Chapter 8 Vocab (Book)
• Trial: In Criminal Proceedings, the examination in court of the issues of fact and relevant law in
a case for the purpose of convicting or acquitting the defendant.
• Courtroom Work Group: The professional courtroom actors, including judges, prosecuting
attorneys, defense attorneys, public defenders, and others who earn a living serving the court.
• Judge:An elected or appointed public official who presides over a court of law and who is
authorized to hear and sometimes to decide cases and to conduct trials.
• Prosecutor:An attorney whose official duty is to conduct criminal proceedings on behalf of the
state or the people against those accused of having committed criminal offenses.
• Prosecutorial Discretion: The decision making power of prosecutors, based on the wide range of
choices available to them, in the handling of criminal defendants, the scheduling of cases for
trial, the acceptance of negotiated pleas, and so on. The most important form of prosecutorial
discretion lies in the power to charge, or not to charge, a person with an offense.
• Exculpatory evidence:Any information having a tendency to clear a person of guilt or blame.
• Defense Counsel:Alicensed trial lawyer, hired or appointed to conduct the legal defense of a
person accused of a crime and to represnet him or her before a court of law.
• Public Defender: an attorney employed by a government agency or subagency, or by a private
organization under contract to a government body, for the purpose of providing defense services
to indigents, or an attorney who has volunteered such service.
• Bailiff: The court officer whose duties are to keep order in the courtroom, to secure witnesses,
and to maintain physical custody of the jury.
• Expert Witness:Aperson who has special knowledge and skills recognized by the court as
relevant to the determination of guilt or innocence. Unlike lay witnesses, expert witnesses may
express opinions or draw conclusions in their testimony.
• Lay Witness:An eyewitness, character witness, or other person called on the testify who is not
considered an expert. Lay witnesses must testify to facts only and may not draw conclusions or
• Subpoena:Awritten order issued by a judicial officer or grand jury requiring an individual to
appear in court and to give testimony or to bring material to be used as evidence. Some
subpoenas mandate that books, papers, and other items be surrendered to the court.
• VictimsAssistance Program: An organized program that offfers suervices to victims of crime in
the areas of crisis intervention and follow up counseling and that helps victims secure their
rights under the law.
• Juror:Amember of a trial or grand jury who has been selected for jury duty and is required to
serve as an arbiter of the facts in a court of law. Jurors are expected to render verdicts of guilty
or not guilty as the the charges brought against the accused, although they may sometimes fail
to do so.
• Change of Venue: The movement of a trial or lawsuit from one jurisdiction to another or from
one location to another within the same jurisdiction.Achange of venue may be made in a
criminal case to ensure that the defendant receives a fair trial.
• Rules of Evidence: The court rules that govern the admissibility of evidence at criminal
hearings and trials.
• Adversarial System: The two-sided structure under whichAmerican criminal t