Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

CNO Legal Glossary

A jury's verdict that a defendant is not guilty in a criminal case, or the judge's finding that the evidence is insufficient to convict.
Adam Walsh Act
The federal law that requires sex-offender registration and community notification.
Ad hoc
Latin, meaning “for this.” Concerned with a special purpose. For example, an “ad hoc” committee.
The court’s judgment made in a juvenile court case.
Allowed to be considered as evidence by a judge or jury.
A written statement made under oath.
The ruling of a reviewing court that the decision of the lower court was correct.
Aggravating circumstances
In criminal law, conditions that add to the seriousness of an offense and may increase the penalty for a crime. Also one of the specific factors set forth by law in Ohio that must exist before an aggravated murder may be treated as a death penalty case.
In disciplinary cases, factors that may be considered in favor of recommending a more severe sanction against an attorney or judge.
Alford plea
A plea in which the defendant  does not admit guilt, although does concede that prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.
Allied offenses
Multiple crimes that arise from and are committed by the same conduct, and that the court must treat as one offense for sentencing.
An unsworn statement from a convicted defendant to the sentencing judge or jury before sentence is imposed.
Alternate juror
A juror selected in the same manner as a regular juror and who hears all the evidence but does not decide the case unless called on to replace a regular juror.
Alternative dispute resolution (ADR)
A procedure for settling a dispute without a formal trial. Most forms of ADR are heard by an arbitrator or mediator.
Amenability hearing
A juvenile court proceeding at which a child’s likelihood of rehabilitation is discussed for the purpose of deciding whether the child should be tried as an adult.
Amicus curiae
Latin, meaning “friend of the court.” A person or group that is not a party in a case, but who asks a court or is requested by a court to file a brief because of a special interest in the subject of the case.
Intent or motivation.
A defendant’s formal written statement in a civil case responding to a complaint and stating the defendant’s defenses.
A request made by a party that has lost on one or more issues for a higher court to review the decision for correctness.
The party who appeals a court’s decision and seeks to have the decision overturned.
Relating to, or involving an appeal. For example, an appellate court may review the judgment of a lower court or a decision by an executive agency.
The party who opposes an appeal and seeks to have an earlier court decision affirmed.
A procedure for settling a dispute without a formal trial before one or more arbitrators. The decision in an arbitration is final and binding, unless it is successfully challenged in court.
A court proceeding in which a criminal defendant is told of the charges against him or her and is asked to enter a plea.
Property of all kinds, including real and personal, tangible and intangible.
To agree to continue performing duties under a contract or lease.
A person, business, or public official responsible for examining an individual’s or entity’s financial records. Government auditors in Ohio conduct other types of reviews as well, such as program efficiency and effectiveness reviews, feasibility studies, and fraud investigations.

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.