Terms Used In New York Laws > Penal > Part 4
- affirmed: In the practice of the appellate courts, the decree or order is declared valid and will stand as rendered in the lower court.
- 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.
- answer: The formal written statement by a defendant responding to a civil complaint and setting forth the grounds for defense.
- 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.
- arraignment: A proceeding in which an individual who is accused of committing a crime is brought into court, told of the charges, and asked to plead guilty or not guilty.
- 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.
- Biological agent: means any micro-organism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product that may be engineered as a result of biotechnology, or any naturally occurring or bioengineered component of
any such micro-organism, virus, infectious substance, or biological product, capable of causing:
(a) death, disease, or other biological malfunction in a human, an animal, a plant, or another living organism;
(b) deterioration of food, water, equipment, supplies, or material of any kind; or
(c) deleterious alteration of the environment. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- Biological weapon: means any biological agent, toxin, vector, or delivery system or combination thereof. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- capital offense: A crime punishable by death.
- Chemical weapon: means the following, together or separately:
(a) a toxic chemical or its precursors;
(b) a munition or device specifically designed to cause death or other harm through the toxic properties of a toxic chemical or its precursors, which would be released as a result of the employment of such munition or device;
(c) any equipment specifically designed for use directly in connection with the employment of munitions or devices; or
(d) any device that is designed to release radiation or radioactivity at a level dangerous to human life. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- 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.
- 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.
- damages: Money paid by defendants to successful plaintiffs in civil cases to compensate the plaintiffs for their injuries.
- defendant: In a civil suit, the person complained against; in a criminal case, the person accused of the crime.
- Delivery system: means :
(a) any apparatus, equipment, device, or means of delivery specifically designed to deliver or disseminate a biological agent, toxin, or vector; or
(b) any vector. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- dependent: A person dependent for support upon another.
- 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:
- 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
- escrow: Money given to a third party to be held for payment until certain conditions are met.
- 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.
- felony: A crime carrying a penalty of more than a year in prison.
- forgery: The fraudulent signing or alteration of another's name to an instrument such as a deed, mortgage, or check. The intent of the forgery is to deceive or defraud. Source: OCC
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Material support or resources: means currency or other financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel, transportation, and other physical assets, except medicine or religious materials. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- 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.
- 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.
- personal property: All property that is not real property.
- 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.
- 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.
- prosecute: To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
- real property: Land, and all immovable fixtures erected on, growing on, or affixed to the land.
- restitution: The court-ordered payment of money by the defendant to the victim for damages caused by the criminal action.
- Select biological agent: shall mean a biological weapon which has been identified in regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision twenty-one of section two hundred six of the public health law. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- Select chemical agent: shall mean a chemical weapon which has been identified in regulations promulgated pursuant to subdivision twenty of section two hundred six of the public health law. See N.Y. Penal Law 490.05
- statute: A law passed by a legislature.
- 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.
- usury: Charging an illegally high interest rate on a loan. Source: OCC
- venue: The geographical location in which a case is tried.
- verdict: The decision of a petit jury or a judge.