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Glossary of Legal Terms
 
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  15
150-Day Minute Entry: A minute entry issued by court administration on behalf of the civil presiding judge approximately 150 days after the initial filing of a complaint. The purpose is to move cases forward according to the rules and prepare cases for trial. The minute entry directs parties to file documents, most of which are required by Rule 38.1, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.
  A5
Abandoned/Abandonment: (general) The relinquishment of a right or interest with the intention of never claiming it, such as to a car, house or trademark. (family law, juvenile law) A parent/custodian's failure to provide reasonable care, support and regular contact with a child, including providing normal supervision, for an excessive period of time.
Abeyance: The condition of being suspended or temporarily set aside.
Absent Parent: A person who is absent from the home and legally responsible for providing financial support for a dependent child.
Absentia/In Absentia: Proceedings held without the defendant's presence.
Abuse: The infliction or allowing of physical injury, impairment of bodily function, disfigurement, serious emotional damage, sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, incest, child prostitution or physical injury to a child that results from abuse.
Active Calendar: The calendar on which civil cases are placed after the filing and processing of a motion to set and certificate of readiness or after the setting of a trial date.
Addendum: An addition to a completed written document.
Additur: To add to the amount of a verdict when damages a jury awards appear to be too little.
Adjudication: (juvenile law) A proceeding whereat a juvenile is found to be a delinquent or incorrigible youth. (civil law, family law) The determination of issues in a lawsuit; the judgment.
Adult Court: The justice court, municipal court or criminal division of the superior court that has jurisdiction to hear proceedings concerning offenses committed by juveniles.
Adult: A person who is 18 years of age or older.
AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children): Public assistance paid on behalf of children.
Affidavit: A written statement of facts made under oath before a notary public or other person authorized to administer oaths.
Agent: One who has authority to act for another; an attorney-in-fact under a durable or nondurable power of attorney or a person authorized to make decisions concerning another person's health care or for another person under a natural death act.
Aggravation/Mitigation Hearing: A pre-sentence hearing at which the State presents witnesses and/or documentation to enhance a defendant's sentence and the defendant may present evidence and witnesses in hopes of lessening it.
Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC): Public assistance paid on behalf of children.
Alford Plea: A guilty plea whereby a defendant refuses to admit guilt but believes the plea is in his/her best interests because of incentives in the plea agreement.
Allegation of Prior Conviction: A document filed by the State alleging that a defendant has been convicted previously of a felony.
Annulment: A declaration that a valid marriage never existed (filed as a petition and processed along the same guidelines as a dissolution).
Answer: A defendant's written response to a plaintiff's allegations or accusations in a complaint, usually denying some of the facts alleged in the complaint.
Appeal: To ask a higher court to reverse a lower court's decision; to seek review from a higher court.
Appearance Bond: See "Unsecured Appearance Bond".
Appellant: A party who appeals a decision or judgment to a higher court.
Appellee: A party against whom an appeal is taken to a higher court, usually the winning party in the lower court.
Application: A written request to the registrar for an order of informal probate or appointment.
Arbitration: The process of submitting a dispute to a third party who will make a decision. When the amount in controversy is less than $50,000, arbitration is mandatory.
Arbitration: Binding Arbitration: The hearing and settlement of a dispute by a third party (arbitrator) whose decision will be binding upon the parties.
Arbitration: Non Binding Arbitration: The hearing and entry of an "award" which may be appealed.
Arbitrator: An attorney selected to hear a case and settle the legal dispute without a formal trial.
Arizona Tracking Location Automation System (ATLAS): A statewide computer system for child support enforcement.
Arraignment: An appearance before a judge or criminal commissioner at which a defendant has an opportunity to enter a plea (guilty, not guilty or no contest) to all charges. If the defendant pleads not guilty, a pretrial conference is set and a judge is assigned.
Arrearages (Arrears): Unpaid child support/spousal maintenance payments owed by a person obligated to pay support. Typically, these are past-due support amounts, including interest that has accrued on amounts due. A support payment is past due if it is not received by the Clerk of the Court/clearinghouse on the date due. If ordered to be paid directly by the obligor to the obligee, it is past due if it is not postmarked by the date due.
ATLAS (Arizona Tracking Location Automation System): A statewide computer system for child support enforcement.
Authentication: A document issued by clerk's offices that verifies that a legal document is genuine or valid.
Award/Commit: To assign legal custody.
Award: The written decision or judgment of an arbitrator, judicial officer or jury.
  B5
Battery: A beating or wrongful physical violence.
Bench Trial: A trial without a jury at which the judge decides the facts.
Bench Warrant: A written request from the court to a law enforcement agency to arrest and detain a person who has failed to appear for a court date or abide by a court order.
Beneficiary Designation: A governing instrument naming a beneficiary of an insurance or annuity policy; an account with pay on death designation; a security registered in beneficiary form; a pension, profit sharing, retirement or similar benefit plan or any other nonprobate transfer at death.
Beneficiary: As it relates to a trust beneficiary, a person who has any present or future vested or contingent interest and the owner of an interest by assignment or other transfer. As it relates to a charitable trust, any person entitled to enforce the trust. As it relates to a beneficiary of a beneficiary designation, a beneficiary of an insurance or annuity policy; an account with pay on death designation; a security registered in beneficiary form or a pension; a profit sharing, retirement or similar benefit plan or any other nonprobate transfer at death. As it relates to a beneficiary designated in a governing instrument, a grantee of a deed; a devisee; a trust beneficiary; a beneficiary of a beneficiary designation; a donee, appointee or taker in default of a power of appointment and a person in whose favor a power of attorney or a power held in any person, fiduciary or representative capacity is exercised.
Best Interests Attorney: (Formerly known as a Volunteer Guardian ad Litem) An attorney who volunteers to represent a child's best interests in a family law case. A "Child's Attorney" would be appointed in cases with serious concerns about the child's safety.
Bifurcated Trial: A trial that is divided in two; for instance, a trial on liability may be separate from the trial on damages.
Bond: (general) A written instrument guaranteeing the performance of acts. (criminal law) A security posted to guarantee a defendant's appearance at hearing or trial.
Bond: Bond Exoneration: A court order requiring the entity holding the bond in trust to deliver it (cash or another form of security) to a specific party, most often the party that posted it.
Bond: Bond Forfeiture: As it relates to bail bonds, occurs when the accused fails to appear for trial or any scheduled court appearance.
Bond: Supersedeas Bond: A bond that a court requires from an appellant who wants to delay payment of a judgment until the appeal is over.
Bound Over/Bind Over: The superior court assumes jurisdiction of a case from a lower court.
Brady Material: Evidence that tends to mitigate or negate a defendant's guilt as to the offense charged.
  C5
Case Status Report: A form filed by an attorney, usually at the time of pretrial, that gives the status of the case. Used at each division's preference.
Certified Copy: A copy of a document or record that is signed and certified as a true copy by an employee of the Clerk of the Court.
Certiorari: Certain appellate proceedings for reexamination of actions of a trial court, or inferior appeals court.
Change of Plea (COP): A defendant's change of a previously entered plea of not guilty to guilty or no contest.
Change of Venue: The moving of a case begun in one county or state to another county or state.
Child Protective Services (CPS): The part of the Division of Children, Youth and Families under the Department of Economic Security that is mandated to protect children by responding to reports of abuse and neglect. CPS provides services to families to remedy problems and allow children to remain safely in their homes.
Child Support Arrest Warrant (CSAW) ("see-saw"): An arrest warrant issued for a person who has not paid or will not pay child support. The normally associated "bond" is set as a "purge" or "release" amount, which is an amount of support owed. When paid, the purge amount applies toward the past due support and is not returned as a bond in a criminal case would be.
Child Support Enforcement Administration (CSEA): The state agency charged with providing certain support services. It is also referred to as the State IV-D agency.
Child Support Guidelines: A formula to determine the child support amount based on both parents, gross income. This formula uses a child support worksheet which must be submitted to the court.
Child Support: A parent's legal obligation to pay money toward his/her child's care and maintenance.
Child's Attorney: (family law) (Commonly referred to as a Guardian ad Litem or Best Interests Attorney) An attorney appointed by the court to represent a child in a family law case. Common reasons to appoint such an attorney are the possibility of child abuse or one parent absconding with the child, possible or alleged domestic abuse or substance abuse on the part of one or both of the parents, concerns about the mental health or behavior of one or both of the parents, unsafe or unstable living conditions, special needs of the child, significant or persistent high conflict between the parents, that the child is an infant or a toddler or any other reason deemed appropriate by the court. A "Best Interests Attorney" would be requested in cases without such major concerns for the child's welfare.
