Dictionary of Law
Founded: 204
capital punishment :: n. execution (death) for a capital offense. The U. ... or death. See also: capital offense
cruel and unusual punishment :: n. governmental penalties against convicted crimin ... opted. See also: capital punishment
capital offense :: n. any criminal charge which is punishable by the ... . See also: bail capital punishment
death row :: n. nickname for that portion of a prison in which ... o: capital punishment death penalty
death penalty :: n. the sentence of execution for murder and some o ... rder and some other capital crimes.
capital gains :: n. the difference between the sales price and the ... so: basis delayed exchange exchange
life without possibility of parole :: n. a sentence sometimes given for particularly vic ... or may someday reduce the sentence.
special circumstances :: n. in criminal cases, particularly homicides, acti ... urant. See also: capital punishment
Bill of Rights :: n. the first ten amendments to the federal Constit ... ved to the states or to the people.
sentence :: 1) n. the punishment given to a person convicted o ... ence restitution suspended sentence
wrongful death :: n. the death of a human being as the result of a w ... ual beneficiaries (family members).
gift in contemplation of death :: n. (called a gift causa mortis by lawyers showing ... ift tax unified estate and gift tax
contemplation of death :: n. the anticipation of death in a relatively short ... e also: unified estate and gift tax
penalty :: n. 1) in criminal law, a money fine or forfeiture ... contractor fails to complete a job.
kidnapping :: (also spelled kidnaping) n. the taking of a person ... but now applies to adults as well.
pardon :: 1) v. to use the executive power of a Governor or ... also: amnesty commutation reprieve
execute :: v. 1) to finish, complete or perform as required, ... ishment contract executed execution
reprieve :: n. a temporary delay in imposition of the death pe ... commutation of sentence or pardon.
capital expenditure :: n. payment by a business for basic assets such as ... y intended to improve productivity.
capital stock :: n. the original amount paid by investors into a co ... price. See also: corporation stock
capital assets :: n. equipment, property, and funds owned by a busin ... . See also: capital capital account
capital :: 1) n. from Latin for caput, meaning "head," the ba ... count capital assets stock in trade
transfer in contemplation of death :: n. giving property under the belief of the giver t ... lso: gift in contemplation of death
capitalization :: n. 1) the act of counting anticipated earnings and ... for conversion into capital assets.
capital investment :: capital expenditure ... capital expenditure
condemn :: v. 1) for a public agency to determine that a buil ... condemnation action eminent domain
trial :: n. the examination of facts and law presided over ... at a hearing held at a later time.
voir dire :: (vwahr [with a near-silent "r"] deer) n. from Fren ... t witness jury peremptory challenge
stay of execution :: n. a court-ordered delay in inflicting the death p ... g the death penalty. See also: stay
execution :: n. 1) the act of getting an officer of the court t ... so: death penalty writ of execution
crime of passion :: n. a defendant's excuse for committing a crime due ... dant. See also: manslaughter murder
vehicular manslaughter :: n. the crime of causing the death of a human being ... gence manslaughter reckless driving
youthful offenders :: n. under-age people accused of crimes who are proc ... alty. See also: juvenile delinquent
extradition :: n. the surrender by one state or country of a pers ... ty. See also: fugitive from justice
protest :: 1) v. to complain in some public way about any act ... dishonored (not paid by the bank).
simultaneous death act :: n. a statute in effect in most states which provid ... See also: descent and distribution
court-martial :: 1) n. a military court for trying offenses in viol ... the U.S. Court of Military Appeals.
capitalized value :: n. anticipated earnings which are discounted (give ... as favorably as expected or hoped.
basis :: n. the original cost of an asset to be used to det ... ssistance. See also: adjusted basis
exemplary damages :: n. often called punitive damages, these are damage ... See also: damages punitive damages
capital account :: n. the record which lists all basic assets of a bu ... or the alleged value of good will.
constitutional rights :: n. rights given or reserved to the people by the U ... e also: Bill of Rights constitution
inter vivos trust :: n. a trust created by a writing (declaration of tr ... nter vivos testamentary trust trust
inter vivos :: (in-tur veye-vohs) adj. Latin for "among the livin ... e will. See also: inter vivos trust
public domain :: n. 1) in copyright law, the right of anyone to use ... al governments. See also: copyright
rule against perpetuities :: n. the legal prohibition against tying up property ... . See also: restraint on alienation
insured :: n. 1) the person or entity who will be compensated ... s go to others. See also: insurance
joint custody :: n. in divorce actions, a decision by the court (of ... em. See also: child custody divorce
remainder :: n. in real property law, the interest in real prop ... ed reversion title vested remainder
insurance :: n. a contract (insurance policy) in which the insu ... t clause Workers' Compensation Acts
inheritance :: n. whatever one receives upon the death of a relat ... intestacy intestate succession will
tenancy by the entirety :: n. joint ownership of title by husband and wife, i ... ee also: community property tenancy
inquest :: n. 1) an investigation and/or a hearing held by th ... surrogate judge. See also: coroner
springing interest :: n. a future right to title to real property create ... lso: future interest interest title
joint tenancy :: n. a crucial relationship in the ownership of real ... ty property tenancy in common title
spontaneous exclamation :: n. a sudden statement caused by the speaker having ... et hit the girl." See also: hearsay
second degree murder :: n. a non-premeditated killing, resulting from an a ... t degree murder manslaughter murder
lapse :: 1) v. to fail to occur, particularly a gift made i ... eficiary devisee legatee trust will
murder :: n. the killing of a human being by a sane person, ... premeditation second degree murder
no fault insurance :: n: a type of automobile insurance required of car ... ling lawsuits. See also: negligence
occupational hazard :: n. a danger or risk inherent in certain employment ... e of death or injury while at work.
