Legal Terms

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Apache County Attorney’s Office
Michael B. Whiting, County Attorney
“one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Legal Terms

To find a defendant not guilty in a criminal trial.

Adjudged to be a Juvenile Offender
Court finding that the juvenile offender committed a criminal offense.

The process by which a case is brought from one court to a higher court for review.

A court event where defendants are notified of their rights and the charges against them. They plead guilty or not guilty, and the terms of the defendants pretrial release status are set or reviewed.

Bail or Bond
Defendants may be released from jail before trial if they post money, or property, or a professional surety bond or a recognizance bond as a guarantee they will appear for trial. A bond is a promise to pay money to the court if the defendant does not appear for court hearings.
Burden of Proof
The prosecution must prove the defendant committed all the essential elements of the crime to the jury’s or court’s satisfaction beyond any reasonable doubt, in order to convict the defendant.
Capital Punishment
Provides for a sentence of death in certain circumstances where an adult defendant is convicted of pre-meditated first degree murder. THE DEATH PENALTY does not apply to juvenile offenders.
Child in need of care proceedings.
Commissioner of Juvenile Justice oversees the operation of the juvenile class facilities.
Community Corrections
A community based intensive supervision program for non violent offenders.
A sworn statement charging a person with a criminal offense.
Concurrent Sentence
Upon conviction of multiple crimes, the defendant serves all sentences at the same time.
Conditional Release
A juvenile offender is released from the juvenile correctional facility under supervision of a social worker or court service officer.
Consecutive Sentence
Upon conviction of multiple crimes, the defendant must serve one sentence after another.
Contempt of Court
The willful failure to obey a court order, or disrespectful or unacceptable behavior in the presence of the court. Under Arizona law, all courts have the power to punish a person found guilty of contempt.
A postponement of a trial or hearing to a later date that can be granted only by the court.
To find a defendant guilty on a criminal charge.
Refers to the questions that the lawyer asks of the party or witnesses on the opposing side of the case.
A person formally accused of a crime.
Defense Attorney
An attorney who represents a defendant.
Detention Hearing
Court appearance where a decision is made to release or detain the juvenile offender.
Direct Examination
Refers to the questions that a lawyer asks his own witness.
A decision by a judge to end the prosecution of a case without deciding whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.
District Attorney
The chief law enforcement official elected in a jurisdiction to represent the State of Arizona.
Due Process
A constitutional provision guaranteeing an accused person a fair and impartial trial.
Any form of proof legally presented at a trial through witnesses, records, documents, etc.
The process by which a defendant is returned to the State of Arizona to stand trial after arrest in another jurisdiction.
A serious crime, generally punishable by a term of incarceration in a state prison.
First Appearance
A court event where the offender is first notified of his or her rights and the charges filed against them. The terms of their possible pre-trial release are set.
Good-Time Credit
The amount of time that will be reduced from the time required to be served in prison based on good behavior.
Hard 50
When a defendant is convicted of premeditated first degree murder, the court may order that the defendant serve a maximum of 50 calendar years without benefit of parole.
Evidence based on what the witness has heard someone else say, rather than what he/she has personally experienced.
House Arrest
A program where the defendant is placed on probation or pre-trial release, confined to his/her home, and monitored by electronic devices and/or probation officers.
Impeachment of Witness
An attack on the credibility or truthfulness of a witness’ testimony.
Juvenile Correctional Facility (JCF)
The highest state residential security placement for juvenile offenders.
Juvenile Offender
A person under the age of 18 years charged with a crime.
Leading Questions
A question asked in such a way as to suggest the desired answer. Such questions are prohibited on direct examination.
A less serious charge than a felony, generally punishable by a fine or term of not more than one year in jail.
An erroneous or invalid trial; a trial declared defective and void due to error in the proceeding.
Motion for Adult Prosecution (MAP)
A request by the District Attorney’s Office that the juvenile offender be tried as an adult because of the seriousness of the offense, the prior criminal record of the juvenile or the demonstrated inability of the juvenile to be rehabilitated in the juvenile justice system.
Motion for Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction Prosecution (MEJP)
May be filed if a juvenile commits a serious felony that requires adult prosecution. A Motion for Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction Prosecution transfers the entire case to adult court. A Motion for Extended Juvenile Jurisdiction Prosecution allows imposition of an adult sentence if the juvenile violates the provisions of the juvenile sentence or commits a new offense.
No-Contest Plea
The defendant does not dispute or contest the State’s evidence resulting in a finding of guilty by the court.
Statement by an attorney opposing specific testimony or the attempted admission of evidence.
Obstruction of Justice
Intimidating or tampering with a witness or juror to influence their actions.
A court’s denial of any motion or objection raised to the court. If an objection is overruled, the evidence or conduct objected to will be admitted for the jury’s consideration.
The early release of a person from prison under supervision.
Deliberate lying under oath; a felony offense.
Personal Recognizance Bond
Release of the accused by the judge on their promise to appear at a later date. This decision is based upon the defendant’s stability in the community and the seriousness of the offense.
In court, the defendant’s formal response to the charges: “How do you plead, guilty or not guilty?”
Preliminary Hearing
The accused is entitled to a preliminary hearing where evidence is presented to a judge to determine if there is enough to justify a trial.
Probable Cause
Reasonable cause; having more evidence for than against; a reasonable belief that a crime has or is being committed and is the basis for all lawful searches and arrests.
The release, under conditions of good behavior, of a person convicted of a crime as an alternative to imprisonment.
An attorney for the State of Arizona who presents evidence to convict a defendant.
A judge may order the defendant to pay something to the victim for fiscal losses or personal injuries caused by the crime as a condition of the defendant’s sentence.
A judgment imposing punishment by the court upon the defendant after conviction in a criminal prosecution.
A written order to appear in court.
Suspended Sentence
Sentence on which execution has been withheld by the court based on terms and conditions.
Court’s acceptance of any motion or objection. If an objection is sustained, the evidence or conduct objected to will not be admitted for the jury’s consideration.
Any statement made by a witness under oath in a legal proceeding.
Formal decision made by a jury, read before the court, and accepted by the judge; or in a bench trial a formal decision as to guilt made by a judge.
The person against whom a crime has been committed.
The person who testifies before a court under oath regarding what he/she has seen, heard, or otherwise observed.
Work Release
A program where the defendant is permitted to maintain employment while residing in jail.