Child/Youth/Juvenile: A person who is under 18 years of age.
Child: (probate law) Includes a person who is entitled to take as a child under this title by intestate succession from the parent whose relationship is involved. Excludes anyone who is only a stepchild, foster child, grandchild or more remote descendant.
China Doll Affidavit: An affidavit supporting a request for attorney's fees made by the prevailing party in a lawsuit. Refers to Schweiger v. China Doll Restaurant, Inc., 138 Ariz. 183, 163 P.2d 927 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1983), dealing with attorney's fees applications made by the prevailing party in a lawsuit.
Civil Arrest Warrant (Bench Warrant): A warrant issued by a judge for failure to appear for a hearing or failure to comply with a court order in a civil matter.
Civil Procedure: The body of law and rules governing the methods and practices of civil litigation.
Claimant: One who claims or asserts a right, demand or claim.
Claims: As it relates to estates of decedents and protected persons, includes liabilities of the decedent or protected person, whether arising in contract, in tort or otherwise, and liabilities of the estate arising at or after decedent's death or after a conservator's appointment, including funeral and administration expenses. Does not include estate or inheritance taxes or demands or disputes regarding title of a decedent or protected person to specific assets alleged to be included in the estate.
Clerk of the Court: An elected official who is statutorily responsible for filing and processing all documents used in conjunction with superior court cases in accordance with mandated time limitations and archival standards. Provides a courtroom clerk for all sessions of court to record proceedings into minute entries that become permanent record. Receives, invests and disburses fines, fees, reimbursements, victim restitution and public/custodial trust funds. 32
Codicil: A supplement or appendix to a will.
Commissioner: A full time judicial officer appointed by the presiding judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions.
Common Law Marriage: An implied marriage between parties established in another jurisdiction without the benefit of a ceremony or license. Arizona does not recognize common law marriage but will recognize the status from another state for the sole purpose of divorcing the parties and entering orders regarding property, child custody, parenting time and support.
Community Property: Property, other than a gift or inheritance to one party, that spouses acquire during the marriage. Each spouse has a one-half interest in community property, regardless of who has title to it. Also see "Debts".
Complaint: An accusation, usually sworn before a magistrate, that a person has committed a specified offense; triggers judicial proceedings. The first pleading filed in a civil action. (juvenile law) A written statement of the essential facts constituting a public offense that is either made on an oath before a judge or commissioner of the superior court or an authorized juvenile hearing officer or accompanied by an affidavit of a law enforcement officer or employee that swears on information and belief to the accuracy of the complaint.
Conciliation Services: A branch of the court that offers services such as marriage counseling, mediation, custody evaluation, etc., to litigants involved in family court cases.
Condemnation Action: See "Eminent Domain".
Conservator: A person appointed by a judge to manage a protected person's financial affairs.
Contested Cases: Cases in which a response to a petition has been filed disputing some or all issues in the petition.
Contract Action: A type of lawsuit based on a breach of a written or oral contract.
Contract: A binding agreement, written or oral, between two or more persons.
Controverting Certificate: A document filed by any party to a case, other than the party who filed the motion to set and certificate of readiness, in which objections are stated to the information in a certificate of readiness.
COP (Change of Plea): A defendant's change of a previously entered plea of not guilty to guilty or no contest.
Counterclaim: A claim or cause of action brought by a defendant against a plaintiff.
Court of Appeals: The court that reviews decisions and trials appealed to the court of appeals by a lower court, usually superior court.
Court-Appointed Attorney: (probate law) An attorney appointed by the court to represent an alleged incapacitated/protected person. (criminal law) An attorney appointed by the court to represent a defendant, based on the defendant's financial statement.
Court-Appointed Investigator: A person appointed by a judge to investigate the appropriateness of the appointment of a guardian or conservator.
Courts:
Courts: Court of Appeals: The court that reviews decisions and trials appealed to the court of appeals by a lower court, usually superior court.
Courts: Justice of the Peace Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court with a justice of the peace serving as its judicial officer.
Courts: Municipal Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court that handles misdemeanor crimes and petty offenses and city ordinance and code violations and issues orders of protection and injunctions against harassment.
Courts: Superior Court (General Jurisdiction): A general jurisdiction court; has the authority to hear all legal actions not exclusively assigned to another court.
Courts: Supreme Court: The highest court in the State of Arizona; the Court of Last Resort; hears cases appealed to the supreme court from lower courts and death penalty cases from superior court.
CPS (Child Protective Services): The part of the Division of Children, Youth and Families under the Department of Economic Security that is mandated to protect children by responding to reports of abuse and neglect. CPS provides services to families to remedy problems and allow children to remain safely in their homes.
Cross-Claim: A claim made by a party to a lawsuit against a plaintiff or co-defendant, or both, arising out of the original complaint.
CSAW ("see-saw") (Child Support Arrest Warrant): An arrest warrant issued for a person who has not paid or will not pay child support. The normally associated "bond" is set as a "purge" or "release" amount, which is an amount of support owed. When paid, the purge amount applies toward the past due support and is not returned as a bond in a criminal case would be.
CSEA (Child Support Enforcement Administration): The state agency charged with providing certain support services. It is also referred to as the State IV-D agency.
Custodian: A person other than a parent or legal guardian who stands in loco parentis to a child or to whom legal custody of a child has been given by order of the juvenile court.
Custody Order: An order entered by the court that states with which parent a child will live.
Custody Order: Custodial Parent: The parent with legal custody and with whom a child lives.
Custody Order: Joint Custody: Custody whereby both parents share important decisions about a child.
Custody Order: Non-Custodial Parent: The parent who does not have primary custody of a child but is responsible for financial support.
Custody Order: Primary Residential Parent: In joint custody agreements, the parent with whom a child resides the majority of the time.
Custody Order: Sole Custody: Custody whereby one parent has the sole authority to make important decisions about a child.
  D5
DCSE (Division of Child Support Enforcement): A division of the Department of Economic Security that provides certain support services. Also referred to as the designated (IV-D) (four-D) agency.
Debts:
Debts: Community Debts: Any debt, credit card bill, bank loan or mortgage that spouses obtain during the marriage.
Debts: Separate Debts: Any debt, credit card bill, bank loan or mortgage obtained by one spouse before, and in some cases during, the marriage. These debts remain the obligation of the spouse who obtained them.
Decedent: A person who is deceased.
Declaratory Judgment: A judgment that declares the rights of the parties or expresses the court's opinion on a question of law without ordering anything to be done. Note: These cases are not subject to arbitration.
Decree: The final order in a divorce, legal separation or custody case. Signed by the judge/commissioner and filed with the Clerk of the Court. Can be in the form of a pleading or of a minute entry issued by the clerk after a hearing and signed by the judge/commissioner.
Default Hearing: The hearing scheduled for cases in which the defendant has failed to appear or answer; the hearing set for litigants when the petition for dissolution is uncontested.
Default Judgment: The judgment awarded to the plaintiff because the defendant has failed to appear or answer.
Default Order: An order signed by a judge or commissioner because the other side failed to appear or contest the matter.
Default: The failure or neglect to answer a summons and complaint within the time allowed or the failure to appear in court.
Defendant: The party against whom relief or recovery is sought in a suit; the party defending or denying a complaint; the accused in a criminal case.
Deferred Fees: Court fees that must be paid at a later date.
Delinquency Hearing: A proceeding in the juvenile court to determine whether a juvenile has committed a specific delinquent act as set forth in a petition.
Delinquent Act: An act by a juvenile that would be a criminal or petty offense if committed by an adult or that violates: any law of this state, or of another state if the act occurred in that state; a law of the United States; any law that can be violated only by a minor and that has been designated as a delinquent offense or any ordinance of a city, county or political subdivision of this state defining crime. A juvenile who is prosecuted as an adult or remanded for prosecution as an adult shall not be adjudicated as a delinquent juvenile for the same offense.
Delinquent Juvenile: A child who is adjudicated to have committed a delinquent act.
