Bailiff: A court attendant whose duties are to keep order in the courtroom,
to carry out court instructions, to take care of your requests, and to
see that you are comfortable and well informed.
Challenge for Cause: A challenge for cause is an objection made by a
party to a juror that automatically disqualifies the juror from serving
as a juror in that case, or which in the opinion of the court renders
the juror unfit to sit on the jury. Upon such challenge the examination
is not confined to the answers of the juror, but other evidence may be
heard for or against the challenge.
Charge of the Court: The questions that the jury must
decide involving the case.
Clerk of Court: Court official who keeps track of court
files, records, and exhibits.
Court Reporter: A person who by shorthand or stenograph
takes down testimony during court proceedings.
Counsel: One or more lawyers who represent a client.
Defendant: In a civil case, the person being sued. In
a criminal case, the person charged with having committed a crime.
Deliberations: The process by which a jury reaches a
verdict, as by analyzing, discussing, and weighing the evidence.
Exhibit: A document, record, or other tangible object
formally introduced as evidence in court.
Foreperson: The juror who chairs the jury during deliberations
and speaks for the jury in court by announcing the verdict. The presiding
is usually elected by the jury at the start of deliberations.
Jury Pool: A panel of presumably qualified persons who have
been summoned for jury duty and from among whom the jurors are to be
Jury Summons: A command sent out by the court, requiring
a prospective jury to appear for jury duty.
Litigant: A party to a lawsuit.
Objection: The act of a party during a trial to call
attention to some matter or proceeding that may be improper.
Peremptory Challenge: A peremptory challenge is an objection
made to a prospective juror without giving a specific reason for the
A specified number of peremptory challenges are automatically accepted
by the court and are an important part of the process of obtaining a
fair and impartial jury.
Plaintiff: A person who brings a court action; the party
who complains or sues in a personal action.
Poll: To ask how each member of a group individually
voted. Typically, the court clerk will call the names of each individual
juror to record
his or her vote for the record.
Testimony: Evidence given by a witness, under oath.
Verdict: A jury’s finding or decision on the factual
issues of a case.
Voir Dire: To speak the truth. The phrase denotes
the preliminary examination the court or lawyers may make of a prospective
juror to determine the
qualifications of the witness or juror.