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Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

Money that the losing party is ordered to pay in a civil case. Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury) or punitive (to punish and deter future misconduct).
A person who owes money to a creditor.
Declaratory judgment
A judge’s statement about someone’s rights. For example, a plaintiff may seek a declaratory judgment that a particular statute, as written, violates a constitutional right.
De facto
Latin, meaning “in fact.” Something actually existing.
Default judgment
A judgment that a plaintiff wins because a defendant has failed to respond to the complaint.
In a civil case, someone against whom a lawsuit is filed. In a criminal case, someone accused of a crime.
A stated theory or grounds for a defendant’s opposition to an allegation in a complaint or to a charge.
The finding made in a juvenile case that a child has violated a law or ordinance. The term is used instead of “guilty,” which applies to proceedings involving adults.
De jure
Latin, meaning “in law.” Something that the law says will automatically exist.
De minimis
Latin, meaning “of the least.” Something so insignificant that a court may overlook it in deciding an issue or case.
De novo
Latin, meaning “anew.” An independent standard of review or a new trial.
An oral statement made formally under oath, often taken to investigate a case or to be used later during trial.
The temporary care of children in restricted facilities pending a juvenile court adjudication or disposition.
Detention hearing
A proceeding to determine whether a child shall be held in detention or shelter care until a juvenile court concludes the case.
Dictum (plural: dicta)
Latin, meaning "remark." Language within an opinion or ruling that does not have the full force of precedent because it does not state the legal basis for the judgment.
Directed verdict
A trial judge’s ruling that no jury trial is needed because the evidence will allow only one reasonable verdict.
The condition of a person who has had a legal right or privilege revoked as a result of a criminal conviction or by some other provision of law.
Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.
Dismissal with prejudice
Court action concluding a case that prevents an identical lawsuit from being filed later.
Dismissal without prejudice
Court action concluding a case that allows a lawsuit to be filed later.
Disposition hearing
A hearing to impose sentence in a juvenile case after a child has been found delinquent.
Dispositional hearing
A proceeding to determine what action shall be taken concerning a child who is within a juvenile court’s jurisdiction.
Referring to something that resolves a legal issue, claim, or controversy.
Dissenting opinion
An opinion disagreeing with the judgment reached by the majority of the court.
A log containing chronological entries summarizing the court proceedings in a case.
Double jeopardy
The constitutional protection against someone being tried or punished twice for the same crime.
Due process
In criminal law, the constitutional guarantee that a defendant will receive a fair and impartial trial. In civil law, a party’s right to notice and to be heard.

The CNO Legal Glossary is part of an ongoing effort to educate the public about the courts and explain the legal system. The glossary is an evolving, interactive public resource. CNO encourages readers to send in their ideas for words and phrases to be considered for inclusion in the glossary. Submit your suggestions to The content of the CNO Legal Glossary does not represent the legal views of the court and is not considered or consulted by the justices in case deliberations.