Glossary
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


1983 lawsuits
Civil suits brought under Title 42, Section 1983 of the United States Code, against anyone denying others of their constitutional rights to life, liberty, or property without due process of law.

abused child
A child who has been physically, sexually, or mentally abused. Most states also consider a child abused who is forced into delinquent activity by a parent or guardian.

acquittal
The judgment of a court, based on a verdict of a jury or a judicial officer, that the defendant is not guilty of the offense(s) for which he or she has been tried.

actus reus
An act in violation of the law; a guilty act.

adjudication
The process by which a court arrives at a decision regarding a case; also, the resultant decision.

adjudicatory hearing
In juvenile justice usage, the fact-finding process wherein the juvenile court determines whether or not there is sufficient evidence to sustain the allegations in a petition.

ADMAX
Administrative maximum; the term used by the federal government to denote ultra—high-security prisons.

admission (corrections)
In correctional usage, the entry of an offender into the legal jurisdiction of a corrections agency and/or physical custody of a correctional facility.

adult
In criminal justice usage, a person who is within the original jurisdiction of a criminal, rather than a juvenile, court because his or her age at the time of an alleged criminal act was above a statutorily specified limit.

adversarial system
The two-sided structure under which American criminal trial courts operate and that pits the prosecution against the defense. In theory, justice is done when the most effective adversary is able to convince the judge or jury that their perspective on the case is the correct one.

aftercare
In juvenile justice usage, the status or program membership of a juvenile who has been committed to a treatment or confinement facility, conditionally released from the facility, and placed in a supervisory and/or treatment program.

aggravated assault
Unlawful intentional causing of serious bodily injury with or without a deadly weapon, or unlawful intentional attempting or threatening of serious bodily injury or death with a deadly or dangerous weapon.

aggravating circumstances
Circumstances relating to the commission of a crime which cause its gravity to be greater than that of the average instance of the given type of offense.

alias
Any name used for an official purpose that is different from a person’s legal name.

alter ego rule
A rule of law that, in some jurisdictions, holds that a person can only defend a third party under circumstances and only to the degree that the third party could act on their own behalf.

alternative sanctions.
See intermediate sanctions.

appeal
Generally, the request that a court with appellate jurisdiction review the judgment, decision, or order of a lower court and set it aside (reverse it) or modify it; also, the judicial proceedings or steps in judicial proceedings resulting from such a request.

appearance (court)
The act of coming into a court and submitting to the authority of that court.

appellant
The person who contests the correctness of a court order, judgment, or other decision and who seeks review and relief in a court having appellate jurisdiction, or the person in whose behalf this is done.

appellate court
A court of which the primary function is to review the judgments of other courts and of administrative agencies.

appellate jurisdiction
The lawful authority of a court to review a decision made by a lower court.

arraignment
I. Strictly, the hearing before a court having jurisdiction in a criminal case, in which the identity of the defendant is established, the defendant is informed of the charge(s) and of his or her rights, and the defendant is required to enter a plea. II. In some usages, any appearance in court prior to trial in criminal proceedings.

arrest
Taking an adult or juvenile into physical custody by authority of law, for the purpose of charging the person with a criminal offense or a delinquent act or status offense, terminating with the recording of a specific offense.

arrest (UCR)
In Uniform Crime Reports terminology, all separate instances where a person is taken into physical custody or notified or cited by a law enforcement officer or agency, except those relating to minor traffic violations.

arrest rate
The number of arrests reported for each unit of population.

arrest warrant
A document issued by a judicial officer which directs a law enforcement officer to arrest an identified person who has been accused of a specific offense.

arson
The intentional damaging or destruction or attempted damaging or destruction, by means of fire or explosion of the property of another without the consent of the owner, or of one’s own property or that of another with intent to defraud.

arson (UCR)
In Uniform Crime Reports terminology, the burning or attempted burning of property with or without intent to defraud.

assault
Unlawful intentional inflicting, or attempted or threatened inflicting, of injury upon the person of another.

assault on a law enforcement officer
A simple or aggravated assault, where the victim is a law enforcement officer engaged in the performance of his or her duties.

Ashurst-Sumners Act
1935 federal legislation which effectively ended the industrial prison era by restricting interstate commerce in prison-made goods.

atavism
A condition characterized by the existence of features thought to be common in earlier stages of human evolution.

attendant circumstances
The facts surrounding an event.

attorney
A person trained in the law, admitted to practice before the bar of a given jurisdiction, and authorized to advise, represent, and act for other persons in legal proceedings.

Auburn style
A form of imprisonment developed in New York state around 1820 that depended upon mass prisons, where prisoners were held in congregate fashion. This style of imprisonment was a primary competitor with the Pennsylvania style.


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