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Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

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Damages
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).
Debtor
A person who owes money to a creditor.
Defendant
In a civil case, someone against whom a lawsuit is filed. In a criminal case, someone accused of a crime.
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.
Delinquent
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 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.
De jure
Latin, meaning “in law.” Something that the law says will automatically exist.
De novo
Latin, meaning “anew.” An independent standard of review or a new trial.
Deposition
An oral statement made formally under oath, often taken to investigate a case or to be used later during trial.
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.
Discovery
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.
Docket
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 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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