misadventure :: n. a death due to unintentional accident without a ... me. See also: homicide manslaughter
mental anguish :: n. mental suffering which includes fright, feeling ... See also: damages mental suffering
malice aforethought :: n. 1) the conscious intent to cause death or great ... : first degree murder malice murder
manslaughter :: n. the unlawful killing of another person without ... laughter. See also: homicide murder
marital deduction :: n. an estate tax deduction allowed a surviving spo ... community property estate tax trust
partnership :: n. a business enterprise entered into for profit w ... partnership partner silent partner
post mortem :: n. Latin for "after death," an examination of a de ... alled an autopsy. See also: coroner
protective custody :: n. the act of law enforcement officials in placing ... ical harm or death if they testify.
life estate :: n. the right to use or occupy real property for on ... hter, Sadie, will own the property.
tenancy in common :: n. title to property (usually real property, but i ... on. See also: joint tenancy tenancy
living trust :: n. sometimes called an inter vivos (Latin for "wit ... thrift clause trust trustee trustor
pretermitted heir :: n. the child of a person who has written a will in ... cified $10,000 each. See also: heir
pour over will :: n. a will of a person who has already executed a t ... invalid trust. See also: trust will
power of appointment :: n. the right to leave property by will, transfer, ... death of the person with the power.
proximate cause :: n. a happening which results in an event, particul ... also: intervening cause negligence
certificate of deposit (CD) :: n. a document issued by a bank in return for a dep ... D before the pledged time runs out.
moral turpitude :: n. gross violation of standards of moral conduct, ... r penalty for a criminal defendant.
motion for a summary judgment :: n. a written request for a judgment in the moving ... strict procedures. See also: motion
note :: n. a promissory note, a written statement of debt ... the note. See also: promissory note
perjurer :: n. a person who intentionally lies while under an ... alse information. See also: perjury
mitigating circumstances :: n. in criminal law, conditions or happenings which ... ity heat of passion Twinkie defense
lis pendens :: (lease pen-dense) n. Latin for "a suit pending," a ... ob can be penalized by court order.
interrogatories :: n. a set of written questions to a party to a laws ... ing. See also: deposition discovery
justifiable homicide :: n. a killing without evil or criminal intent, for ... me. See also: homicide self-defense
lesser-included offense :: n. in criminal law, a crime which is proved by the ... g jail time. See also: plea bargain
perjury :: n. the crime of intentionally lying after being du ... ly made a mistake or misunderstood.
plea bargain :: n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between th ... the ban. See also: cop a plea plea
successive sentences :: n. in criminal law, the imposition of the penalty ... uld be 15 years. See also: sentence
surcharge :: n. an additional charge of money made because it w ... for being late in making a payment.
suspended sentence :: n. in criminal law, a penalty applied by a judge t ... may be enforced. See also: sentence
verification :: n. the declaration under oath or upon penalty of p ... ed. See also: answer complaint oath
sanction :: n. 1) a financial penalty imposed by a judge on a ... ction." See also: contempt of court
robbery :: n. 1) the direct taking of property (including mon ... We've been robbed." See also: theft
privilege :: n. a special benefit, exemption from a duty, or im ... rson, a group or a class of people.
qui tam action :: : (kwee tam) n. from Latin for "who as well," a la ... technical violations and/or errors.