Dependent Child: A minor child whom a decedent was obligated to support or an adult child whom a decedent was in fact supporting at the time of the decedent' death. (juvenile law) A juvenile who is: adjudicated to be in need of proper and effective parental care and control and who has no parent or guardian willing to exercise or capable of exercising such care and control; destitute; not provided with the necessities of life, including adequate food, clothing, shelter or medical care; under eight years of age and found to have committed an act that would result in adjudication as a delinquent juvenile or incorrigible child if committed by an older juvenile or child; incompetent or not restorable to competency and alleged to have committed a serious offense or living in a home that is unfit by reason of abuse, neglect, cruelty or depravity by a parent, a guardian or any other person having custody or care of the juvenile. Does not include a child who in good faith is being furnished Christian Science treatment by a duly accredited practitioner if none of the circumstances described above exists.
Deposition: Oral testimony taken of a witness under oath outside of court in the presence of a court reporter and attorneys.
Descendant: All of a decedent's descendants of all generations, with the relationship of parent and child at each generation.
Dessereault Hearing: A hearing set any time before trial to determine the legality or illegality of the method of identification of an alleged perpetrator.
Detention: The temporary confinement of a juvenile who requires secure care in a physically restricting facility that is completely surrounded by a locked and physically secure barrier with restricted ingress and egress for the protection of the juvenile or the community pending court disposition or as a condition of probation.
Devise: A testamentary disposition of real or personal property; to devise: to dispose of real or personal property by will.
Devisee: A person designated in a will to receive a devise. In the case of a devise to an existing trust or trustee, or to a trustee on trust described by will, the trust or trustee is the devisee and the beneficiaries are not devisees.
Directed Verdict: A ruling by the court that there is not sufficient evidence to submit the dispute to the jury, and the court either enters, or directs the jury to enter, judgment in favor of a party.
Disability: Cause for the appointment of a conservator or other protective order that can relate to the estate and affairs of a minor or an adult.
Discovery: The disclosure of facts or documents by one party in a lawsuit to another for use as evidence in a case.
Dismissal With Prejudice: A final dismissal barring the right to bring an action on the same claim or cause.
Dismissal Without Prejudice: A final dismissal preserving a complainant's right to sue again on the same cause of action.
Dismissal: An order or judgment that dismisses a complaint or counterclaim without a complete trial of the issues.
Disposable Earnings: Includes salary, compensation, bonuses or commissions a person received after deducting from such earnings those amounts required by law to be withheld. May include unemployment insurance compensation benefits, workmen's compensation benefits, social security benefits, retirement benefits, lottery winnings, etc.
Disposition Hearing: The time set for pronouncement of sentence after determination of violation of probation. (juvenile law) The initial sentencing hearing in a juvenile delinquency case.
Distributee: A person who has received a decendent's property from that person's personal representative other than as a creditor or purchaser. Includes a testamentary trustee only to the extent of distributed assets or increment that remains in that person's hands. A beneficiary of a testamentary trust to whom the trustee has distributed property received from a personal representative is a distributee of the personal representative. For the purposes of this paragraph, "testamentary trustee" includes a trustee to whom assets are transfered by will, to the extent of the devised assets.
Diversion: (juvenile law) A process by which a formal court action, such as prosecution, is averted. The diversion process is an opportunity for youth to admit their misdeeds and accept the consequences without going through a formal adjudication and disposition process. As it relates to an adult, a process which creates a written contract between the prosecutor and the accused that, if requirements are met, the prosecutor will dismiss all charges.
Division of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE): A division of the Department of Economic Security that provides certain support services. Also referred to as the designated (IV-D) (four-D) agency.
Divorce/Dissolution: A process that terminates a couple's marriage through the court.
Domestication: See "Foreign Decree/Foreign Judgment/Domestication".
  E5
Emancipation: A condition whereby a minor child is legally treated as an adult.
Emergency Assignment: The permanent assignment of a judge to hear a civil case; done only if there is need of an immediate emergency order by a judge.
Eminent Domain: The power to take private property for public use by the state and municipalities. See also "Condemnation Action".
Employer: As it relates to Family Support, includes all persons or agencies obligated to make periodic payments to an obligee on behalf of an obligor.
Entitlements: Monies due to an obligee.
Estate: Includes the property of the decedent, trust or other person whose affairs are subject to this title as originally constituted and as it exists from time to time during administration. As it relates to a spouse, includes only the separate property and the share of the community property belonging to the decedent or person whose affairs are subject to this title.
Estoppel: A rule of law precluding a person from asserting certain facts because of his/her prior conduct.
Evidence: Proof presented in court through exhibits, records, objects, written documents or a witness's testimony to persuade the judge or jury as to an alleged fact or position.
Evidentiary Hearing: The presentation of facts and evidence to the court to decide an issue.
Ex Parte Order: An order entered by the court at the request of only one party without notice to the other party.
Ex Parte: Communication with the court by one party without the presence or knowledge of the other party.
Exemplify: To make an official copy of a legal document.
Exempt Property: That property of a decedent's estate described in state statutes that is determined to be exempt from encumbrances.
Exhibit: A document or material produced and identified in court for the purpose of introducing it in evidence. Each document or produced material is numerically or alphabetically marked by the Clerk of the Court's deputy courtroom clerk in order to identify it for the record.
Exoneration of Bond: An exoneration of bond is a court order requiring the entity holding the bond in trust to deliver it (cash or another form of security) to a specific party, most often the party that posted it.
Expungement: Although this proceeding is not available in Arizona, it is the process by which the record of a criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed. See "Set Aside".
Extradition: The surrender by one state to another of a person accused or convicted of an offense outside its own territory and within the territorial jurisdiction of the other state.
  F5
Fast Track: A calendaring program aimed at reducing the processing time of cases from the date complaints are filed to the final disposition.
FCRB (Foster Care Review Board): The Foster Care Review Board advises the juvenile court on progress toward achieving a permanent home for children involved in dependency actions and out-of-home placements. These children's well being is of the highest concern to board members.
Fees: Monies collected by the Clerk of the Court and set by the Arizona State Legislature. Fees may be waived or deferred if a party is eligible.
Fiduciary: A personal representative, guardian, conservator and trustee.
Filing Fee: The fee paid to the Clerk of the Court for the filing of a document.
Forcible Detainer: Exists when one is willfully kept out of or has been wrongfully deprived of possession of real property.
Foreign Decree/Foreign Judgment/Domestication: The filing of a certified copy of a judgment or decree from another state, county or country in order for this county to have jurisdiction.
Foreign Personal Representative: A personal representative appointed by another jurisdiction.
Forfeiture: The loss of some right or property as a penalty for some illegal act. The loss of property or money because of a breach of a legal obligation.
Formal Proceedings: Proceedings conducted before a judge with notice to interested persons.
Foster Care Review Board (FCRB): The Foster Care Review Board advises the juvenile court on progress toward achieving a permanent home for children involved in dependency actions and out-of-home placements. These children's well being is of the highest concern to board members.
Foster Care: The supervised care for delinquent or neglected children, usually in an institution, group home or private home, usually arranged through a government or social-service agency that provides remuneration for expenses.
  G5
Garnishee: A person or entity, such as an employer, that owes money to or holds property of someone against whom the court has entered a money judgment.
Garnishment: A legal proceeding to enforce a judgment whereby a creditor seeks to obtain payment from a debtor and the debtor can be compelled to pay. Sometimes used by litigants in place and instead of a "Wage Assignment" in family court. A person's wages would be garnished for debts other than child support, such as credit card, car payment or medical bills. Civil hearing action sometimes referred to as a Judgment Debtor Exam.
General Jurisdiction Court: A court that has the authority to hear all legal actions not exclusively assigned to another court.
Governing Instrument: A deed; will; trust; insurance or annuity policy; account with pay on death designation; security registered in beneficiary form; pension, profit sharing, retirement or similar benefit plan; instrument creating or exercising a power of appointment or a power of attorney or a dispositive, appointive or nominative instrument of any similar type.
Governor's Warrant: A warrant issued for the arrest of a person charged with a crime in another state when that state demands the surrender of a person so charged.
Grand Jury (County): Sixteen citizens who have qualified for jury service and have the responsibility to look into public offenses. The County Attorney may choose to present evidence to a grand jury and ask them to return a criminal indictment. An indictment or "True Bill" is a formal accusation charging the commission of a public offense, which may be tried within a county. In order to indict, at least nine members of the grand jury must agree there is probable cause to believe that the person under investigation is guilty of the offense charged.
