American Legal Vocabulary

Have you watched enough "Law & Order" to guess these American legal terms?
To make it easier, we give you a first letter
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Last updated: December 14, 2017
First submittedDecember 13, 2017
Times taken12,067
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Definition
 
Term
Judge's mallet
G
Gavel
Crime that is more serious
than a misdemeanor
F
Felony
Party that opposes
the defendant in civil cases
P
Plaintiff
To find not guilty
A
Acquit
Person who leads the jury
F
Foreperson
Where the judge sits.
"Please approach the _____".
B
Bench
Crime of lying under oath
P
Perjury
Money paid to be released
from jail pending trial
B
Bail
To separate the jury from
outside influence
S
Sequester
Formal reading of charges
against the accused
A
Arraignment
Definition
 
Term
The list of cases scheduled to be
heard by the court
D
Docket
To go to a higher court to seek the overturn
of a lower court's decision
A
Appeal
A jury that can't reach a decision is ....
H
Hung
Court authorization for a search or arrest
W
Warrant
Lawyer who opposes the
defense attorney in criminal cases
P
Prosecutor
Fact-finding process that occurs before a trial
D
Discovery
Testimony not directly observed. For example,
"Susie told me she saw Bob do it".
H
Hearsay
Writ that requires someone to appear in court
S
Subpoena
Award paid to the wronged party in a lawsuit
D
Damages
An action which causes harm for which
someone can be sued in civil court
T
Tort
+7
Level 69
Dec 13, 2017
Interesting. I think, although I'm not legally trained, most of these are also used in British Courts.
+4
Level 20
Jan 14, 2018
For the most part also applicable in English courts. We don't use gavels or have discovery though. We have a list rather than a docket and the process for sequestering is different. Finally, plaintiffs are now claimants - although that's a fairly recent change.
+2
Level 76
Apr 13, 2018
"List" is also used in American courts. "call the list" Docket usually refers to all the entries made in a particular case, but is also used as "is your case on the docket today?"
+2
Level 74
Dec 17, 2018
We do have discovery, and we used to call it that; now we call it disclosure. It's a pity the English system has moved away from the older language still in use in the States, but that's how the language has gone generally.
+1
Level 69
May 28, 2020
Well, I wouldn't know terms for things used only in the British justice system, such as wig powder.
+1
Level 65
Apr 18, 2018
At least in Canada, too, we don't use the terms "felony" and "misdemeanor". Instead they're "indictable offenses" and "summary conviction offenses", which is less cool.
+2
Level 72
Dec 15, 2017
There once was a Law & Order UK, starring Jamie Bamber (Apollo from BSG… his British accent sure caused me MASSIVE amounts of cognitive dissonance!). So we need another quiz to see if we Yanks watched enough L&O UK (is it still on? Spoiler alert: they killed off Apollo) to learn about the British legal system! I'm sorry to report that I'd only just figured out the difference between a barrister and a solicitor before I became permanently distracted by OH MY GOD, THOSE WIGS! and really never learned much past that.
+1
Level 69
May 28, 2020
Another fun difference: I thought it was a joke in "Blazing Saddles" when Marty Feldman addressed the Attorney General (Harvey Korman) as "Your Worship", but that is actually how British people address a magistrate.
+3
Level 82
Dec 21, 2017
20/20! Perhaps I'm qualified to be appointed as a federal judge for the District of Columbia? ;)
+7
Level 76
Jan 5, 2018
You might even be overqualified, LOL.
+5
Level 64
Apr 13, 2018
Based on my many years watching Law & Order, I'm fairly certain I would pass the New York State Bar.

* Dun dun *

+2
Level 38
Apr 13, 2018
Absolve means to find not guilty too.
+1
Level 76
Apr 13, 2018
True, I thought of that as well, but it is not really used in the courtroom setting. Acquit is the better choice.
+8
Level 79
Apr 20, 2018
Who could ever forget, "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit?"
+3
Level 65
Apr 13, 2018
"Absolve" is not a legal term. The legal definition for a finding of not guilty is an "acquittal."
+3
Level 80
May 27, 2020
but Johnny Cochrane couldn't find a good rhyme for absolve... If the blood doesn't dissolve you must absolve? doesn't work.
+1
Level 60
Apr 13, 2018
I put sequest....is that not enough?!?
+3
Level 60
Apr 13, 2018
It's not, because the actual verb is "to sequester."
+2
Level 67
Apr 13, 2018
Too much time.
+1
Level 71
Apr 13, 2018
Spelled tort ‘taut’. Oops
+1
Level 59
Apr 13, 2018
Penultimate question - since this is U.S. centric, how about "dollars" as an acceptable answer?
+2
Level 36
Apr 13, 2018
You may be seeking "specific performance"--a person to perform contractual duties they are uniquely qualified to perform (acting or music, for ex), or the return or transfer of personal or real property. Money sometimes is inadequate.
+2
Level 80
Apr 14, 2018
"dollars" is not a legal term
+1
Level 57
Apr 14, 2018
haha there was no way I was spelling subpoena right first time round
+1
Level 84
Mar 25, 2020
Under the Federal Rules of Evidence and most state rules, the fourth-to-last term refers to any statement not made at the current trial or hearing that is offered as testimony to prove the truth of what is asserted in the statement, unless the statement was made by a witness and is inconsistent with the witness's testimony at trial, is consistent with the witness's testimony at trial and offered to rebut a claim that the witness is not telling the truth, or was made by a party to the case and intended as a truthful assertion. A statement that fits these criteria and does not fall within any of the listed exceptions is [the fourth-to-last term] even if it was directly observed and even if it is the witness's own statement. A better clue would be, "A statement not made during testimony at a current trial or hearing offered to prove the truth of what is stated."
+1
Level 76
May 27, 2020
Careful though, hearsay that fits an exception is still technically hearsay, its just allowed into the trial because of the exception. You also describe non-hearsay, such as a statement made by a party to the case and intended as a truthful assertion or adopted by that party as the truth, which you are correct that it would not fit the clue.
+1
Level 70
May 27, 2020
Is a deposition not a fact-finding process that occurs before a trial?
+2
Level 65
May 27, 2020
It is, but a deposition is part of discovery. As written, I think the clue is too broad to define "deposition." It would need to say something about an interview. If you ask a lawyer the term for the pretrial fact-finding process, they'll tell you it's discovery.
+1
Level 65
May 27, 2020
American judges don't actually use gavels. They may have at one point, but I've been in many courtrooms and I've never seen a judge who had one.
+2
Level 61
May 27, 2020
I don't have one. And prior to being on the bench I practiced in front of several dozen different judges. A few had them. Only saw them used a couple times out of thousands of hearings/trials. I don't wear a robe, either, unless it is something highly formal like a jury trial.
+1
Level 58
May 27, 2020
accept prosecution for prosecutor?
+1
Level 61
May 27, 2020
Bond should be accepted along with bail. It is frequently used interchangeably with bail (in current American jurisprudence) even when referring to money/cash bond/bail and not only when referring to security bond.
+1
Level 59
May 29, 2020
please accept fellony for felony, I know, I should learn to spell, but that isn't the discipline here right?
+1
Level 35
May 29, 2020
Please accept "prosecution" for "Lawyer who opposes the

defense attorney in criminal cases". As in the statement "The prosecution rests, your Honor."

+1
Level 65
Jun 1, 2020
I'll allow it.