reckless driving :: n. operation of an automobile in a dangerous manne ... it. See also: reckless wet reckless
interest :: n. 1) any and all, partial or total right to prope ... nal property real property standing
inspection of documents :: n. the right to examine and copy the opposing part ... evidence subpena duces tecum trial
affidavit :: n. 1) any written document in which the signer swe ... an affidavit. See also: declaration
answer :: n. in law, a written pleading filed by a defendant ... emurrer general denial verification
inherit :: v. to receive all or a portion of the estate of an ... intestacy intestate succession will
commercial frustration :: n. an unforeseen uncontrollable event which occurs ... rustration of purpose impossibility
will :: n. a written document which leaves the estate of t ... will and testament probate testator
trustee :: n. a person or entity who holds the assets (corpus ... es. See also: settlor trust trustor
testator :: n. a person who has written a will which is in eff ... me of his/her death. See also: will
tort :: n. from French for "wrong," a civil wrong or wrong ... nce slander trespass wrongful death
trust :: n. an entity created to hold assets for the benefi ... testamentary trust trustee trustor
commutation :: n. the act of reducing a criminal sentence resulti ... See also: executive clemency pardon
declarant :: n. the person making a statement, usually written ... also: affiant affidavit declaration
full disclosure :: n. the need in business transactions to tell the " ... icant fact. See also: caveat emptor
grace period :: n. a time stated in a contract in which a late pay ... the contract, i.e. your insurance.
information and belief :: n. a phrase often used in legal pleadings (complai ... nswer complaint declaration perjury
forfeit :: v. to lose property or rights involuntarily as a p ... drunk driving. See also: forfeiture
ex post facto :: adj. Latin for "after the fact," which refers to l ... ted before the new law was adopted.
declaration :: n. 1) any statement made, particularly in writing. ... blic. See also: affidavit declarant
declaration of mailing :: n. a form stating that a particular document has b ... other party. See also: declaration
disbar :: v. to remove an attorney from the list of practici ... legal ethics. (See moral turpitude
tentative trust :: n. a bank account deposited in the name of the dep ... hdrawn at any time. See also: trust
estate tax :: n. generally a federal tax on the transfer of a de ... commonly called an inheritance tax.
general damages :: n. monetary recovery (money won) in a lawsuit for ... s exemplary damages special damages
habitual criminal :: n. under the statutes of many states, a person who ... r any further criminal convictions.
impeach :: v. 1) to discredit the testimony of a witness by p ... ve been found guilty by the Senate.
innocent :: adj. without guilt (not guilty). Usually the plea ... also: arraignment plea plea bargain
fugitive from justice :: n. a person convicted or accused of a crime who hi ... extradition. See also: extradition
fraud :: n. the intentional use of deceit, a trick or some ... audulent conveyance intrinsic fraud
cruelty :: n. the intentional and malicious infliction of phy ... ruel and unusual punishment divorce
damages :: n. the amount of money which a plaintiff (the pers ... liquidated damages special damages
extenuating circumstances :: n. surrounding factors (sometimes called mitigatio ... See also: mitigating circumstances
intoxication :: n. 1) the condition of being drunk as the result o ... r. See also: vehicular manslaughter
larceny :: n. the crime of taking the goods of another person ... : grand larceny petty larceny theft
petty larceny :: n. a term used in many states for theft of a small ... emeanor in charging and sentencing.
piracy :: n. the crime of robbery of ships or boats on the o ... here the accused has been captured.
punitive damages :: n. (synony- mous with exemplary damages), damages ... t acts. See also: exemplary damages
solitary confinement :: n. the placement of a prisoner in a federal or sta ... as "cruel and unusual punishment."
penal :: adj. referring to criminality, as in defining "pen ... ntiary confining convicted felons).
liable :: adj. responsible or obligated. Thus, a person or e ... al prosecution. See also: liability
law :: n. 1) any system of regulations to govern the cond ... um maritime law natural law statute
legal age :: n. the age at which a person is responsible for hi ... so: infancy juvenile court minority
liability :: n. one of the most significant words in the field ... bility joint tortfeasors negligence
criminal justice :: n. a generic term for the procedure by which crimi ... endered and punishment carried out.
civil liability :: n. potential responsibility for payment of damages ... ans open to punishment for a crime.
delayed exchange :: n. an exchange of property to put off capital gain ... method and survived an IRS lawsuit.
exchange :: 1) v. to trade or barter property, goods and/or se ... ins tax. See also: delayed exchange
expense :: n. in business accounting and business taxation, a ... ment. See also: capital expenditure
goodwill :: n. the benefit of a business having a good reputat ... an unknowing buyer. See also: sale
debenture :: n. a form of bond certificate issued by a corporat ... n shares of stock or general bonds.
dealer :: n. anyone who buys goods or property for the purpo ... ins taxes by buying other property.
bad debt :: n. an uncollectible debt. The problem is to determ ... ust no income on which to be taxed.
cooperative :: n. an association of individual businesses, farmer ... exes. See also: cooperative housing
corporation :: n. an organization formed with state governmental ... ation public corporation securities
indictment :: n. a charge of a felony (serious crime) voted by a ... ictable offense preliminary hearing
recapture :: n. in income tax, the requirement that upon sale o ... capital gains. See also: income tax
back-to-back life sentences :: n. slang for consecutive life terms imposed by a j ... ther 25 years for a parole hearing.
