are allowed to participate or to be present.
Grand Jury:
A jury that reviews evidence submitted by the prosecutor and determines whether a person should be charged with a crime. Impaneled: A jury which has been chosen and sworn in a particular case.
Indictment:
The formal charge by a grand jury against an individual or organization.
Information:
The formal charge filed by a prosecuting attorney when a defendant has waived the right to have the defendant’s case submitted to the grand jury.
Peremptory Challenge:
A lawyer’s request that a juror be excused from a case without giving a reason why the juror should be excused. This type of challenge results in automatic removal. The number of challenges depends on the type of case.
Submitted:
When a case is given to the jury for deliberation.
Trial Court:
A court which is established to resolve disputes between parties by analysis of the evidence presented.
Voir Dire:
The French word “Voir” means to inspect; “dire” means to talk or speak. It is an examination of jurors to determine whether there are any reasons why they should not be sworn.

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