Who's Who in the Courtroom
Bailiff- a court oficer responsible for maintaining order in the courtroom.
Clerk- a court employee responsible for maintaining permanent records of all court proceedings and exhibits; and administering the oath to jurors and witnesses.
Court Reporter- a court employee who steno graphically, or by "voice writing" records court proceedings from which they prepare a transcript that becomes part of the record of the case.
Defendant- in a criminal case, the person accused of committing the crime; in a civil case, the person against whom an actions is brought.
Grand Jury- a body of citizens who listen to the evidence in criminal cases to determine if probably cause exists to return indictments against the person accused of committing crimes.
Judge- a government official with the authority to decide lawsuits brought before the court.
Jury- Persons selected according to the law and sworn inquiry to declare a verdict of the case.
Plaintiff- in a civil case, the person who brings a lawsuit.
Prosecutor- an elected or appointed official who brings criminal cases to court for the government.
Public Defender- an attorney provided by the government to represent criminal defendants who cannot afford to hire a private lawyer.
Victim- a person who suffers physical injury, mental suffering, or loss of perperty because of an actual or attempted criminal act by another person.
Witness- a person who testifies under oath in a civil or criminal case as to what he or she knowor has observed.
Accusation- a charge or complaint filed accusing a person of having committed a crime.
Acquittal- the judgment that a criminal defendant has not been proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Adjudication- the process by which a court arrives at a decision regarding a case.
Affidavit- a written statement of facts made under oath.
Alias- any name used for an official purpose that is different from a person's legal name.
Alibi- a statement or contention by an individual charged with a crime that hir or her participation in the crime was impossible.
Annulment-a legal action that says your marriage was never legally valid, for example, in cases of incest, bigamy, or being too young to consent.
Appeal-a process by which a higher court is requested by a party to review the decision of a lower court.
Arraignment- When a person that is accused of committing a crime is:
taken to court
told about the charges, and
asked to plead "guilty" or "not guilty"