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Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

Magistrate judge
A judicial officer who conducts certain proceedings in cases according to special rules.
Majority opinion
An opinion joined by more than half of those judges considering a case, which becomes the opinion of the court.
An act that fails to meet the professional standards expected for a profession.
An informal procedure for settling a dispute without a trial that allows the parties to come to an agreement themselves with the help of a mediator.
Mental health treatment
Evaluation and treatment that a court orders an individual to undergo for a mental disorder.
Mens rea
Latin, meaning "guilty mind." A defendant’s state of mind that the state is required to prove to convict the defendant of a particular offense.
Miranda rule, Miranda rights
Statements that must be made before the police question a suspect in custody. These statements notify a suspect of the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to have an attorney appointed if a suspect cannot afford one. Derived from the U.S. Supreme Court decision Miranda v. Arizona (1966).
A crime punishable by imprisonment (in prison or in jail) of one year or less.
A declaration by the court that a trial is invalid and may be redone with a new jury.
Mitigating circumstances
In criminal law, conditions that may lessen a penalty but that do not excuse or justify the criminal conduct. In Ohio death penalty cases, the factors weighed against aggravating circumstances to determine whether a death sentence is appropriate.
In disciplinary cases, factors that may be considered in favor of recommending a less severe sanction against an attorney or judge.
Not subject to a court ruling because there is no controversy.
A request by a party for a judge’s decision on an issue in the case.
Motion in limine
A pretrial motion requesting the court to prohibit the other side from presenting, or even referring to, evidence on matters said to be so highly prejudicial that no steps taken by the judge can prevent the jury from being unduly influenced.
Motion to suppress
A formal request to the court to exclude certain evidence at a criminal trial because the evidence was obtained illegally.

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.