courts and procedure

Shotgun charge

Definition

An instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict. Also called Allen charge, dynamite charge, nitroglycerine charge, and third-degree instruction.

Illustrative caselaw...

show cause order

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySee: order to show cause

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.

small claims court

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA state court that resolves disputes involving relatively small amounts of money -- usually between $2,000 and $10,000, depending on the state. Adversaries usually appear without lawyers -- in fact, some...

speaking demurrer

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryAn attempt to introduce new evidence during a hearing on a demurrer. Because a demurrer is an argument that assumes all of the facts in the challenged pleading are correct, evidence outside of the...

special administrator

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary1) A person appointed by acourt to take charge of only a designated portion of an estate during probate. For example, a special administrator with particular expertise on art might be appointed to oversee...

special appearance

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary1) The personal attendance in court of a party or attorney for the sole purpose of arguing that the court does not have personal jurisdiction over that party. If the party or attorney instead makes a "...

Special master

A "special master" is appointed by a court to carry out some sort of action on its behalf. Theoretically, a "special master" is distinguished from a "master". A master's function is essentially investigative, compiling evidence or documents to inform...

Special verdict

A verdict in which the jury gives its findings on factual issues in the case, without necessarily stating which party should win. The judge decides what questions the jury should answer, and the judge can draw legal implications from the jury's...

specific finding

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA decision on a fact made by a jury in its verdict at the judge's request. Often the judge gives a jury a list of decisions to be made on specific findings of fact to help the jurors focus on the issues....

Speedy Trial Act (1974)

Codified at 18 U.S.C.A. § 3161 et seq., this act requires, among other things, a criminal defendant to be brought to trial within seventy days of either his or her indictment or first appearance in court. Certain delays are, also, automatically...

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