contempt of court- The reckless or intentional disruption of a judicial proceeding such that the court concludes the conduct of that person in court is unlawful. Examples include being disrespectful to the judge or not following the court's instructions. The court's power to punish for contempt includes fines and jail.
exemplary damages- If the plaintiff in a lawsuit proves that the defendant acted "maliciously" or with fraud, the court might allow an award of "punitive" damages to punish the defendant and to set an example to other people who might be thinking of doing something similar. This is over and above compensation for the actual damages suffered by the defendant. Same as "punitive damages".
restraining order- A court order preventing parties from engaging in certain conduct, such as harassing each other or disposing of marital assets.
conviction- The act of finding the defendant guilty of a crime after a trial.
in limine- A pretrial motion usually made for the purpose of suppressing or limiting certain testimony or physical evidence from the trial.
motion- A formal request that a judge consider and rule on a lawyer's argument involving issues of law and fact. Many motions in criminal law are speaking motions without written points and authorities. Motions such as request for dismissal or request for a new trial are rarely granted.
motion for a new trial- A motion made after trial requesting that the court grant a new trial on the basis of some error of law or prejudice during the trial which could not be corrected by a jury instruction.
motion for dismissal- A defendant's motion requesting the judge to rule that the prosecution failed to reach their burden of proof. Alternatively stated, the prosecutor's evidence fails to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
motion for summary judgment- After a lawsuit is filed, but before trial, under the law either party may file a motion claiming that there is no need for a trial because the undisputed evidence clearly shows that the party making the motion must win. If the judge agrees, the judge will enter judgment for the moving party, and there will be no trial. To defeat the motion, the opposing party must submit papers showing that there is credible evidence on the other side, so a trial is needed to determine who is telling the truth.
motion to quash service of summons- After a lawsuit is filed, the plaintiff must have a proper "summons" properly served on the defendant, telling the defendant about the lawsuit and that the defendant must respond. If there is something legally wrong with the summons or the manner of service, the defendant may file a motion to "quash" service of the summons. If the judge agrees, the plaintiff will have to serve a new summons. The lawsuit cannot proceed until a proper summons is properly served.
motion to suppress- A common motion in criminal trials wherein counsel for the defendant claims that evidence brought against the defendant was illegally obtained and therefore cannot be used against him or her. A coerced confession in violation of Miranda is one such example.
quash- A judicial term used to set aside or conclude an otherwise lawful motion or subpoena thereby eliminating its legal effect and force.
service of process- Notification to a party that a lawsuit has been brought against him or her, normally by personally delivering a summons and a copy of the complaint.
sue - To bring a lawsuit against another person.
waiver- The voluntary and knowing waiver of a legal right such as a speedy trial, a preliminary hearing or even the statutory time required to consider argument on sentencing. A waiver is made sometimes for the purpose of expediency and sometimes for strategy. For example, a defense lawyer might think that waiving a preliminary hearing would be advantageous since it might preclude adding new charges to the indictment.
For more information on legal motions, court procedure, post conviction motions, and civil and criminal trial motions go to GotTrouble.com