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Lawsuits

  • petit jury (or trial jury)

    A group of citizens that listen to the evidence presented by both sides at trial and figure out the facts in dispute. Criminal juries are made up of 12 people; civil juries are made up of at least 6 p...

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  • petition

    A formal written request given to the court asking for a specific judicial action. (Compare motion.)...

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  • petitioner

    A person that presents a petition to the court....

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  • Physical Custody

    Where the children live, who takes care of them, and how much time they spend with each parent. There are two types of physical custody arrangements primary or sole physical custody and joint or share...

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  • plaintiff

    A person that brings an action; the party that complains or sues in a civil case....

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  • plea

    In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges. (See also nolo contendere.)...

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  • plea bargain

    Negotiation between the prosecuting attorney and the person accused of a crime or that person's lawyer to exchange a guilty plea for conviction of a lesser charge, if the court approves....

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  • pleading

    Written statement filed with the court that describes a party's legal or factual claims about the case and what the party wants from the court....

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  • points and authorities

    Also called "P's and A's." "Points and authorities" refers to the written legal argument given to support or oppose a motion. It includes references to past cases, statutes (codes), and other statemen...

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  • polling of jury

    A practice in which jurors are asked individually whether they agree with the final verdict in the case they just decided....

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  • post

    (1) A prefix meaning "after," as in "post-trial" matters; (2) to "post" something is to bring it to the public's attention, as in "to post a notice of sale."...

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  • power of attorney

    When a person (the "principal") authorizes someone else (the "agent" or "attorney in fact") to take care of business for the principal. A power of attorney authorizes the agent to do whatever is neces...

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  • pre

    A prefix meaning "in front of" or "before," as in "pretrial" hearing....

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  • precedent

    A court decision in an earlier case with facts and legal issues similar to a dispute currently before a court. Judges will generally "follow precedent," meaning that they use the principles establishe...

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  • Prejudgment Claim of Right to Possession

    A form that a landlord in an unlawful detainer (eviction) lawsuit can serve with the summons and complaint on anyone living in the rental unit who may claim to be a tenant, but whose name the landlord...

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