Chapter 31 The Attorney General
Chapter 33 Federal Bureau of Investigation
Chapter 35 United States Attorneys
Chapter 37 United States Marshals Service
Chapter 39 United States Trustees
Chapter 40 Independent Counsel
Chapter 40A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Terms Used In U.S. Code > Title 28 > Part II

  • Adjournment sine die: The end of a legislative session "without day." These adjournments are used to indicate the final adjournment of an annual or the two-year session of legislature.
  • Advice and consent: Under the Constitution, presidential nominations for executive and judicial posts take effect only when confirmed by the Senate, and international treaties become effective only when the Senate approves them by a two-thirds vote.
  • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
  • Affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
  • agency: includes any department, independent establishment, commission, administration, authority, board or bureau of the United States or any corporation in which the United States has a proprietary interest, unless the context shows that such term was intended to be used in a more limited sense. See 38 USC 3681
  • Agent of a foreign power: means --

    (1) any person other than a United States person, who--

    (A) acts in the United States as an officer or employee of a foreign power, or as a member of a foreign power as defined in subsection (a)(4), irrespective of whether the person is inside the United States. See 50 USC 1801

  • Aggrieved person: means a person who is the target of an electronic surveillance or any other person whose communications or activities were subject to electronic surveillance. See 50 USC 1801
  • Allegation: something that someone says happened.
  • Amendment: A proposal to alter the text of a pending bill or other measure by striking out some of it, by inserting new language, or both. Before an amendment becomes part of the measure, thelegislature must agree to it.
  • Amortization: Paying off a loan by regular installments.
  • Appeal: A request made after a trial, asking another court (usually the court of appeals) to decide whether the trial was conducted properly. To make such a request is "to appeal" or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the appellant.
  • Appraisal: A determination of property value.
  • Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
  • Arrest: Taking physical custody of a person by lawful authority.
  • Assets: (1) The property comprising the estate of a deceased person, or (2) the property in a trust account.
  • association: when used in reference to a corporation, shall be deemed to embrace the words "successors and assigns of such company or association" in like manner as if these last-named words, or words of similar import, were expressed. See 19 USC 2295
  • Attachment: A procedure by which a person's property is seized to pay judgments levied by the court.
  • Attorney General: means the Attorney General of the United States (or Acting Attorney General), the Deputy Attorney General, or, upon the designation of the Attorney General, the Assistant Attorney General designated as the Assistant Attorney General for National Security under section 507A of title 28. See 50 USC 1801
  • Attorney-in-fact: A person who, acting as an agent, is given written authorization by another person to transact business for him (her) out of court.
  • Bankruptcy: Refers to statutes and judicial proceedings involving persons or businesses that cannot pay their debts and seek the assistance of the court in getting a fresh start. Under the protection of the bankruptcy court, debtors may discharge their debts, perhaps by paying a portion of each debt. Bankruptcy judges preside over these proceedings.
  • Beneficiary: A person who is entitled to receive the benefits or proceeds of a will, trust, insurance policy, retirement plan, annuity, or other contract. Source: OCC
  • Bequest: Property gifted by will.
  • Civil forfeiture: The loss of ownership of property used to conduct illegal activity.
  • Complaint: A written statement by the plaintiff stating the wrongs allegedly committed by the defendant.
  • Concurrent resolution: A legislative measure, designated "S. Con. Res." and numbered consecutively upon introduction, generally employed to address the sentiments of both chambers, to deal with issues or matters affecting both houses, such as a concurrent budget resolution, or to create a temporary joint committee. Concurrent resolutions are not submitted to the President/Governor and thus do not have the force of law.
  • Conferees: Legislators appointed to serve on conference committees. They are also called "managers." Conferees are usually appointed from the committee or committees that reported the legislation; they are expected to try and uphold their chamber's position on measures when they negotiate with conferees from the other chamber.
  • Conference committee: A temporary, ad hoc panel composed of conferees from both chamber of a legislature which is formed for the purpose of reconciling differences in legislation that has passed both chambers. Conference committees are usually convened to resolve bicameral differences on major and controversial legislation.
  • Conference report: The compromise product negotiated by the conference committee. The "conference report" is submitted to each chamber for its consideration, such as approval or disapproval.
  • Contents: when used with respect to a communication, includes any information concerning the identity of the parties to such communication or the existence, substance, purport, or meaning of that communication. See 50 USC 1801
  • Contract: A legal written agreement that becomes binding when signed.
  • Conviction: A judgement of guilt against a criminal defendant.
  • Corporation: A legal entity owned by the holders of shares of stock that have been issued, and that can own, receive, and transfer property, and carry on business in its own name.
  • county: includes a parish, or any other equivalent subdivision of a State or Territory of the United States. See 19 USC 2292
  • court of the United States: includes the Supreme Court of the United States, courts of appeals, district courts constituted by chapter 5 of this title, including the Court of International Trade and any court created by Act of Congress the judges of which are entitled to hold office during good behavior. See 38 USC 3681
  • Damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
  • Deed: The legal instrument used to transfer title in real property from one person to another.
  • Defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
  • department: means one of the executive departments enumerated in section 1 of Title 5, unless the context shows that such term was intended to describe the executive, legislative, or judicial branches of the government. See 38 USC 3681
  • Dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
  • Devise: To gift property by will.
  • Discovery: Lawyers' examination, before trial, of facts and documents in possession of the opponents to help the lawyers prepare for trial.
  • Dismissal: The dropping of a case by the judge without further consideration or hearing. Source:
  • Donor: The person who makes a gift.
  • Electronic surveillance: means --

