Legal Lexicon by Emily Jane Goodman, Nov 01, 2006 TwitterThis month’s column is devoted to a glossary of frequently used legal terms: Abatement: Eliminate, reduce, e.g. abate a nuisance; abatement of rent. Adjourn: Postpone. Abscond: To leave unlawfully with the intent of not returning. ACD: Adjourned in Contemplation of Dismissal. Possible disposition of violations or misdemeanors. Affidavit: A statement signed and sworn to in the presence of a Notary Public. Affidavit of Service: A sworn statement that documents were served (delivered). Affirm: Appellate court decision agreeing with lower court. Also, an alternative to swearing to tell the truth, e.g. Do you swear or affirm? Allocution: Questions and answers at end of court proceedings to establish certain facts, e.g. litigant understands when he/she is giving up a right. Appeal: Seeking to have a higher court modify or overturn a court decision. Arbitration: A forum for dispute resolution. A private justice system which is binding on the parties. Popular in credit card agreements, and employment contracts. ATI: Alternative to Incarceration. Sentence in lieu of imprisonment, e.g. drug program. Bail: Sum of money (or property) posted to insure a criminal defendant’s return to court. Calendar: A court’s list of cases. Also, docket. Civil: Law surrounding private issues; not criminal. Contempt: Violation of a court order. Contingent Fee: A fee charged for a lawyer’s service only if the lawsuit is successful. Condominium, Condo: A building or complex containing a number of individually owned units. Cooperative, Co-Op: Property run by its members who own shares in a corporation, but not the real estate itself. Contract: An agreement between two or more competent parties creating promises and exchanges. Damages: Money as compensation for injury or loss. Deed: Written instrument of ownership, usually of real estate. Default: An adversary’s failure to appear or participate in proceedings. Deposition: Out of court sworn testimony. Also, known as EBT’s. EBT’s: Examination before trial. See Deposition. Equitable Distribution: Division of marital property. Ex parte: One party, e.g. plaintiff confers with judge in absence of defendant. Felony: Serious crime. Franchise: The right to vote. Disenfranchise: Take away the right to vote. Holdover: Remaining in possession of real estate after landlord has deemed the lease terminated by some act or conduct of the tenant. Indictment: Grand Jury’s finding that a crime has been committed and that the accused is probable perpetrator. Inquest: Mini trial conducted by plaintiff after defendant has defaulted. Jail: Sentence of short term local incarceration (under one year) or in a local holding facility awaiting trial. Judgment: Legal proceedings end with entry of judgment. Jurisdiction: A defined place. Also, power over. Mediation: Non-binding effort by a neutral person to resolve dispute. Negligence: Breach of a duty of care which results in damage. Doing something or failing to do something which a reasonable person would do, and which causes injury. Misdemeanor: Low level crime. Notary Public: A person authorized to administer oath and witness signing of affidavit and legal documents. In the United States, a Notary cannot give legal advice. Order to Show Cause: An order directing a party to appear in court and show why the court should not order certain action. Parole: Supervised release from prison after serving most of a felony sentence. Also, released by judge without bail. Plea: A formal statement by or on behalf of a defendant, stating “guilty” or “not guilty.” Prison: State facility for incarcerating convicted felons. Pro Se: Self-representation. Probation: Supervision as an alternative to incarceration. Remand: Incarcerate without bail. Also, returning a case to original court. Rent Control: Regulations regarding rent and building services enacted in 1947 due to housing emergency. Rent Stabilization: Regulations enacted in late 1960's in response to housing emergency. Retainer: Written agreement to hire a lawyer. Also, the fee paid to hire a lawyer. Reverse: Court or jury decision changed by appeals court. ROR: Release on Own Recognizance. A criminal defendant released without bail or paroled. Service: Delivery of legal documents in prescribed manner. Settle: Agreeing on terms to end a case without trial. Statute: Law enacted by legislature. Statute of Limitations: The time at which the right to prosecute a civil or criminal action expires. Stay: Order stopping action for a finite time. Stipulation: An agreement between opposing parties. Subpoena: An order to appear before the court and/or provide documents. Summons: Notice that a lawsuit has been convened and an answer must be served. Also, notice to appear for jury duty. TRO: Temporary Restraining Order. An order stopping (or demanding) an imminent action, e.g. an eviction. Tort: A civil wrong in which damages are claimed. Traverse: A hearing to contest or establish proper service of legal documents. Violation: Unlawful act which can result in arrest and incarceration but is not considered a crime, e.g. disorderly conduct. Waiver: Giving up a right, a legal position or argument. Warrant: A written order directing or authorizing an act, e.g. arrest, search.. Youthful Offender, Y& O: Status of some criminal defendants under 19. Emily Jane Goodman is a New York State Supreme Court JusticeÂ Tweet Editor's Choice Everything Dot NYC Council 2.0: Rules Reform Outlines Next Steps in Open Data Overdue & Over Budget, Capital Projects Roll On Comments Comment(s) The comments section is provided as a free service to our readers. Gotham Gazette's editors reserve the right to delete any comments. 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