A verdict of "not guilty."
One who speaks for and helps someone else. A victim advocate or victim assistant is someone trained and dedicated to serve those who are victims of crime, family members of victims of crime, and witnesses to crime. An advocate may be a paid professional of a government or private agency or a volunteer.
The transfer of a case from a lower court to a higher court (appellate court) for a new hearing on the case.
The time when a suspect appears before a judge and is formally charged with a crime, and requests a trial by jury.
Money or property that a defendant puts up as a guarantee that he will appear in court. Not all defendants are required to put up bail. Some are given personal recognizance (PR) bonds.
(pronounced: ser-shee-ah-rah-ree, usually "writ of certiorari," sometimes "writ of cert") A writ from a higher court to a lower court requesting the records of a case for review.
Mercy or leniency. Often refers to a judge's giving a lighter sentence to a defendant because of particular circumstances.
(or "legally competent') A decision by the court that a defendant is able to stand trial (usually following an examination by a doctor to find out his mental condition).
A person who is charged with a crime.
The lawyer who speaks for the defendant and represents his interest in court.
The right of the defendant to know what evidence the State has against him. Discovery materials are often referred to as "Rule 5", which is the rule of procedure that governs discovery.
The final result of the case.
A state court that handles cases involving families and juveniles.
The higher level of court, where serious crimes are tried, including all felonies. Crimes in General Sessions Court carry a jail or prison term of at least 30 days.
A jury of eighteen people who listen to the evidence and decide whether or not a case should go on to General Sessions Court. Their meetings are conducted in secret. The Grand Jury may give a "true bill" (indictment) or a "no bill."
A defendant's telling the court that he committed the crime.
A verdict that the defendant committed the crime.
(pronounced: hay-bee-us kor-pus) - One of a variety of writs that may be issued to bring a person before a court or judge. Its purpose is to release someone from unlawful restraint or imprisonment.
The situation where a jury cannot all agree on a verdict. When this happens, the case may be tried all over again. The technical term for a "hung jury" is "mistrial" though a mistrial may occur for other reasons.
A police report about something that happened. Additional reports about the same happening are called Supplemental Reports.
See Grand Jury, True Bill.
The person in charge of the courtroom and the trial.
A group of randomly chosen citizens from which jurors (people on a jury) are selected.
A group of men and women (usually 12) who must listen to and watch the trial and decide whether or not the defendant is guilty.
Usually an offender under the age of 17.
The judge in the first (lower) level of county court.
A conclusion by a Grand Jury that the evidence in a case is not supported by probable cause and as a result, the case cannot be tried.
The voluntary dismissal of criminal charges by the prosecuting attorney after a case has been indicted.
A defendant's telling the court that he did not commit the crime.
A verdict that the State has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime.
An attorney's telling the court that he believes someone has broken a rule of the court.
An act by the South Carolina Department of Probation, parole and Pardon Services that releases the person pardoned from punishment for the crime he committed. A pardon restores the person's civil rights.
The conditional early release of a prisoner. If a prisoner obeys the conditions of his release, he won't have to serve the remainder of his sentence in prison. If he does not, he may be sent back to prison.
A formal, written request for a court or judge to do something, for example, a petition for an appeal.
The defendant's answer to the charge against him. If he pleads "guilty," a trial is not necessary. He may plead guilty to a less serious charge than the one for which he was indicted. If he pleads "not guilty," the case will probably be tried in court.
A hearing before a magistrate to determine if a case has probable cause and should be sent to General Sessions Court.
A meeting among you, other witnesses, and the solicitor or deputy solicitor prior to the trial. You will be able to discuss the case and ask questions.
Evidence that would lead a reasonable person to believe that crime was committed by the person accused.
Releasing a convicted offender instead of sending him to prison. An offender on probation must agree to follow certain guidelines and limits. If he "violates probation," that is, fails to keep the agreement, he may be sent to prison.
The burden of proof in a criminal case. The kind of doubt that would cause a reasonable person to hesitate to act. In order to overcome this burden, the State must leave the jury firmly convinced that the defendant is guilty of each element of the crime charged. If a jury has reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime, the jury must find him not guilty.
"Time out" in a trial. It may be brief (as for lunch), last overnight, over the weekend, or longer.
The withdrawing (taking back) of bond or probation when the defendant fails to obey the requirements of bond or probation. For example, a defendant released on bond or probation may be required to stay within the state, his bond or probation may be revoked, and he may be locked up in jail or prison.
The punishment or legal consequences given to a defendant.
An attorney who prosecutes serious crimes. In other states, they are usually called District Attorneys.
The people of South Carolina represented in court by the Solicitor.
A court order for someone to appear in court.
The facts as stated by a witness. To give testimony is to "testify."
The presentation of the facts of a case in court before a judge (bench trial) or a judge and jury (jury trial), ending with a decision about the defendant's guilt.
A conclusion by a Grand Jury that the State has probable cause to proceed to trial.
The decision by a judge or jury.
A person who has a crime happen to him or suffers a loss as the result of a crime.
Someone whose role it is to help those who are victims of crime, family members of victims of crime, and witnesses to crime. A victim assistant may be a paid professional of a governmental or private agency or a volunteer.
A form that a victim may fill out in order to apply for money from the state to pay for expenses (such as lost wages, medical bills, and funeral expenses) that the victim may have as a result of a crime.
A victim's form, letter, or oral statement that tells the judge the ways in which the crime has affected him or her, for example, money, lost, emotional difficulties, physical problems, job problems, and so on.
(pronounced: "vwah deer") The questioning of jurors during the jury selection process. Both the defense attorney and the solicitor may "strike" (reject) a limited number of people in the jury pool.
In court, a witness is a person who testifies in court. A witness to a crime is a person who sees, hears, or notices something that has to do with a crime.
A written order issued by a court commanding someone to do or stop doing a particular act.