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A person who knowingly and intentionally contributes to or aids in committing a
crime (before or after, but not necessarily during, the commission of the crime).
If the crime was a felony, the person could be charged with being an "accessory-after-the-fact".
A person who participates in the commission of a crime, other than the person actually
doing the principal criminal act. This person may be charged with actual crime committed
under a complicitor theory (gave aid or abetted or advised or encouragement to the
Criminal defendant being found "not guilty" of the crime. An acquittal is not a
declaration of the accused's "innocence"; it is a verdict that a Prosecutor failed
to prove the accused's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Postponing or rescheduling a case or court session until another date or time.
Generally, a final judicial determination of a case. In juvenile delinquency cases,
it is the equivalent of a 'conviction' in adult criminal cases, when the court formally
takes jurisdiction of the minor due to a plea or a trial verdict.
Written statement of fact that is verified by oath or affirmation before a notary
public or officer having authority to administer oaths. (Affidavits are not admissible
in criminal trials or hearings in lieu of testimony because the opposing party has
no opportunity to cross-examine the affiant.)
Without denying the charge, the defendant raises extenuating or mitigating circumstances
such as insanity, self-defense, or entrapment to avoid civil or criminal responsibility.
The defendant must present credible evidence of any affirmative defense he/she raises.
Court rules require a defendant to notify the opponent before the trial that an
affirmative defense will be raised. If an affirmative defense is raised the prosecution
must disprove such defense beyond a reasonable doubt.
Someone authorized to act for another person (known as the "principal"). Violation
of a principal-agent relationship is the core of an embezzlement.
APPEARANCE (entry of)
A document filed with the court, and provided to other parties, by an attorney advising
that the attorney is representing a specific individual.
Criminal defendant's appearance before a judge where a plea of guilty or not guilty
is entered. Witnesses do not testify at this hearing.
To take into custody by legal authority.
An order issued by a judge or magistrate to a peace officer requiring the arrest
of a named person.
Bond money paid to a court by or on behalf of a criminal defendant as security that,
when released from jail, the defendant will appear at all future hearings. The court
can also set conditions of release (i.e., no contact with the victim, no alcohol
consumption, etc.) If another person posts the bail money, then that third party
vouches that the defendant will appear at future court dates. Bail can be forfeited
if the defendant fails to appear.
A court employee who assists the judge in maintaining order in the courthouse, and
who is responsible for the custody of a jury.
Trial held before a judge and without a jury. The judge determines the facts and
decides the case.
A court order commanding the defendant's (or a missing witness') arrest and appearance
in court after failing to appear for a hearing. A bench warrant could also be issued
against a defendant for violating a court order, such as conditions of release or
Finding at a felony preliminary hearing that probable cause exists to require a
trial at the District Court level on the charges made against the defendant.
BOND / BAIL BOND
In criminal cases, 'bond' means the same thing as ‘bail’': a financial
obligation signed by the accused or a surety intended to guarantee the defendant's
future appearances in court. The amount of the bond is set by a judge or magistrate.
The bond can include conditions of release (i.e., no contact with the victim, no
alcohol consumption, etc.) Factors influencing the amount of bond set include the
seriousness of the charge, the defendant's criminal history, and the defendant's
ties to the community.
There are four types of bonds:
- Personal recognizance bonds (A.k.a. "PR” bonds or "signature
bonds” do not require the defendant or a third party to pay money to the court,
unless the defendant later fails to appear.)
- Cash bonds require the full amount of the bond to be paid in cash
before the defendant can be released. If the defendant appears at all future court
dates, most of the monies are returned to the person posting the bond.
- Property bonds area a pledge of real property to secure a release.
- Surety bonds are posted by a professional bondsman after being
paid a non-refundable percentage of the full amount by the defendant. Cash bonds
require the full amount of the bond to be paid in cash before the defendant can
be released. If the defendant appears at all future court dates, most of the monies
are returned to the person posting the bond.
Written arguments submitted by the lawyers for each side in a case explaining facts
and/or law supporting their respective positions (why the court should decide the
case or a particular part of a case in favor of that lawyer's client).
BURDEN OF PROOF
Duty to establish through evidence a requisite degree of belief concerning a fact
in the mind of a trier of fact. The duty to establish facts in an adversary proceeding.
Different burdens of proof exist in the law:
- Prima facie - evidence which is good and sufficient "on its
face" to establish a given fact when not rebutted or contradicted.
- Probable cause - A reasonable belief that a person has committed
a crime. Level of information needed for arrest is whether facts and circumstances
within the officer's knowledge are sufficient to warrant a prudent person to believe
a suspect has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime.
- Preponderance of the evidence - the burden of proof in civil cases
and in some motions hearings in criminal cases. Evidence which, as a whole, shows
that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. Evidence, which is
more credible and convincing to the mind. It is generally visualized as that side
of the dispute toward which the scales tip when the credible evidence is weighed
by the trier of fact. Something more than 50% of the credible evidence.
- Clear and convincing - the burden of proof in selected proceedings,
such as termination of parental rights. A measure of proof, which produces a firm
belief or a high probability as to the allegations. It is difficult to quantify,
but is more than a "preponderance" and less than "beyond a reasonable doubt".
- Beyond a reasonable doubt - the burden of proof in criminal
cases. The degree of belief a criminal juror (or the judge in a bench trial) must
have regarding all factual elements of a charged crime.
An action that is brought to enforce, redress, or protect an individual’s
or entity’s private rights. The outcome is generally an amount of money awarded
to the prevailing party.
