acquittal: A decision by the trial jury or judge that a person is not guilty of an offense.
adjournment: A postponement of a criminal case.
ACD or Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal: defined in 170.55 and 170.56 of the CPL, it is effectively a pre-adjudication disposition where the defendant promises to stay out of trouble for a period of time - usually six months to one year and the court agrees that if the defendant is successful, the case will be dismissed.
affirmance: A decision by an appeals court that upholds the decision of a lower court.
alternate jurors: Extra jurors chosen in case one of the twelve (or six) jurors become unavailable to serve during the trial.
appeal: A request for review by a higher court of proceedings in a lower court.
appellate judges (Appeals Court): Judges that decide an appeal.
appellate argument: A court proceeding at which an appeal is orally argued before appellate judges.
application for a stay: A request to be released while an appeal is pending.
arraignment: A court proceeding at which a person is informed of the charges against him or her.
arrest: The act of being taken into custody by the police.
bail: Money ordered to be paid to the court in exchange for release from jail while a criminal case is pending.
bench warrant: A court order for a person's arrest that is issued when a person fails to appear in court on a scheduled date.
beyond a reasonable doubt: The burden of proof that the prosecutor must meet at trial in proving that a person is guilty of an offense.
brief: A written legal argument.
calendar part: A courtroom where a case is scheduled for further proceedings.
calendared: Setting a date for court action to occur in a case.
Central Booking: Police Department office where fingerprints and photographs are taken after an arrest.
challenge for cause: A motion to excuse a juror from serving on a jury because he or she could not be fair or for some other reason allowed by law.
charge: Accusation of an offense.
complaint: Verified written accusation by a person.
concurrent sentences: Sentences that are served at the same time.
conditional discharge: A sentence allowing for release from jail without supervision by the Department of Probation, but which requires compliance with conditions set by the court.
consecutive sentences: Sentences that must be served one after another.
conviction: A finding of guilt of an offense, following either a guilty plea or a trial verdict.
Court of Appeals: The highest court in New York State, located in Albany, New York.
Criminal Court: The court where criminal proceedings begin. Misdemeanor cases remain in this court.
cross-examination: Questioning of a witness by the lawyer who has not called the witness.
defendant: A person who has been charged with an offense.
defense: Evidence or arguments presented on behalf of a person accused of an offense.
deliberations: A secret meeting at which the jury considers the evidence presented at trial to decide if a person is guilty of charged offenses.
direct examination: Questioning of a witness by the lawyer who called that witness.
discovery: A process lawyers use to find out information about a case.
evidence: Testimony and exhibits introduced at a hearing or trial.
exhibits: Physical evidence introduced at a hearing or trial.
felony: An offense which is punishable by a sentence of imprisonment of more than one year, or a sentence of death for murder in the first degree.
felony complaint: The first document filed with the court that sets out the initial charges in a felony case.
fine: A sentence that requires the payment of money.
fingerprints: Reproductions of unique finger marks, which are used to identify people.
fingerprint report (rap sheet): A summary of a defendant's prior and/or currently pending arrests and convictions.
grand jury: A group of citizens who decide if the prosecutor has enough evidence to pursue felony charges against a person.
hearing: A court proceeding where testimony is given, exhibits are reviewed, and/or legal arguments are made, to help a judge decide an issue in a case.
homicide: An offense involving the killing of one person by another.
hung jury: A term used to describe a trial jury that cannot reach a unanimous verdict.
indictment: A document that contains the felony (and perhaps also misdemeanor) charges that were voted by the grand jury.
jurors (jury): A group of citizens who decide at trial if a defendant is guilty or not guilty of charges.
jury box: where jury is seated.
jury charge or jury instructions: Explanation of the law read by the judge to the jury.
jury panel: A large number of people from whom the jury is selected.
Juvenile Offender (J.O.): A person who is charged with certain kinds of felony offenses that were committed when the person was thirteen, fourteen, or fifteen years old.