    (1) the acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or radio communication sent by or intended to be received by a particular, known United States person who is in the United States, if the contents are acquired by intentionally targeting that United States person, under circumstances in which a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a warrant would be required for law enforcement purposes. See 50 USC 1801

  • En banc: In the bench or "full bench." Refers to court sessions with the entire membership of a court participating rather than the usual quorum. U.S. courts of appeals usually sit in panels of three judges, but may expand to a larger number in certain cases. They are then said to be sitting en banc.
  • Entitlement: A Federal program or provision of law that requires payments to any person or unit of government that meets the eligibility criteria established by law. Entitlements constitute a binding obligation on the part of the Federal Government, and eligible recipients have legal recourse if the obligation is not fulfilled. Social Security and veterans' compensation and pensions are examples of entitlement programs.
  • Equitable: Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law." In English legal history, the courts of "law" could order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy. See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g., injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases. Source: U.S. Courts
  • Escheat: Reversion of real or personal property to the state when 1) a person dies without leaving a will and has no heirs, or 2) when the property (such as a bank account) has been inactive for a certain period of time. Source: OCC
  • Evidence: Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case for one side or the other.
  • Fair market value: The price at which an asset would change hands in a transaction between a willing, informed buyer and a willing, informed seller.
  • Felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Fixed Rate: Having a "fixed" rate means that the APR doesn't change based on fluctuations of some external rate (such as the "Prime Rate"). In other words, a fixed rate is a rate that is not a variable rate. A fixed APR can change over time, in several circumstances:
    • You are late making a payment or commit some other default, triggering an increase to a penalty rate
    • The bank changes the terms of your account and you do not reject the change.
    • The rate expires (if the rate was fixed for only a certain period of time).
  • Foreclosure: A legal process in which property that is collateral or security for a loan may be sold to help repay the loan when the loan is in default. Source: OCC
  • foreign commerce: as used in this title , includes commerce with a foreign country. See 40 USC 5103
  • Foreign intelligence information: means --

    (1) information that relates to, and if concerning a United States person is necessary to, the ability of the United States to protect against--

    (A) actual or potential attack or other grave hostile acts of a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. See 50 USC 1801

  • Foreign power: means --

    (1) a foreign government or any component thereof, whether or not recognized by the United States. See 50 USC 1801

