- D -
Damages - Money awarded by
a court to a person injured by the unlawful actor negligence of
Debtor - One who owes a
debt to another; a person filing for relief under the Bankruptcy
Decision - The opinion of
the court in concluding a case at law.
Declaratory judgment - A
statutory remedy for judicial determination of a controversy where
plaintiff is in doubt about his legal rights.
Decree - An order of the
court. A final decree is one that fully and finally disposes of
the litigation. (See interlocutory.)
Defamation - That which
tends to injure a person's reputation. (See libel and slander.)
Default - Failure of the
defendant to appear and answer the summons and complaint.
Default judgment - A
judgment entered against a party who fails to appear in court or
respond to the charges.
Defendant - The person
defending or denying a suit.
Defense of property -
Affirmative defense in criminal law or tort law where force was
used to protect one's property.
Deficient - Incomplete;
defective; not sufficient in quantity or force.
Defunct - A corporation no
longer operative; having ceased to exist.
Demurrer - A pleading
filed by the defendant that the complaint as filed is not
sufficient to require an answer.
Dependent - One who
derives existence and support from another.
Deposition - Testimony of
a witness or a party taken under oath outside the courtroom, the
transcript of which becomes a part of the court's file.
Digest - An index or
compilation of abstracts of reported cases into one, set forth
under proper law topic headings or titles and usually in
Direct evidence - Proof of
facts by witnesses who saw acts done or heard words spoken.
Direct examination - The
first questioning of witnesses by the party on whose behalf they
Directed verdict - In a
case in which the plaintiff has failed to present on the facts of
his case proper evidence for jury consideration, the trial judge
may order the entry of a verdict without allowing the jury to
Disbarment - Form of
discipline of a lawyer resulting in the loss (often permanently)
of that lawyer's right to practice law. (See censure or
Discharge - The name given
to the bankruptcy court's formal discharge of a debtor's debts. In
probate, the release of the estate's representative from fiduciary
Disclaim - To refuse a
gift made in a will.
Discovery - The name given
pretrial devices for obtaining facts and information about the
Dismissal - The
termination of a lawsuit. (See with prejudice and without
Dissent To disagree. - An
appellate court opinion setting forth the minority view and
outlining the disagreement of one or more judges with the decision
of the majority.
Dissolution - The
termination; process of dissolving or winding up something.
Diversity of citizenship -
The condition when the party on one side of a lawsuit is a citizen
of one state and the other party is a citizen of another state;
such cases are under the jurisdiction of federal courts.
Diversion - The process of
removing some minor criminal, traffic, or juvenile cases from the
full judicial process, on the condition that the accused undergo
some sort of rehabilitation or make restitution for damages.
Docket - An abstract or
listing of all pleadings filed in a case; the book containing such
entries; trial docket is a list of or calendar of cases to be
tried in a certain term.
Docket control - A system
for keeping track of deadlines and court dates for both litigation
and non-litigation matters.
Domicile - The place where
a person has his permanent home to which he intends to return.
Double jeopardy - Putting
a person on trial more than once for the same crime. It is
forbidden by the Fifth Amendment to the United States
Due process of law - The
right of all persons to receive the guarantees and safeguards of
the law and the judicial process. It includes such constitutional
requirements as adequate notice, assistance of counsel, and the
rights to remain silent, to a speedy and public trial, to an
impartial jury, and to confront and secure witnesses.