The Legal Aid Society: A private non-profit organization that provides legal representation to people who do not have enough money to pay for a lawyer.
life imprisonment without the possibility of parole: Sentence of imprisonment without the possibility of release.
misdemeanor: An offense punishable by up to one year in jail.
misdemeanor complaint: A document filed with the court that sets out the initial charges in a misdemeanor case.
mistrial: A decision by a judge to end a trial before a verdict is reached.
motion: A request for a judicial order.
objection: A request to a judge for an order prohibiting or excluding certain evidence.
opening statement: Argument to the jury or judge made at the beginning of a trial.
no-bill: Is short hand for 'no True Bill of Indictment". Its effective meaning is that the Grand Jury has heard the case and voted to dismiss it.
order of protection: Is a court order prohibiting contact between a defendant and the crime victim or witness. Usually used in domestic violence cases pre-disposition and/or as part of a sentence in a domestic violence or sex case.
People's appeal: An appeal brought by the prosecutor.
peremptory challenge: A motion to excuse a juror from serving on a jury without any reason given.
plea bargain: An agreement between a defendant, a judge, and a prosecutor, in which the defendant admits guilt, usually in exchange for a promise that a particular sentence will be imposed.
plead guilty (guilty plea): Where a defendant admits to having committed a charged offense.
post bail: pay bail.
pre-sentence memoranda: Documents prepared by the prosecutor and the defendant to help the judge determine a sentence.
pre-sentence report: Report prepared by the Department of Probation containing information to help the judge determine a sentence.
preliminary hearing: A hearing upon a felony complaint.
probation: A sentence that does not involve prison, but requires compliance with certain conditions for a specified period of time under the supervision of the Department of Probation.
Probation, Department of: An agency that prepares a written report concerning a defendant's background and the circumstances surrounding the offense. The Department of Probation also supervises defendants sentenced to probation.
probation officer: An employee of the Department of Probation who prepares pre-sentence reports and supervises defendants placed on probation.
prosecutor: A lawyer who represents the government in criminal cases (also known as the assistant district attorney or A.D.A., the People, or the prosecution).
public defender: Is the embodiment of our 6th Amendment Right to Counsel. "If you cannot afford counsel, a lawyer will be appointed to represent you". So, in essence a Public defender is a free criminal defense lawyer furnished to uphold the indigent defendant's 6th Amendment Rights.
rap sheet (fingerprint report): A summary of a defendant's prior and/or currently pending arrests and convictions.
rebuttal: Evidence or argument made in response to an argument.
remand or remanded to custody: To be sent to jail.
remit: An order by an appeals court sending a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.
restitution: A sentence that requires the payment of money to a victim.
reversal: A decision by an appeals court that rejects the decision of a lower court.
R.O.R.'d (release on recognizance): To be released from jail without bail while a case is pending.
sentence: A punishment imposed by a judge following a conviction.
sentencing: A court proceeding at which a sentence is imposed.
sentencing proceeding: Trial before a jury to determine if a sentence of death or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole should be imposed.
split sentence: A jail sentence followed by a period of probation.
summation: Closing argument made at trial.
Superior Court Information (S.C.I.): A written accusation filed by the prosecutor containing felony and perhaps also misdemeanor charges.
suppression order: A court order that prohibits the admission of specific evidence at trial.
Supreme Court: The court where cases involving felonies are heard.
surcharge: A payment of money that is required upon conviction.
surrebuttal: The stage of the trial when a party may offer evidence in response to rebuttal evidence.
sworn oath: A promise to tell the truth.
temporary order of protection: A court order that forbids a person from contacting or being in the presence of a specific person for a specified period of time.
testify (testimony): To speak under oath.
transcripts: Official record of everything that is said in court.
trial: A court proceeding at which a judge or jury decides whether a person is guilty or not guilty of the charges against him or her.
unconditional discharge: A sentence which does not require either any imprisonment or conditions.
vacate: To cancel a court order. A vacated court order has no legal effect.
verdict: The trial judge or jury's decision as to whether a person is guilty or not guilty of charged offenses.
violation: An offense punishable by up to fifteen days in jail and/or a fine.
waive: To give up a legal right.
well: The section of the court containing the tables at which the defendant, prosecutor and lawyers sit.
Youthful Offender (Y.O.): A thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, or eighteen year old person whose conviction is replaced by a youthful offender adjudication by the court at the time of sentence..