barratry :: n. creating legal business by stirring up disputes ... ent he/she has no legitimate claim.
caning :: n. a punishment for crimes employed in certain Asi ... last century in the United States.
accomplice :: n. someone who assists in the commission of a crim ... cipal criminal. See also: accessory
accessory :: n. a second-string player who helps in the commiss ... responsible. See also: aid and abet
tax :: n. a governmental assessment (charge) upon propert ... unified estate and gift tax use tax
trader :: in U.S. income tax law, a person who deals in prop ... ultation with a C.P.A. or attorney.
abuse of process :: n. the use of legal process by illegal, malicious, ... ly correct the error and apologize.
star chamber proceedings :: n. any judicial or quasi-judicial action, trial or ... ate 1960s. See also: kangaroo court
subpena duces tecum :: : (suh-pea-nah dooh-chess-take-uhm or dooh-kess-ta ... ng a court order. See also: witness
adjusted basis :: n. in accounting, the original cost of an asset ad ... s taxes. See also: basis income tax
executed :: 1) adj. to have been completed. (Example: "it is a ... a death sentence. See also: execute
executive clemency :: n. the power of a President in federal criminal ca ... ernor. See also: commutation pardon
expectancy :: n. a possibility of future enjoyment of something ... o: distribution remainder reversion
escheat :: n. from old French eschete, which meant "that whic ... the death of the last known owner.
double jeopardy :: n. placing someone on trial a second time for an o ... that occurred thirty years earlier.
devolve :: v. when property is automatically transferred from ... ory sovereign rights to run itself.
disinherit :: v. to intentionally take actions to guarantee that ... rorem clause pretermitted heir will
DNA :: n. scientifically, deoxyribonucleic acid, a chromo ... is strongly in favor of admission.
felon :: n. a person who has been convicted of a felony, wh ... or federal prison. See also: felony
felony :: n. 1) a crime sufficiently serious to be punishabl ... ion. See also: misdemeanor sentence
heir :: n. one who acquires property upon the death of ano ... y pretermitted heir succession will
heiress :: n. feminine heir, often used to denote a woman who ... in the "department store heiress."
in extremis :: (in ex-tree-miss) adj. from Latin, facing imminent ... from Latin, facing imminent death.
guardian :: n. a person who has been appointed by a judge to t ... torship. See also: conservator ward
future interest :: n. a right to receive either real property or pers ... maturity (age 18) or upon marriage.
felony murder doctrine :: n. a rule of criminal statutes that any death whic ... arged with murder. See also: murder
first degree murder :: n. although it varies from state to state, it is g ... aughter murder second degree murder
forensic medicine :: n. research, reports and testimony in court by exp ... dical examiners. See also: forensic
demise :: 1) v. an old-fashioned expression meaning to lease ... r life. 3) n. death. 4) n. failure.
deceased :: 1) adj. dead. 2) n. the person who has died, as us ... ore genteel word is the "decedent."
all the estate I own :: n. a phrase from a poorly drafted will which means ... he will was written. See also: will
arson :: n. the felony crime of intentionally burning a hou ... ath resulting from arson is murder.
benefit :: 1) n. any profit or acquired right or privilege, p ... fit Ken Murray." See also: contract
booby trap :: n. a device set up to be triggered to harm or kill ... protect one's property is a crime.
advancement :: n. a gift made by a person to one of his or her ch ... tate gift in contemplation of death
ademption :: n. the act of adeeming, which is revoking (getting ... gift before death. See also: adeem
theft :: n. the generic term for all crimes in which a pers ... rglary embezzlement larceny robbery
abortion :: n. the termination of pregnancy by various means, ... ed abortion continue in the future.
adeem :: v. to revoke a gift made in a will by destroying, ... e of my death." See also: ademption
chain of title :: n. the succession of title ownership to real prope ... title conveyance foreclosure title
charitable remainder trust (Charitable Remainder Irrevocable Unitrust) :: n. a form of trust in which the donor (trustor or ... ed up or committed. See also: trust
creditor's claim :: n. a claim required to be filed in writing, in a p ... e also: claim in bankruptcy probate
cruelty to animals :: n. the crime of inflicting physical pain, sufferin ... danger of death. See also: cruelty
deadly weapon :: n. any weapon which can kill. This includes not on ... See also: assault dangerous weapon
coroner :: n. a county official with the responsibility to de ... hology. See also: forensic medicine
controlled substance :: n. a drug which has been declared by federal or st ... those who have used the substances.
claim against an estate :: n. upon the death of a person and beginning of pro ... ade to the heirs. See also: probate
community property :: n. property and profits received by a husband and ... and distribution separate property
conditional bequest :: n. in a will, a gift which will take place only if ... rries." See also: bequest executory
indictable offense :: n. a crime (offense) for which a Grand Jury rules ... o commit them. See also: indictment