Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

A penalty or other type of enforcement, such as fines, jail, or prison.
In disciplinary cases, the penalty imposed against an attorney or judge for professional misconduct.
Seal, under seal
To restrict a court record from being publicly available. A sealed conviction record can be accessed only by certain persons for specific reasons.
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
Service of process
The delivery of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
An agreement by parties to a lawsuit to resolve their dispute without having a trial.
A method to separate jurors from outside influences during their deliberations.
A discussion between the judge and attorneys at the bench that the jury doesn’t hear. Physically, the area near the judge’s bench where lawyers are called to speak confidentially with the judge.
Particular facts in a criminal case that, if proven, add an additional length of time to a prison term.
Speedy trial
The right granted by both the U.S. and Ohio constitutions to have a public trial within a specified period of time unless there is a good reason for delay.
Standard of proof
The degree of proof required. In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The majority of civil lawsuits require proof “by a preponderance of the evidence” (50 percent or more), but in some cases the standard is higher and requires “clear and convincing” proof.
The legal right to begin and continue a lawsuit.
Stare decisis
Latin, meaning “to stand decided.” The legal principle that cases should be decided the same way as they have been decided before, if facts are the same.
A law passed by the legislature.
Statute of limitations
The deadline by which a lawsuit must be filed or a criminal prosecution started, depending on the type of case.
To temporarily stop a judicial proceeding through the order of a court.
An agreement between opposing parties that sets out the undisputed facts between them or presents the actions they will take or the procedure they will follow.
Sua sponte
Latin, “of its own will.” When the court takes an action without being asked to do so by either side.
A court order for a witness to appear and give testimony.
Subpoena duces tecum
A command to a witness to appear and produce documents.
The principle under which an insurer that has paid a loss under an insurance policy is entitled to all the insured’s rights and remedies, including compensation, against a third party for any covered loss.
Substance abuse treatment
Evaluation and treatment that a court orders an individual to undergo for abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Summary judgment
A court decision made on the basis of statements and evidence without a trial when the facts are undisputed and one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
A court order to require the presence of a person in court, or an order to give notice and to provide instructions about a lawsuit.
Supervised release
A type of bond that allows a criminal defendant to avoid jail pending trial.

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.