criminal law and procedure

Indeterminate Sentence

A prison sentence that consists of a range of years (such as "five to ten years"). The state parole board holds hearings that determine when, during that range, the convicted person will be eligible for parole. The principle behind indeterminate sentences is the hope that prison will rehabilitate some prisoners; those who show the most progress will be paroled closer to the minimum term than those who do not. Compare: determinate sentence

Incest

Sexual contact between close blood relatives, including brothers and sisters, parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, or aunts or uncles with nephews or nieces; 18 states also include copulation or cohabitation between first cousins in the definition of incest. Incest is a crime in all states, even if consensual by both parties.

In Pro Per

A term derived from the Latin "in propria persona," meaning "for one's self," used in some states to describe a person who handles his or her own case, without a lawyer. In other states, the term pro se is used. When a nonlawyer files his or her own legal papers, that party is expected to write "in pro per" under his or her name in the heading on the first page.

See: pro per

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