Florida Law TV

Legal Glossary

The legal glossary is a comprehensive index of legal terms aimed at educating and helping consumers better understand some of the legal terminology and jargon that is often used in describing legal matters.

Judgment that a criminal defendant has not been proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it. Affidavits must be notarized or administered by an officer of the court with such authority.

Judgment by appellate courts where the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as decided in the lower court.

A defendant’s plea that allows him to assert his innocence but allows the court to sentence the defendant without conducting a trial. Essentially, the defendant is admitting that the evidence is sufficient to show guilt. Such a plea is often made for purposes of negotiating a deal with the prosecutor for lesser charges or a sentence.

Something that someone says happened.

The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.

A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." Both the plaintiff and the defendant can appeal, and the party doing so is called the appellant. Appeals can be made for a variety of reasons including improper procedure and asking the court to change its interpretation of the law.

About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the judgment of another lower court or tribunal.

A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

A written order directing the arrest of a party. Arrest warrants are issued by a judge after a showing of probable cause.