Grand Jury (State): A jury with the same responsibilities as a county grand jury except that its jurisdiction is statewide.
Gravely Disabled: Likely, as a result of a mental disorder, to come to serious physical harm or serious illness because the person is unable to provide for his/her basic physical needs.
Gross Income: Includes income from any source and may include but is not limited to income from salaries, wages, commissions, bonuses, dividends, severance pay, pensions, interest, trust income annuities and capital gains. May also include social security benefits, workmen's compensation benefits, unemployment insurance benefits, disability insurance benefits, gifts, prizes and spousal maintenance received.
Grounds: Reason for divorce. The term is not used in Arizona; Arizona is a no-fault state. Arizona requires that the marriage be irretrievably broken with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation in order to grant a divorce.
Guardian ad Litem: A guardian appointed by the court to defend for or prosecute a minor or incapacitated person in any lawsuit to which he/she may be a party. (family law) Known as a "Best Interests Attorney" and appointed by the court to represent a child's best interests.
Guardian: A person who has qualified as a guardian of a minor or incapacitated person pursuant to testamentary or court appointment except for anyone who is merely a guardian ad litem.
Guilty Plea: A defendant's admission that he/she committed the acts charged in the complaint, that the acts are prohibited by law and that he/she has no legal defense for such acts.
  H5
Harassment Petition: The document filed by a party asking for an injunction against any act of harassment by another party, not applicable if a previous or current family relationship exists.
Harassment: A series of acts over any period of time that is directed at a specific person; would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed, annoyed or harassed and in fact seriously alarms, annoys or harasses the person and serves no legitimate purpose.
Hearing: A procedure before a judge sitting without a jury during which evidence may be presented and witnesses heard to determine an issue and come to a decision generally on a less formal basis than in a trial.
Hearing: Aggravation Hearing: A hearing held prior to sentencing to make a finding of aggravating or negative circumstances that would extend the length or increase the terms of a defendant's sentence.
Hearing: Evidentiary Hearing: The presentation of facts and evidence to the court to decide an issue.
Hearing: Mitigation Hearing: A hearing held prior to sentencing to make a finding of mitigating or positive circumstances that would shorten the length or decrease the terms of a defendant's sentence.
Hearing: Petit (Trial) Jury: The group of people selected to decide the facts and render a verdict in a civil or criminal trial.
Hearing: Sentencing Hearing: A hearing to formally pronounce sentence upon a defendant.
Hearing: Trial de Novo: A new trial held upon appeal from a non-record court or from appeal of an arbitration award.
Hearing: Trial: The formal presentation of facts and evidence to a court or jury in order to reach a legal decision.
Hearsay: Testimony given by a witness who relates not what he or she knows personally but what others have said.
Heirs: Persons, including the surviving spouse and the state, who are entitled under the statutes of intestate succession to the property of a decedent.
  I5
Impeach/Impeachment: To dispute or challenge the credibility or validity of a witness's testimony; one party's effort to undermine the credibility of testimony offered by another party.
In Camera: In chambers; in private.
Inactive Calendar: The calendar on which civil cases are placed by the Civil Court Administrator or a judge if no judgment has been obtained or motion to set and certificate of readiness filed within nine months of the filing of the complaint
Incapacitated Person: A person impaired by mental illness, deficiency or disorder; physical illness or disability; chronic drug use or intoxication or other cause, except 42 minority, to the extent the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his/her person.
Incorrigible Child: A child adjudicated as a child who refuses to obey the reasonable and proper orders or directions of a parent, guardian or custodian and who: is beyond that person’s control; habitually is truant from school; is a runaway from the child’s home or parent, guardian or custodian; habitually behaves in such a manner as to injure or endanger the morals or health of self or others; commits any act constituting an offense that can be committed only by a minor and is not designated as a delinquent act or fails to obey any lawful order of a court of competent jurisdiction given in a noncriminal action. Juveniles who commit offenses that would not be considered crimes if committed by adults are called status offenders (incorrigible youth).
Independent Living Program: A residential program with supervision of less than 24 hours a day.
Indictment: A written accusation by a grand jury that a certain person has committed a specified offense; triggers judicial proceedings.
Informal Proceedings: Proceedings conducted without notice to interested persons by an officer of the court acting as a registrar for the probate of a will or appointment of a personal representative.
Information: A written accusation by a public officer, not presented to a grand jury, that a certain person has committed a specified offense; triggers judicial proceedings.
Initial Appearance: A defendant's first court appearance, whereat the defendant is advised of his/her rights and the charges against him/her, a determination is made as to release status and counsel and a future court time is set in the appropriate court.
Injunction Against Harassment (IAH): Injunction Against Harassment (IAH): A court order directing a person to stop harassing, annoying or alarming another person. Injunctions may be used for disputes against neighbors, strangers and people who are or were dating. The injunction against harassment differs from the order of protection in that exclusive use of the home cannot be ordered and the police are not mandated to serve the injunction.
Injunction Against Harassment (IAH): Injunction Against Workplace Harassment (IAWH): A court order sought by an employer for relief on behalf of all employees at the workplace, anyone who enters the employer's property and anyone who is performing official work duties. This allows the inclusion of a number of people under the protective umbrella of this injunction; the "personal" injunction against harassment is usually between two people. In this instance, harassment is defined as a single threat or act of physical harm or damage or a series of acts over a period of time that would cause a reasonable person to be seriously alarmed or annoyed.
Injunction: A court order directing a person to take or refrain from taking a specified action.
Intake: Occurs when a youth is referred to juvenile probation with a delinquent or incorrigible charge.
Interested Person: An heir, devisee, child, spouse, creditor, beneficiary or other person with a property right in or claim against a trust estate or the estate of a decedent, ward or protected person. Also includes a person with priority for appointment as a personal representative and other fiduciaries representing interested persons. As it relates to particular persons, may vary from time to time and must be determined according to the particular purposes of, and matter involved in, any proceeding.
Interlocutory Stay: A provisional or temporary order made pending a final decision or outcome. The order is subject to change by the court, which often makes it not appealable until the entire matter has been disposed of by final judgment.
Interpleader Action: An action that allows a plaintiff to initiate a lawsuit in order to compel two or more other parties to litigate a dispute. An interpleader action originates when the plaintiff holds property on behalf of another but doesn,t know to whom the property should be transfered. It is often used to resolve disputes arising under insurance contracts.
Interrogatories: Written questions asked one party to a suit by an opposing party, which must be answered in writing and under oath, and which may be used as evidence by the party demanding them, if relevant. Also can mean questions submitted to a jury.
Intervener: A person who intervenes as a third party in a legal proceeding.
Intestate: Having died and left no valid will.
Issue: As it relates to wills and trusts, a person's lineal descendants or offspring. This is distinguished from heirs.
IV-D Cases (Four-D): Cases in which a party receives these services of the Department of Economic Security or has been automatically referred to DES to collect child support.
  J5
JIPS (Juvenile Intensive Probation Supervision): A highly structured, community-based juvenile probation program emphasizing surveillance, treatment, work, education and home detention.
Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship and Community Property with the Right of Survivorship: Owners of property held under circumstances that entitle one or more to the whole of the property on the death of the other(s) but excludes forms of co-ownership registration in which the underlying ownership of each party is in proportion to that party's contribution.
JOLTS (Juvenile On Line Tracking System): A statewide juvenile probation and dependency management system.
Judge Pro Tempore: An individual assigned to perform the duties of a judge on a temporary basis.
Judge: The public officer authorized to preside over, hear and determine cases in a court of law.
Judgment Assigned: The permanent assignment of a case to a calendar division.
Judgment Creditor: A person who has won a case but not yet collected the debt.
Judgment Debtor: A person who has lost a case but not yet paid the debt; one who owes money as a result of a judgment in favor of a creditor.
Judgment: A decision by a court that establishes the rights of the parties in an action or proceeding; the formal decision of a court; the final determination of a case.
Judicial Officer: One of the following:
Judicial Officer: Commissioner: A full time judicial officer appointed by the presiding judge and authorized to perform limited judicial functions.
Judicial Officer: Judge Pro Tempore: An individual assigned to perform the duties of a judge on a temporary basis.
Judicial Officer: Judge: The public officer authorized to preside over, hear and determine cases in a court of law.
Judicial Officer: Justice of the Peace: A person elected to serve as a judge in a precinct within a county. A justice of the peace is not required to be an attorney.
