Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

C
Capital offense
A crime punishable by death.
Case file
A complete collection of every document filed in a court case.
Case law
Previous judicial decisions on similar disputed questions. Another way of saying “legal precedent.”
Caseload
The number of cases handled by a judge or a court.
Cause of action
A legal claim.
Chambers
The offices of a judge and his or her staff.
Charge
The crime specified in the indictment or criminal complaint that the defendant is accused of committing.
Circumstantial evidence
Proof of a point by inference rather than directly. For example, snow on the ground is ‚Äúcircumstantial evidence‚ÄĚ that it actually snowed, even though a witness does not testify to that fact.
Civil case
A case other than a criminal case, usually involving one party’s claim for money from the other.
Class action
A lawsuit in which one or more members of a large group sue on behalf of the entire group. The court must find that the claims of the members contain questions of law or fact in common before the lawsuit can proceed as a class action.
Clerk of court
The court official who oversees management of the flow of cases through the court.
Cognovit
A document that acknowledges a civil debt or liability.
Collateral
Property promised as security to satisfy a debt.
Collateral estoppel
A legal principle that prohibits parties from litigating issues that have already been decided.
Common law
Legal principles that arise from a series of judicial decisions. Common law principles can be changed by legislation.
Community control
A type of sentence that allows a convicted person to stay out of prison, but under control of the court for a specific amount of time.
Community service
A condition of sentencing that requires an individual to work without pay for a civic or nonprofit organization.
Complaint
A plaintiff’s written statement that begins a civil lawsuit by setting forth the claims against the defendant.
Concurrent sentence
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served at the same time, rather than one after the other.
Consecutive sentence
Prison terms for two or more offenses to be served one after the other.
Contract
An agreement between two or more people that creates an obligation to do or not to do particular things.
Conviction
A judgment that a defendant is guilty of a particular criminal offense.
Counsel
Legal advice. Also refers to the lawyers in a case.
Count
An allegation in an indictment or information that charges a defendant with a specific crime. An indictment or information may contain multiple counts.
Court
The governmental entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Sometimes refers to the judge.
Court reporter
A person who makes a word-for-word record of what is said in court and produces a transcript if needed.
Creditor
A person or entity who claims to be owed money by a debtor.

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 CNO@sc.ohio.gov. 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.

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