courts and procedure

Avowal

Overview

An avowal is a declaration made by an attorney during the trial process. This is an open declaration by an attorney representing a party in a lawsuit, made after the jury has been removed from the courtroom, that requests the admission of...

Award

Definition

A final judgment or decision. The centerpiece of an award is usually a declaration that one party owes another a certain amount of money. Although the term often refers to the decisions of arbitrators and juries, it can also refer to the...

Background fact

Facts that help an observer understand the origins of a specific legal issue or dispute, without actually being necessary to answer any question of law. When presented in court, background facts help judges and juries evaluate the motivations of the...

badgering the witness

When a lawyer is unnecessarily hostile to, combatative with or harrassing a witness. For example "Do you really expect the jury to believe that?" or "WHERE WERE YOU ON THE NIGHT OF FOURTH? WHERE? HUH? ROBBING A BANK?"

Badgering a...

Bail

Cash or a bond given to the court by a prisoner to secure conditional release from custody. The prisoner promises to return for judicial proceedings at a later time. A failure to return triggers the bond obligation and allows the court to keep any...

Bail bond

An obligation to pay the court if a criminal defendant fails to meet the terms of conditional release from custody. Many bail bonds are signed by the defendant and the defendant's sureties (e.g., a bondsman). Some bail bonds are signed by the...

bail bondsman

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA professional agent for an insurance company who specializes in providing bail bonds for people charged with crimes and who do not have the money necessary to post the entire bail with the court. Bail...

bailiff

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary1) A court official, usually a peace officer or deputy sheriff, who keeps order in the courtroom and handles errands for the judge and clerk. 2) In some jurisdictions, a person appointed by the court to...

Baker v. Carr (1962)

A Supreme Court case that held that federal courts could hear cases that claimed that malapportionment of state legislatures violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution. By holding that such cases were justiciable, the Supreme Court paved...

Balancing test

Definition

A subjective test with which a court weighs competing interests, e.g. between an inmate's liberty interest and the government's interest in public safety, to decide which interest prevails.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Wilkinson v....

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