Judicial Officer: Magistrate: Often used to refer to a municipal court judge. A.R.S. § 1-215 provides a broad definition that includes all those judicial officers having the power to issue a warrant for arrest, i.e., a supreme court justice, superior court judges, justice of the peace courts and municipal courts.
Judicial Officer: Municipal Court Judge: A person appointed to serve as a judge in a city court or municipality. Qualifications are set by the municipality, not necessarily required to be an attorney.
Judicial Officer: Referee: A type of master appointed by a court to assist with certain proceedings.
Judicial Officer: Special Master: A person appointed by the court to help parents resolve disputes about what is best for a child.
Jurisdiction: The court's ability to make decisions in a case by virtue of the parties, residence within the court's jurisdictional boundaries, or the domestication of a judgment from another jurisdiction for the sole purpose of allowing this county to rule in the case; the power of a court to render judgment and decide a case.
Jurisprudence: The science or philosophy of law.
Jury: (criminal law) A group of citizens called to hear a trial of criminal prosecution and determine the defendant's guilt or innocence based on evidence presented. (civil law) A group of citizens called to hear the details of a civil lawsuit, to find for the plaintiff or defendant and to determine the amount, if any, to be awarded.
Justice of the Peace Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court with a justice of the peace serving as its judicial officer.
Justice of the Peace: A person elected to serve as a judge in a precinct within a county. A justice of the peace is not required to be an attorney.
Juvenile Court: The juvenile division of the superior court when exercising its jurisdiction over children in any proceeding relating to delinquency, dependency or incorrigibility.
Juvenile Intensive Probation Supervision (JIPS): A highly structured, community-based juvenile probation program emphasizing surveillance, treatment, work, education and home detention.
Juvenile On Line Tracking System (JOLTS): A statewide juvenile probation and dependency management system.
  L5
Laches: Negligence or unreasonable delay in pursuing a legal remedy.
Law Enforcement Officer: A peace officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, municipal police officer or constable.
LCA (Lower Court Appeal): A category of civil cases involving non-traffic and civil appeals from a justice of the peace or municipal court.
Lease: Any oil, gas or other mineral lease.
Legal Assistant: A person who assists a lawyer in duties related to the practice of law but is not a licensed attorney.
Legal Separation: A court order establishing the terms of custody, support, etc., under which a married couple will live separately. The petition for legal separation is filed and processed the same way a dissolution petition is processed.
Letters: Letters testamentary, letters of guardianship, letters of administration and letters of conservatorship. Written evidence of authority to act as personal representative, guardian or conservator.
Limited Jurisdiction Court: A court that may hear and decide limited types of cases. In Arizona these are justice and municipal courts.
Limited Scope: Refers to a notice of limited scope representation filed by an attorney on behalf of a litigant when the attorney and litigant have come to an agreement that the attorney will appear on the litigant's behalf only on certain specified issues, not the entire case.
Lis Pendens: "Litigation pending". Filed and recorded in Office of County Recorder to warn others that the title to certain property is in litigation.
List of Witnesses and Exhibits: A document filed by parties to a lawsuit listing all witnesses and exhibits intended to be used at trial.
Litigant: A person who chooses to litigate a domestic or legal matter within the court system. (Re-litigant: A person who has made it his/her life's mission to constantly use the court system to solve sometimes irrelevant and antiquated domestic issues . )
Lower Court Appeal (LCA): A category of civil cases involving non-traffic and civil appeals from a justice of the peace or municipal court.
  M5
Magistrate: Often used to refer to a municipal court judge. A.R.S. § 1-215 provides a broad definition that includes all those judicial officers having the power to issue a warrant for arrest, i.e., a supreme court justice, superior court judges, justice of the peace courts and municipal courts.
Mandate: An order or command issued by a judge or court directing enforcement of the court's decision; can be from an appellate court directing action by a lower court from which an appeal was taken.
Maternity: The legal acknowledgment of the parental relationship between a mother and her child.
Mediation: A process by which parties are encouraged to reach agreements in their case prior to a court hearing.
Mediator: A neutral person appointed by the court to help disputing parties reach an agreement, not necessarily an attorney.
Medical Director of a Mental Health Agency: A psychiatrist, or licensed physician experienced in psychiatric matters, designated in writing by the governing body of the agency as the person in charge of the agency's medical services, or a psychiatrist designated by the governing body to act for the director. The term includes the superintendent of the state hospital.
Medical Malpractice Action: An action for injury or death brought against a health care provider, alleging negligence, misconduct, errors, omissions or breach of contract in the rendering of health care, medical or nursing services or other health-related services or for the rendering of such care or services without express or implied consent. Examples of health care providers include physicians, hospitals and their employees who provide such care or services.
Mental Health Agency: Any private or public facility that is licensed by this state as a mental health treatment agency, psychiatric hospital, psychiatric unit of a general hospital or residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children and that uses secure settings or mechanical restraints.
Minor Ward: A minor for whom a guardian has been appointed solely because of minority.
Minor/Minor Child: A person who is under 18 years of age.
Minute Entry: An official record summarizing specific events of a court proceeding. Created by the courtroom clerk. Includes future court dates, findings and rulings on cases. Distributed to attorneys and/or parties, and the original is filed and placed in the court file.
Moot: A subject for argument; unsettled; undecided or no longer requiring decision. A moot point is one not settled by judicial decision.
Mortgage: (probate law) Any conveyance, agreement or arrangement in which property is encumbered or used as security.
Motion in Limine: A motion often used to limit or exclude specific evidence or a specific issue from a trial.
Motion to Set and Certificate of Readiness: A motion by any party to a lawsuit to cause a case to be set for trial, in which the party certifies readiness for trial.
Motion: A written application to the court to obtain a ruling, order or direction; a formal written request to the court asking that a specific action be taken.
Municipal Court (Limited Jurisdiction): A limited jurisdiction court that handles misdemeanor crimes and petty offenses and city ordinance and code violations and issues orders of protection and injunctions against harassment.
Municipal Court Judge: A person appointed to serve as a judge in a city court or municipality. Qualifications are set by the municipality, not necessarily required to be an attorney.
  N5
Neglect/Neglected: The inability or unwillingness of a parent, guardian or custodian of a child to provide that child with supervision, food, clothing, shelter or medical care if that inability or unwillingness causes substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare, except if the inability of a parent or guardian to provide services to meet the needs of a child with a disability or chronic illness is solely the result of the unavailability of reasonable services.
Net Income: Disposable earnings.
Next Best Friend: A person acting in a legal proceeding for the benefit of an infant or other person without being formally appointed as guardian.
No Bill: The opinion of the grand jury that evidence was insufficient to warrant the return of a formal charge.
No Bond Status: A defendant's status of ineligibility for pretrial release. This occurs in capital crimes and crimes where proof is evident and presumption great and in a case where there has been a previous failure to appear or a violation of probation or when a defendant commits a new crime while on release and proof is evident and presumption great.
No Contest Plea/Nolo Contendere: A plea whereby a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees not to contest the State's charges against him/her. A no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for sentencing.
Nolo Contendere: See "No Contest Plea/Nolo Contendre".
Non-Classified Civil: A category of civil cases for those types of cases that do not fit in the other specific categories; examples: quiet title actions, name changes.
Nonresident Decedent: A decedent who was domiciled in another jurisdiction at the time of the decedent's death.
Not Guilty Plea: A plea whereby a defendant denies guilt and the State must prove the criminal charges against him/her. The State is represented by the city or county prosecutor's office.
Notice of Appointment of Arbitrator: A notice sent by court administration to the parties that an arbitrator has been appointed.
Notice of Change of Judge/Commissioner for Cause: A document that proclaims a party's right to ask for a change in judicial officer due to an implied or perceived improper action committed by the judicial officer. These are handled by the departmental presiding judge.
Notice of Change of Judge: A document that proclaims the right of each side in any action pending in court, except Arizona Tax Court, to a change of one judge and one court commissioner. See Rule 42(f)(1)(A), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure and Rule 10.2, Rules of Criminal Procedure. The notice must be timely and filed and served by a party who has not waived the right.
Notice of Dismissal: A document filed by a plaintiff advising a defendant that a suit is being dropped.
Notice: A notation to the court that an action has taken place or that a document has been filed.
