speedy trial

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryIn criminal prosecutions, the right of a defendant to have a trial within a short time, premised on the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of due process. Each state has a statute or constitutional provision...

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...

spontaneous exclamation

See excited utterance.

Spousal communications privilege

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, confidential communications between two married spouses are privileged. This privilege may be waived by the consent of both spouses.

Spousal immunity

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, in a criminal case the prosecution cannot compel the defendant's spouse to testify against him. This privilege only applies if the defendant and the spouse witness are currently married at the time of the...



Standing, or locus standi, is capacity of a party to bring suit in court.

Standing in State Court

A state's statutes will determine what constitutes standing in that particular state's courts. These typically revolve around the...

Stare decisis

Stare decisis is Latin for “to stand by things decided.” In short, it is the doctrine of precedent.

Courts cite to stare decisis when an issue has been previously brought to the court and a ruling already issued. According to the Supreme Court,...

state court

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryA court in the state judicial system, rather than the federal judicial system, that decides cases involving state law or the state constitution. State courts are often divided according to the dollar...

State supreme court

A general term referring to the highest court in a state court system. The term may be used informally even if the official name of the court contains different words.

state's attorney

Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionarySee: district attorney (DA)

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