Document in which crimes are charged in District Court, as well as the initial charging
document for felonies. Also, referred to as the "information”.
Upon conviction for multiple crimes, a criminal sentence served at the same time
as another criminal sentence, rather than one after the other. The person is released
at the expiration of the longest term specified.
Upon conviction for multiple crimes, criminal sentences that must be served one
after the other, rather than at the same time.
A delay of court proceedings that is granted by the court upon showing of good cause.
Goods barred by law (e.g., specific weapons, or drugs prohibited by law, etc.).
The result when a judge or jury's decision (or verdict) is that the accused person
is guilty of the crime and sentenced.
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Judges sometimes use "court"
to refer to themselves in the third person, as in "the court has read the briefs."
Courts and judges are part of the Judicial Branch of government.
Legal counsel assigned by the court to represent an indigent criminal defendant.
A court-appointed attorney is not necessarily a "free" attorney; the court can order
that some or all of the attorney's bill be reimbursed. If jail time will not be
imposed on a misdemeanor or petty offense, the judge need not appoint an attorney.
a case brought by the government (municipal, county, state, or federal) against
an individual or corporation accused of committing an act that is considered harmful
to the general public and is forbidden by law.
Questioning of a witness by a party other than the one who called that witness to
the witness stand.
Person who has been formally charged with committing a crime.
The time after the trial when the jury meets in private to decide the outcome of
Crime committed by a minor under the age of 18. Juvenile delinquency offenses are
prosecuted in the District Court or in Juvenile Court in Denver.
A lawyer elected or appointed to a specified judicial district to serve as a prosecutor
for the state in criminal cases.
DOCKET / CASE DOCKET
A written list of all cases to be tried by a court.
Number assigned by the court's clerk to identify each case.
Being placed more than once in danger of being convicted and sentenced for the same
offense. Being tried twice for the same offense. Jeopardy 'attaches' (begins) in
a jury trial when the selected jury is sworn, and attaches in a bench trial when
the first witness is sworn. If a judge declares a mistrial has occurred a criminal
case may be re-tried without violating double jeopardy.
A witness with special expertise in an area who is brought in by one side in a trial
to explain something technical, such as medical treatment or ballistics.
A crime punishable by death or by imprisonment in a state penal institution. Felonies
trials are heard in District Court.
GUARDIAN AD LITEM
Person appointed by the court to protect the legal interests of an infant or an
incompetent adult, or a missing person who is involved in a court case. The court
will appoint a guardian ad litem in cases of juvenile abuse or neglect. The "GAL"
may be an attorney.
Legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case before it, which depends on
the type of case and how closely connected the parties are to the county where the
court is located.
- The geographic area over which the authority to interpret and apply the law extends
(e.g., the court's authority to decide cases, the prosecutor's authority to issue
criminal charges, etc.)
- In delinquency and abuse/neglect cases, the court's authority to enter orders affecting
a youth and his/her parents or household.
Persons selected according to law and sworn to inquire into and declare a verdict
on matters of fact.
Youth under the age of 18.
A less serious criminal offense punishable by a sentence to the county jail.
The presentation by each side at the beginning of the trial, when the attorneys
explain what the issues are and what they intend to prove during the trial.
Refers to a loss measured directly in terms of money. Criminal restitution does not allow for pain and suffering as a payable loss.
A negotiated agreement between the prosecutor and the defense counsel for the defendant
to plead guilty or no-contest under certain terms and conditions. The agreement
could include the defendant pleading to all pending charges with a sentence agreement,
or pleading to less than all of his pending charges, or pleading to a less serious
charge, or pleading guilty to one or more pending charges in exchange for dismissal
of other unrelated charges. All plea agreements must be approved by the judge. Plea
agreements are a means of arriving at a reasonable disposition without the necessity
of a trial.
A hearing held in class felony cases to determine whether or not there is probable
cause to proceed with the case. The prosecution must present testimonial evidence
to show probable cause that a crime was committed and that the defendant committed
Meeting between the prosecutor, the defendant or his attorney and the court to resolve
issues prior to trial so that the parties and the court will be better prepared
for trial. The parties may discuss a possible resolution of a case without going
to trial. (Plea Bargain)
The District Attorney and deputy district attorney’s prosecute criminal cases
for the People of the State of Colorado.
A lawyer employed by the government to represent an accused person who cannot afford
to hire a lawyer.
To send back to custody. To send an accused back into custody by court order (as
pending trial). To turn a prisoner over for continued detention.
To send back a case to a lower court with instructions about further proceedings.
Also, to return (a case or matter) from one court to another especially to a lower
court or from a court to an administrative agency.
After conviction, a defendant can be ordered to pay the victim for financial losses.
The judge’s decision after a ple or verdict of guilty as to what a defendant’s
penalty will be, such as jail time, probation, or community service.
A written legal order directing a person to appear in court.
Evidence presented orally and under oath by witnesses during trials or other court
The presentation of all the evidence against a defendant to a judge and/or jury
in order to make a determination of guilty or not guilty. Evidence may also be presented
by the defendant although not required.
Geographic location (e.g., city or county) where the crime occurred.
The decision of the jury after a trial, such as whether a defendant is guilty or
not guilty in a criminal case or whether there is liability and damages in a civil
Person or entity who suffers direct or threatened physical, financial, or emotional
harm as a result of the commission of a crime.
The questioning of prospective jurors by the attorneys in a case. Attorneys can,
within limits, use this questioning to accept or excuse individual jurors until
the full jury panel is chosen.