Nunc Pro Tunc: ("Now for then") Used in minute entries to give retroactive effect to acts as though they had been done previously. Usually used to correct an oversight or error.
  O5
Obligee: A person to whom support is owed.
Obligor: A person ordered to make support payments.
Omnibus Hearing: See "Pretrial Conference".
One Hundred-Fifty Day Minute EntryA minute entry issued by court administration on behalf of the civil presiding judge approximately 150 days after the initial filing of a complaint. The purpose is to move cases forward according to the rules and prepare cases for trial. The minute entry directs parties to file documents, most of which are required by Rule 38.1, Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure.
Oral Argument: A hearing at which parties have an opportunity to make oral presentations of their positions to the court.
Order of Assignment/Wage Assignment: A court order directing that deductions be taken from wages or other income to pay current or past due child support or spousal maintenance.
Order of Confinement/Commitment Order: An order needed to remand a defendant to the custody of the sheriff, prepared by the clerk and signed by the judge.
Order of Protection: A court order prohibiting a person from committing acts of domestic violence or contacting people protected by the order. Also provides several kinds of protective relief, such as removing firearms from the home, adding other people to the protective order and exclusive use of the home. The plaintiff and defendant must meet one of the following criteria for the relationship test: married now or in the past, live together now or lived together in the past, parent of a child in common, one party is pregnant by the other, or the parties are relatives (parent, in-law, brother, sister, or grandparent).
Order to Appear: (Commonly referred to as an Order to Show Cause) A legal document ordering a person to appear before the court and explain why the relief requested in a petition should not be granted.
Order to Show Cause (OSC): A court order requiring a party to appear in court and show cause why the party applying for the order should not have requested relief.
Order: A document signed by a judge/commissioner/hearing officer, enforceable by law.
Organization: A corporation, business trust, estate, trust, partnership, joint venture, association, government, governmental subdivision or agency or any other legal or commercial entity.
OSC (Order to Show Cause): A court order requiring a party to appear in court and show cause why the party applying for the order should not have requested relief.
Own Recognizance (O.R.): A release without the posting of any bond or security.
  P5
Paralegal: A person who assists a lawyer in duties related to the practice of law but is not a licensed attorney.
Parent: The lawful and natural father or mother of a person; the word does not mean grandparent or ancestor, but can include an adoptive parent as a replacement for a natural parent.
Parenting Time: (Commonly referred to as Visitation) The time that a parent is scheduled to spend with a child pursuant to court order.
Party: A person or governmental agency named in a case; a person engaged in a lawsuit; a plaintiff/petitioner or defendant/respondent.
Paternity: A court action to determine whether an alleged father is biologically the father of a child and, as such, responsible for support and entitled to parenting time or custody.
Payor: The person or agency who pays or is obligated to make periodic payments to an obligor; a trustee, insurer, business entity, employer, government, governmental agency or subdivision or any other person authorized or obligated by law or a governing instrument to make payments.
PCR (Post-Conviction Relief): A petition filed by a defendant after sentencing requesting a change in his sentence, a new trial, etc. A Rule 32 Petition is sometimes referred to as PCR.
Pendente Lite: "Pending litigation."
Person: A person or an organization.
Personal Representative: An executor, administrator, successor personal representative, special administrator and any person who performs substantially the same function under the law governing their status. A general personal representative excludes a special administrator.
Personalty: Personal property as distinguished from real property.
Petit (Trial) Jury: The group of people selected to decide the facts and render a verdict in a civil or criminal trial.
Petition for Dissolution: The initial pleading that allows a party to ask the court to end or dissolve a marriage.
Petition for Writ of Certiorari: A document which a losing party files with the Supreme Court asking the Supreme Court to review the decision of a lower court. It includes a list of the parties, a statement of facts of the case, the legal questions presented for review and arguments as to why the Court should grant the writ.
Petition: A legal form of pleading used to raise an issue to the court; a written request to the court for an order after notice. May take many forms, but the ultimate goal is the issuance of an order to appear requiring the parties to appear to litigate the issues in the petition. (juvenile law) A written statement of the essential facts that allege delinquency, incorrigibility or dependency.
Petitioner: A person bringing an action by petition rather than by complaint; the party who filed a petition with the court. The party who files the first petition in any action is deemed the petitioner for the pendency of the case, even though either party may file a petition on separate issues at later times under the same case number.
Plaintiff: The party who files a complaint or initiates a lawsuit.
Plea Bargain: A process between the accused and the prosecution to negotiate a mutually satisfactory outcome of the case.
Plea: The response of a defendant to the criminal charges stated.
Plea: Guilty Plea: A defendant's admission that he/she committed the acts charged in the complaint, that the acts are prohibited by law and that he/she has no legal defense for such acts.
Plea: No Contest Plea (Nolo Contendere): A plea whereby a defendant does not admit guilt but agrees not to contest the State's charges against him/her. A no contest plea is treated the same as a guilty plea for sentencing.
Plea: Not Guilty Plea: A plea whereby a defendant denies guilt and the State must prove the criminal charges against him/her. The State is represented by the city or county prosecutor's office.
Pleading: The formal written allegations setting forth the claims and defenses of the parties to a lawsuit.
Post Decree/Judgment: An action taking place in a case after the initial decree or judgment has been entered which would ordinarily have terminated the case.
Post-Conviction Relief (PCR): A petition filed by a defendant after sentencing requesting a change in his sentence, a new trial, etc. A Rule 32 Petition is sometimes referred to as PCR.
Pre-Decree/Judgment: An action taking place in a case prior to the entering or signing of a final decree or judgment which would terminate the case.
Preliminary Hearing: A hearing to determine probable cause.
Presentence Hearing: A hearing held prior to sentencing to provide the court with information that would either enhance or lessen a sentence. Also see "Aggravation/Mitigation Hearing".
Presentence Report: A report prepared by an Adult Probation Officer to aid the court at sentencing.
Presigned Waiver: A waiver, signed before a court of record, wherein a person gives his/her consent to be returned to the state when he/she is accused of committing a crime, escaping from confinement or breaking terms of bail, probation or parole.
Pretrial Conference: A hearing set 21 days prior to the date of a trial. A case status report is usually filed at this time. Pleas are considered, due dates for motions are determined and a firm trial date may be set. The court may vary this time frame in a number of ways depending on the judicial officer's individual preferences.
Prevention: The creation of conditions, opportunities and experiences that encourage the development of healthy, self-sufficient children and that occur before the onset of problems.
Prima Facie: A fact presumed to be true unless disproved by some other evidence.
Pro Bono Publico: For the welfare of the whole; an attorney may take a case "pro bono".
Pro Hac Vice (pro-hock-vee-chay): A request by an out-of-state attorney not admitted to practice in Arizona, through an Arizona attorney, to practice on a limited basis for a particular party/case. See Rule 33(d), Rules of the Supreme Court.
Pro Per/Pro Se: A person who does not hire a lawyer and appears for himself/herself in court.
Probable Cause: Reasonable grounds to believe that certain facts justify further police action, such as search and seizure or arrest.
Probate Registrar: The official of the court who handles all informal proceedings and appointments, affidavits of succession to real property, proof of authority bonds and other miscellaneous filings, and reviews files and issues minute entries as needed.
Proceeding: An action at law and suit in equity.
Property: Both real and personal property or any interest in real and personal property and anything that may be the subject of ownership.
Property: Community Property: Property, other than a gift or inheritance to one party, that spouses acquire during the marriage. Each spouse has a one-half interest in community property, regardless of who has title to it.
Property: Insurance: Certain types of insurance policies have a cash value, which can be divided between the spouses at the time of the divorce.
Property: Personal Property: Includes money, goods, chattels, dogs, things in action and evidences of debt. A.R.S. § 1-215.
Property: Real Property: Coextensive with lands, tenements and hereditaments. A.R.S. § 1-215.
Property: Retirement/Work Related Benefits: Any pension, profit sharing, 401K or retirement plan or IRA account which is given to a spouse by an employer. If these benefits are given during the marriage, the court may give each spouse a share in that benefit even though only one spouse's employer gave such benefits.
Property: Separate Property: Property that a spouse acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage through a gift or an inheritance. Separate property belongs entirely to that one spouse.
Protected Person: A minor or any other person for whom a conservator has been appointed or any other protective order has been made.
Protective Proceeding: A proceeding to determine that a person cannot effectively manage or apply his estate to necessary ends, either because he lacks the ability or is otherwise inconvenienced or because he is a minor, and to secure administration of his estate by a conservator or other appropriate relief.