  • Fraud: Intentional deception resulting in injury to another.
  • Gift: A voluntary transfer or conveyance of property without consideration, or for less than full and adequate consideration based on fair market value.
  • Grand jury: agreement providing that a lender will delay exercising its rights (in the case of a mortgage,
  • Guardian: A person legally empowered and charged with the duty of taking care of and managing the property of another person who because of age, intellect, or health, is incapable of managing his (her) own affairs.
  • Impeachment: (1) The process of calling something into question, as in "impeaching the testimony of a witness." (2) The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may "impeach" (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government for trial in the Senate.
  • Indictment: The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies.
  • individual: shall include every infant member of the species homo sapiens who is born alive at any stage of development. See 19 USC 2297
  • Injunction: An order of the court prohibiting (or compelling) the performance of a specific act to prevent irreparable damage or injury.
  • Interest rate: The amount paid by a borrower to a lender in exchange for the use of the lender's money for a certain period of time. Interest is paid on loans or on debt instruments, such as notes or bonds, either at regular intervals or as part of a lump sum payment when the issue matures. Source: OCC
  • International terrorism: means activities that--

    (1) involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or any State. See 50 USC 1801

  • Joint committee: Committees including membership from both houses of teh legislature. Joint committees are usually established with narrow jurisdictions and normally lack authority to report legislation.
  • Joint resolution: A legislative measure which requires the approval of both chambers.
  • judicial district: means the districts enumerated in Chapter 5 of this title. See 38 USC 3681
  • Jurisdiction: (1) The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a case. Concurrent jurisdiction exists when two courts have simultaneous responsibility for the same case. (2) The geographic area over which the court has authority to decide cases.
  • Juror: A person who is on the jury.
  • Lease: A contract transferring the use of property or occupancy of land, space, structures, or equipment in consideration of a payment (e.g., rent). Source: OCC
  • Liabilities: The aggregate of all debts and other legal obligations of a particular person or legal entity.
  • Lien: A claim against real or personal property in satisfaction of a debt.
  • Litigation: A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and defendants) in lawsuits are called litigants.
  • Magistrate judges: Judicial officers who assist U.S. district judges in getting cases ready for trial, who may decide some criminal and civil trials when both parties agree to have the case heard by a magistrate judge instead of a judge.
  • Majority leader: see Floor Leaders
  • marriage: means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. See 19 USC 2296
  • Minority leader: See Floor Leaders
  • Misdemeanor: Usually a petty offense, a less serious crime than a felony, punishable by less than a year of confinement.
  • Mortgage: The written agreement pledging property to a creditor as collateral for a loan.
  • Mortgage loan: A loan made by a lender to a borrower for the financing of real property. Source: OCC
  • Mortgagee: The person to whom property is mortgaged and who has loaned the money.
  • Mortgagor: The person who pledges property to a creditor as collateral for a loan and who receives the money.
  • oath: includes affirmation, and "sworn" includes affirmed. See 19 USC 2291
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.
  • officer: includes any person authorized by law to perform the duties of the office. See 19 USC 2291
  • organization: means a person other than an individual. See
  • Oversight: Committee review of the activities of a Federal agency or program.
  • Partnership: A voluntary contract between two or more persons to pool some or all of their assets into a business, with the agreement that there will be a proportional sharing of profits and losses.
  • Person: means any individual, including any officer or employee of the Federal Government, or any group, entity, association, corporation, or foreign power. See 50 USC 1801
  • Personal property: All property that is not real property.
  • Plaintiff: The person who files the complaint in a civil lawsuit.
  • Plea: In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges, a declaration made in open court.
  • Power of attorney: A written instrument which authorizes one person to act as another's agent or attorney. The power of attorney may be for a definite, specific act, or it may be general in nature. The terms of the written power of attorney may specify when it will expire. If not, the power of attorney usually expires when the person granting it dies. Source: OCC
  • Precedent: A court decision in an earlier case with facts and law similar to a dispute currently before a court. Precedent will ordinarily govern the decision of a later similar case, unless a party can show that it was wrongly decided or that it differed in some significant way.
  • President pro tempore: A constitutionally recognized officer of the Senate who presides over the chamber in the absence of the Vice President. The President Pro Tempore (or, "president for a time") is elected by the Senate and is, by custom, the Senator of the majority party with the longest record of continuous service.
  • Probable cause: A reasonable ground for belief that the offender violated a specific law.
  • Probation: A sentencing alternative to imprisonment in which the court releases convicted defendants under supervision as long as certain conditions are observed.
  • Probation officers: Screen applicants for pretrial release and monitor convicted offenders released under court supervision.
  • Prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
  • Public debt: Cumulative amounts borrowed by the Treasury Department or the Federal Financing Bank from the public or from another fund or account. The public debt does not include agency debt (amounts borrowed by other agencies of the Federal Government). The total public debt is subject to a statutory limit.
  • Public law: A public bill or joint resolution that has passed both chambers and been enacted into law. Public laws have general applicability nationwide.
  • Ranking minority member: The highest ranking (and usually longest serving) minority member of a committee or subcommittee.
  • Real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
  • Recourse: An arrangement in which a bank retains, in form or in substance, any credit risk directly or indirectly associated with an asset it has sold (in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles) that exceeds a pro rata share of the bank's claim on the asset. If a bank has no claim on an asset it has sold, then the retention of any credit risk is recourse. Source: FDIC
  • Remainder: An interest in property that takes effect in the future at a specified time or after the occurrence of some event, such as the death of a life tenant.
  • Remand: When an appellate court sends a case back to a lower court for further proceedings.
  • Restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
  • Sabotage: means activities that involve a violation of chapter 105 of title 18, or that would involve such a violation if committed against the United States. See 50 USC 1801
  • Secretary: means the Secretary of Health and Human Services. See 42 USC 201
  • Service: means the Public Health Service. See 42 USC 201
  • Settlement: Parties to a lawsuit resolve their difference without having a trial. Settlements often involve the payment of compensation by one party in satisfaction of the other party's claims.
  • special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States: as used in this title , includes:

