A penalty or other type of enforcement used to bring about compliance with the law or with rules and regulations.
Lists submitted by the debtor along with the petition (or shortly thereafter) showing the debtor’s assets, liabilities, and other financial information. (There are official forms a debtor must use.)
A court order mandating that a record be closed from public view.
An order issued by a court upon a finding of probable cause directing the search of a particular location for a particular item(s).
A secured creditor is an individual or business that holds a claim against the debtor that is secured by a lien on property of the estate. The property subject to the lien is the secured creditor’s collateral.
Debt backed by a mortgage, pledge of collateral, or other lien; debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue specific pledged property upon default. Examples include home mortgages, auto loans and tax liens.
The protection of one’s property or person against some injury attempted by another. The law of self-defense justifies an act done in reasonable belief of immediate danger.
A federal judge who, after attaining the requisite age and length of judicial experience, takes senior status, thus creating a vacancy among a court’s active judges. A senior judge retains the judicial office and may cut back his or her workload by as much as 75 percent, but many opt to keep a larger caseload.
The punishment ordered by a court for a defendant convicted of a crime.
A set of rules and principles established by the United States Sentencing Commission that trial judges use to determine the sentence for a convicted defendant.
The delivery of writs or summonses to the appropriate party.
Parties to a lawsuit resolve their dispute without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in at least partial satisfaction of the other party’s claims, but usually do not include the admission of fault.
To separate. Sometimes juries are sequestered from outside influences during their deliberations.
A special type of chapter 11 case in which there is no creditors’ committee (or the creditors’ committee is deemed inactive by the court) and in which the debtor is subject to more oversight by the U.S. trustee than other chapter 11 debtors. The Bankruptcy Code contains certain provisions designed to reduce the time a small business debtor is in bankruptcy.
A series of questions the debtor must answer in writing concerning sources of income, transfers of property, lawsuits by creditors, etc. (There is an official form a debtor must use.)
A declaration made by a chapter 7 debtor concerning plans for dealing with consumer debts that are secured by property of the estate.
Degree of proof required. In criminal cases, prosecutors must prove a defendant’s guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The majority of civil lawsuits require proof “by a preponderance of the evidence” (50 percent plus), but in some the standard is higher and requires “clear and convincing” proof.
A law passed by a legislature or a formal rule of law enacted by a governmental body.
The time within which a lawsuit must be filed or a criminal prosecution begun. The deadline can vary, depending on the type of civil case or the crime charged.
A court order that suspends a case or some designated proceedings within it. To “stay” an order or decree means to hold it in abeyance or refrain from enforcing it.
An agreement by adversaries as to any matter pertaining to the proceedings or trial. Must be assented to by the parties and in writing.
Latin, meaning “of its own will.” Often refers to a court taking an action in a case without being asked to do so by either side.
The act or process by which a person’s rights or claims are ranked below those of others.
A command, issued under a court’s authority, to a witness to appear and give testimony.
A command to a witness to appear and produce documents.
A special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to undergo testing and treatment for abuse of illegal drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol. Treatment may include inpatient or outpatient counseling and detoxification.
The characterization of a bankruptcy case filed by an individual whose debts are primarily consumer debts where the court finds that the granting of relief would be an abuse of chapter 7 because, for example, the debtor can pay its debts.
Putting the assets and liabilities of two or more related debtors into a single pool to pay creditors. (Courts are reluctant to allow substantive consolidation since the action must not only justify the benefit that one set of creditors receives, but also the harm that other creditors suffer as a result.)
A decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial. It is used when it is not necessary to resolve any factual disputes in the case. Summary judgment is granted when – on the undisputed facts in the record – one party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
A process issued by a local court directing a person to appear before it at a designated future time in connection with a particular proceeding.
Term of supervision served after a person is released from prison. The court imposes supervised release during sentencing in addition to the sentence of imprisonment. Unlike parole, supervised release does not replace a portion of the sentence of imprisonment but is in addition to the time spent in prison. U.S. probation officers supervise people on supervised release.
A pretrial hearing in a criminal matter upon a motion to exclude evidence in which the judge must decide whether or not improper procedures were used to obtain evidence.