Protective Supervision: Supervision ordered by the juvenile court of children who are found to be dependent or incorrigible.
Punitive Damages: Damages in excess of actual damages incurred by a plaintiff and awarded as a measure of punishment for a defendant's wrongful and malicious acts.
  Q5
QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order): A document signed by the court after a decree is granted ordering an employer to divide certain retirement/work-related benefits between the former spouses.
Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A document signed by the court after a decree is granted ordering an employer to divide certain retirement/work-related benefits between the former spouses.
Quash: (family law) To stop or end an order, commonly used in reference to an order of assignment. (criminal law) To nullify or make void a bench warrant or an order.
Quid Pro Quo: "Something for something."
Quiet Title Action: A suit to settle claims to rightful ownership of property.
  R5
Referee: A type of master appointed by a court to assist with certain proceedings.
Referral: (juvenile law) A report submitted to the juvenile court alleging that a child is dependent or incorrigible or that a juvenile has committed a delinquent or criminal act.
Registered: Applies to mail, includes certified mail.
Registrar: The official of the court designated to perform the functions of the registrar.
Release Order: An order prepared by the clerk and signed by the judge releasing a defendant from custody.
Remand: (civil law, family law) To send a case back to another court or agency for further action. (criminal law) To return a case to a lower court or grand jury for further proceedings.
Remittitur: To reduce the amount of a verdict when damages awarded by the jury appear to be excessive.
Replevin Action: A suit in which an owner seeks to regain possession of specific personal property that has been taken or held by another party.
Request for Assignment: A request for an order of assignment to deduct from an obligor's wages in order to pay support.
Request to Stop: A motion to quash as it relates to a wage assignment.
Resolution Management Conference: An initial hearing before a judicial officer in an effort to resolve issues prior to the final entry of decree or judgment in a contested case.
Respondent: The receiving or defendant party in a case; a person who answers a petition.
Response/Answer: A written reply to any document requesting court action.
Revocation Arraignment: A hearing based on a petition to revoke probation filed by a Probation Officer, to give the probationer an opportunity to admit or deny such allegations.
Revoke: To cancel or nullify a legal document.
Rule 11 Prescreen: A hearing to determine if a formal Rule 11 hearing needs to be conducted in order to determine if a defendant is competent to help in his/her defense at trial or was incompetent at the time of the commission of the offense. A formal Rule 11 hearing is held before a criminal court commissioner.
Rule 26.5 Hearing: A hearing to determine a defendant's mental condition, ability to be rehabilitated and/or risk to the community. A Rule 26.5 report is prepared for sentencing purposes.
Rule 32: See "Post-Conviction Relief".
Rule 609 Hearing: A hearing to determine if a witness's prior conviction can be used to impeach his testimony. This includes defense and prosecution witnesses and the defendant.
  S5
Sanction: A penalty or punishment provided as a means of enforcing obedience to a law.
Search Warrant: An order, in writing, issued by a justice or other magistrate in the name of the State, directed to a sheriff, constable or other officer, commanding him/her to search a specified house, shop or other premises.
Secure Care: Confinement in a facility that is completely surrounded by a locked and physically secure barrier with restricted ingress and egress.
Secured Appearance Bond: A bond secured by a specific amount of money to ensure a defendant's presence at required court proceedings.
Security: May be cash, a paper bond, through a bondsman or any property of value deposited with the clerk to secure an appearance bond. The value of such property shall be determined by the Clerk of the Court. (probate law) Any note; stock; treasury stock; bond; debenture; evidence of indebtedness; certificate of interest or participation in an oil, gas or mining title or lease or in payments out of production under that title or lease; collateral trust certificate; transferable share or voting trust certificate and, in general, any interest or instrument commonly known as a security or certificate of interest or participation or temporary or interim certificate, receipt or certificate of deposit for or any warrant or right to subscribe to or purchase any of these securities.
Sentence: The judgment by the court and imposition of a penalty upon a defendant after a determination of guilt by plea or verdict.
Sentencing Hearing: A hearing held to formally pronounce sentence upon a defendant.
Separate Property: Property that a spouse acquired before the marriage, or during the marriage through a gift or an inheritance. Separate property belongs entirely to that one spouse.
Serious Emotional Injury: An injury that is diagnosed by a medical doctor or a psychologist that includes one or a combination of the following: seriously impairs mental faculties; causes serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal or social dysfunctional behavior to the extent that the child suffers dysfunction that requires treatment; is the result of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation of a child, child prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor or incest.
Serious Physical Injury: An injury that is diagnosed by a medical doctor and that does any one or a combination of the following: creates a reasonable risk of death; causes serious or permanent disfigurement; causes significant physical pain; causes serious impairment of health; causes the loss or protracted impairment of an organ or limb; is the result of sexual abuse, sexual conduct with a minor, sexual assault, molestation, child prostitution, commercial sexual exploitation of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor or incest.
Service/Service of Process: The legally required method of delivering notice or documents; the delivery of a summons, subpoena, writ or other legal document to the opposing party in a lawsuit. The most common method of service is personal service by a private process server or the sheriff. Process servers are listed in the yellow pages. Other methods of service are available.
Set Aside: (expungement) To annul or vacate a judgment or order.
Settlement: (probate law) As it relates to a decedent's estate, includes the full process of administration, distribution and closing. (civil law) No agreement or consent between parties or attorneys in any matter is binding if disputed, unless made in writing or orally in open court or entered in the minutes. See Rule 80(d), Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure. (family law) Agreements between parties shall be binding if they are in writing or made or confirmed on the record before a judge, commissioner, judge pro tempore, court reporter or other person authorized by local rule or administrative order to accept such agreements. See Rule 69, Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure.
Sexually Violent Person: An inmate serving a sentence in prison for a sexual crime and determined by a medical professional to be a "potentially violent person" under A.R.S. § 13-4603.
Shelter Care: The temporary care of a child in any public or private facility or home that is licensed by this state and that offers a physically nonsecure environment that is characterized by the absence of physically restricting construction or hardware and that provides the child access to the surrounding community.
Simplified Modification: A procedure in which a person paying or receiving child support attempts to show that, because of a change in circumstances, the current child support order should be modified.
Special Action: A special review of lower court decisions that is available only when an appeal would not be an adequate remedy.
Special Administrator: A person appointed informally by the registrar on the application of any interested person when necessary to protect the estate of a decedent prior to the appointment of a general personal representative or if a prior appointment has been terminated. In a formal proceeding by order of the court on the petition of any interested person and finding, after notice and hearing, that appointment is necessary to preserve the estate or to secure its proper administration including its administration in circumstances where a general personal representative cannot or should not act. If it appears to the court that an emergency exists, appointment may be ordered without notice. The appointment of a special administrator terminates in accordance with the provisions of the order of appointment or on the appointment of a general personal representative or is subject to termination as provided in the statutes.
Special Master: A person appointed by the court to help parents resolve disputes about what is best for a child.
Spousal Maintenance: (Commonly referred to as Alimony) Court ordered monies paid from one spouse to the other.
State: A state, district, territory, possession or commonwealth of the United States.
Stay: A temporary stop or delay in a judicial proceeding.
Stipulation: An agreement or joint motion between the parties in a lawsuit or legal action.
Strike List: Used when a case is on the arbitration calendar. A document mailed to parties allowing them to strike or delete the names of those persons whom they do not want to be appointed as arbitrator.
Strike: To delete or cancel.
Subpoena Duces Tecum: An order to a witness to produce documents.
Subpoena: An order to a witness to appear and give testimony in court or at a deposition; an order to appear in court.
Subrogation: The substitution of one person for another as a credit.
Subsequent Employer: Any employer, other than the first employer of an obligor upon whom an order of assignment (wage assignment) has been served. A subsequent employer must honor the order of assignment as the first employer did.
Successor Personal Representative: A personal representative, other than a special administrator, who is appointed to succeed a previously appointed personal representative.
Successors: Persons, other than creditors, that are entitled to property of a decedent under a will or this title.
Summons: Written notification served on a person warning that person to answer or appear in court within a specified period of time; a document ordering a party to appear in court by way of a filed answer.
Superior Court (General Jurisdiction): A general jurisdiction court; has the authority to hear all legal actions not exclusively assigned to another court.