    (1) The high seas, any other waters within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and out of the jurisdiction of any particular State, and any vessel belonging in whole or in part to the United States or any citizen thereof, or to any corporation created by or under the laws of the United States, or of any State, Territory, District, or possession thereof, when such vessel is within the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction of the United States and out of the jurisdiction of any particular State. See 40 USC 3708

  • State: means any State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and any territory or possession of the United States. See 50 USC 1801
  • Statute: A law passed by a legislature.
  • Statute of limitations: A law that sets the time within which parties must take action to enforce their rights.
  • Subpoena: A command to a witness to appear and give testimony.
  • subscription: includes a mark when the person making the same intended it as such. See 19 USC 2291
  • Summons: Another word for subpoena used by the criminal justice system.
  • Testimony: Evidence presented orally by witnesses during trials or before grand juries.
  • Trial: A hearing that takes place when the defendant pleads "not guilty" and witnesses are required to come to court to give evidence.
  • Trust account: A general term that covers all types of accounts in a trust department, such as estates, guardianships, and agencies. Source: OCC
  • Trustee: A person or institution holding and administering property in trust.
  • United States: when used in a geographic sense, means all areas under the territorial sovereignty of the United States and the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. See 50 USC 1801
  • United States: means the several States the District of Columbia, and the territories and possessions of the United States. See 38 USC 4318
  • United States: as used in this title in a territorial sense, includes all places and waters, continental or insular, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, except the Canal Zone. See 40 USC 3706
  • United States person: means a citizen of the United States, an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence (as defined in section 1101(a)(20) of title 8), an unincorporated association a substantial number of members of which are citizens of the United States or aliens lawfully admitted for permanent residence, or a corporation which is incorporated in the United States, but does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power, as defined in subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3). See 50 USC 1801
  • vehicle: includes every description of carriage or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on land. See 19 USC 2294
  • Venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
  • vessel: includes every description of watercraft or other artificial contrivance used, or capable of being used, as a means of transportation on water. See 19 USC 2293
  • Veto: The procedure established under the Constitution by which the President/Governor refuses to approve a bill or joint resolution and thus prevents its enactment into law. A regular veto occurs when the President/Governor returns the legislation to the house in which it originated. The President/Governor usually returns a vetoed bill with a message indicating his reasons for rejecting the measure. In Congress, the veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote in both the Senate and the House.
  • whoever: include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals. See 19 USC 2291
  • Writ: A formal written command, issued from the court, requiring the performance of a specific act.
  • Writ of certiorari: An order issued by the Supreme Court directing the lower court to transmit records for a case for which it will hear on appeal.
  • writing: includes printing and typewriting and reproductions of visual symbols by photographing, multigraphing, mimeographing, manifolding, or otherwise. See 19 USC 2291