1. Counsel: Both your lawyer and any legal advice they give you fall under the definition of counsel. In the U.S., counselor is often used interchangeably with the word lawyer.
2. Affidavit: A written statement made under oath. From Latin phrase meaning “he has declared under oath.”
3. De facto: De facto is Latin for “in fact.” It’s used in court to describe practices that exist but aren’t officially recognized by laws.
4. Habeas Corpus not to be confused with “Hey Be Us Corpses”: Habeas corpus is yet another Latin term, meaning “you have the body.” A writ of habeas corpus is used to force law enforcement authorities to justify why they’re holding a person.
5. Grand jury: A grand jury is comprised of 16 to 23 citizens who listen to the arguments made by both the prosecution and defense, as well as observe any evidence, to determine if the individual on trial is guilty of a crime.
6. Standard of Proof: This is the degree of evidence necessary to charge a defendant in a given court case. There are three levels, depending on the specific type of case — preponderance of the evidence, clear and convincing, and beyond a reasonable doubt.
7. Pro Se: Pro se is a Latin term that means “for oneself.” It refers to your right to defend yourself in court.
8. Verdict: A verdict is the final decision reached by the jury in a given case. The verdict of a case determines the guilt or innocence of the defendant.
9. Warrant: A warrant is a document issued by the court that grants the police permission to arrest a person or search their property.
10. Writ: This is an order issued by the court to do or not do a particular act. For example, a writ of habeas corpus requires law enforcement officials to bring a prisoner into court and prove that they have the legal right to detain them.
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