Supersedeas Bond: A bond that a court requires from an appellant who wants to delay payment of a judgment until the appeal is over.
Supervening Indictment: An indictment issued when a defendant has had an initial appearance, and the case has been set for a preliminary hearing in justice court, but meanwhile the State has indicted the defendant by grand jury proceedings. All justice court proceedings are therefore vacated.
Supervised Administration: A proceeding to secure complete administration and settlement of a decedent's estate under the continuing authority of the court which extends until entry of an order approving distribution of the estate and discharging the personal representative or other order terminating the proceeding. A supervised personal representative is responsible to the court, as well as to the interested parties, and is subject to directions concerning the estate made by the court on its own motion or on the motion of any interested party. A supervised personal representative has the same duties and powers as a personal representative who is not supervised.
Supervised Parenting Time: Parenting time by a parent with that parent's child while another adult, usually a person other than the custodial parent, is present.
Supervised Release: The release of a defendant on his/her own recognizance, subject to the supervision, restrictions and conditions of the Pretrial Services Agency.
Support Order: Any order entered by the court for the payment of support. Support may include payment for medical, dental and other health care; child care and education expenses as well as spousal maintenance.
Suppress: To forbid the use of evidence at a trial because it is improper or was improperly obtained.
Supreme Court: The highest court in the State of Arizona; the Court of Last Resort; hears cases appealed to the supreme court from lower courts and death penalty cases from superior court.
Surety: One, other than the person released, who executes an appearance bond and binds himself/herself to pay its amount if the person released fails to comply with its condition.
Survive: A person has neither predeceased an event, including the death of another person, nor is deemed to have predeceased an event.
  T5
TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families): State financial assistance to low income families.
Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF): State financial assistance to low income families.
Temporary Order: An order issued by the court to establish certain issues until a final judgment or decree is entered.
Temporary Restraining Order (TRO): An emergency order forbidding a party from taking an action in a case; an emergency order restricting a party or parties from committing a threatened act until a hearing is held on the issues. Common reasons for a TRO would be to forbid the sale of property, disposal of assets or removal of a child from the jurisdiction.
Termination of Parental Rights: A judicial order ending a parent's legal relationship with that parent's child.
Testacy Proceeding: A proceeding to establish a will or determine intestacy.
Testator/Testatrix (male/female): One who has made a legally valid will before death.
Third-Party Complaint: A complaint filed by a defendant, as a third-party plaintiff, against a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to the third-party plaintiff for all or part of the plaintiff's complaint against the third-party plaintiff.
Third-Party Release: Release of a defendant under the supervision of a third party in accordance with the court's order. The third party shall use every effort to assure the appearance of a defendant at all scheduled hearings; immediate notification to the court if a defendant violates any conditions of release or disappears.
Title 36 Guardianship: A guardianship appointed for a person found to be gravely disabled as a result of a mental disorder in a proceeding for that purpose under Arizona's mental health statutes.
Tort Motor Vehicle Action: Any action for damages for personal injury, property damage or wrongful death arising out of an automobile accident, collision or other operation of a motor vehicle.
Tort Non-Motor Vehicle Action: Any tort action not included under tort motor vehicle except medical malpractice and breach of contract actions. Examples: libel and slander, personal injury, fraud and property damage resulting from other than operation of a motor vehicle.
Tort: A civil (not criminal) wrong committed by one person against another; a violation of a legal duty that one person has toward another, except when it involves breach of contract.
Transcript: The official verbatim record of testimony at a trial or hearing taken by a court reporter.
Trial de Novo: A new trial or retrial held in an appellate court in which the entire case is heard as if no trial had been heard in the lower court or administrative agency.
Trial: A proceeding in court to decide a controversy whereat parties may be called upon to testify and evidence is taken; may be to the court (before only a judge) or to a jury; a court hearing when all contested issues are presented to the judge for a decision.
TRO (Temporary Restraining Order): An emergency order forbidding a party from taking an action in a case; an emergency order restricting a party or parties from committing a threatened act until a hearing is held on the issues. Common reasons for a TRO would be to forbid the sale of property, disposal of assets or removal of a child from the jurisdiction.
True Bill: An indictment returned by the grand jury.
Trust: Includes an express trust, private or charitable, with any additions, wherever and however created. Also includes a trust created or determined by judgment or decree under which the trust is to be administered in the manner of an express trust.
Trustee: A person or organization appointed to manage a trust.
  U5
UCCJEA (Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act): A law that helps the court determine which state has jurisdiction regarding custody.
Uncontested: Matters before the court in which parties have not expressed disagreements.
Under Advisement: After hearing oral argument, the judge may rule while on the bench or later in chambers. When ruling later in chambers, the matter is referred to as "taken under advisement."
Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA): A law that helps the court determine which state has jurisdiction regarding custody.
Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement Act (URESA): A law that provides a way to establish and enforce support obligations when the obligor lives in one state and the obligee and child live in another, allowing one state to honor and enforce another state's orders. Reciprocal matters involving both interstate and local support issues in this state are commonly handled by the Attorney General's Office.
Unsecured Appearance Bond: A bond that is not secured by any deposit of or lien upon property.
URESA (Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement Act): A law that provides a way to establish and enforce support obligations when the obligor lives in one state and the obligee and child live in another, allowing one state to honor and enforce another state's orders. Reciprocal matters involving both interstate and local support issues in this state are commonly handled by the Attorney General's Office.
  V5
Vacate: To remove a hearing from the court's calendar.
Venue: The county, city, judicial district or geographical area over which a certain court has power to exercise jurisdiction.
Violation Hearing: A hearing to determine whether a probationer has violated a written condition or regulation of probation.
Visitation: (Now referred to as Parenting Time or Access) The amount of time established by the court that a child spends with a non-custodial parent or grandparent.
Voir Dire: The jury selection phase of a trial; a preliminary examination of a prospective juror by a judge or lawyer to decide whether the prospect is qualified and suitable to serve on a jury.
Voluntariness Hearing: A hearing to determine whether or not a defendant's statements to a police officer were made involuntarily.
  W5
Wage Assignment: (family law) A court order to attach a person's pay check for payment of child support, spousal maintenance or arrearages of child support or spousal maintenance.
Waived Fees: Court fees that are not required to be paid because of the financial condition or situation of the party.
Ward: A person for whom a guardian has been appointed.
Warrant for Immediate Production: (Formerly known as a Writ of Habeas Corpus in family court) An action of one party attempting to retrieve a child from another party. Oftentimes, a party without proper authority to have a child will remove the child from the proper jurisdiction and bring the child to Arizona. The party with authority to have custody will follow and attempt to retrieve the child by filing their orders with the Clerk of the Court (domesticating a foreign judgment) and approaching the judicial officer with a request to have the child returned.
Warrant: An order to law enforcement to take a person into custody.
Will: Includes codicil and any testamentary instrument that merely appoints an executor, revokes or revises another will, nominates a guardian or expressly excludes or limits the right of a person or class to succeed to property of the decedent passing by intestate succession.
With Prejudice: Charges dismissed "with" prejudice cannot be re-filed against a defendant. See "Dismissal with Prejudice".
Without Prejudice: Charges dismissed "without" prejudice can be re-filed against a defendant. See "Dismissal without Prejudice".
Witness: One who testifies under oath at a trial or hearing about what he/she has seen, heard, knows or has an opinion about.
Writ of Certiorari: A writ by which an appellant seeks the review of a case by the Supreme Court of the United States. When the writ is granted, the court orders the lower court to send up the record of the case for review.
Writ of Execution: A writ to put in force the judgment or decree of the court.
Writ of Garnishment: (civil law) A court order to a lending institution or employer to attach a person's bank accounts or pay check for monies to repay a debt.
Writ of Habeas Corpus: An independent proceeding instituted to determine whether a defendant is being deprived unlawfully of his/her liberty; a procedure triggered by a defendant who attempts to show that his/her imprisonment is unlawful.
Writ of Replevin: A court order authorizing an officer to seize and hold the property involved in a suit of replevin.
Writ of Restitution: When the court orders a defendant to vacate the premises, the court also will order a writ of restitution issue on a specified date. This order is entered in the event the tenant refuses to move. In this event, the Clerk of the Court is authorized to issue a writ of restitution to the sheriff commanding him/her to forcibly remove the tenant and restore possession of the property to the plaintiff.
Writ: A formal order of the court ordering a person to do or not to do something.
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