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When a defendant is found not guilty via jury verdict or the judge finds that there is not sufficient evidence to support a conviction.

The defendant’s case resulted in an acquittal.

Synonyms: clearing, exoneration, absolution, discharge, release, freeing, formal exculpation





This refers to a printed or written statement one makes under oath.

She swore an affidavit in support setting out her case.

Synonyms: oath, testimony, affirmation, sworn statement

Alternate Juror

al·ter·nate jur·or

/ˈȯl-tər-nət/ ju̇r-ər/


When another juror is selected in the same way as the regular jurors and hears all the evidence. However, the alternate juror does not participate in the case unless called upon in place of one of the regular jurors.

The alternate juror did not end up having to participate after all.

Synonyms: alternative juror, talesman





If one party loses on one or more issues during a trial, it can launch an ‘appeal’ which is a request for a higher court to review the decision as a means of deciding whether or not the decision was correct. The party that appeals is the ‘appellant’ while the other party is known as the ‘appellee’.

After loosing the case, the defendant’s attorney began to file the paperwork to appeal the decision.

Synonyms: beseech, besiege, conjure, entreat, impetrate, implore, importune, petition





This proceeding is when a defendant is taken to court, informed of the charges in the indictment and asked to make a plea. The defendant can plead ‘guilty’, ‘not guilty’ or ‘no contest’.

The attorney advised his client to plead “no contest” at the arraignment.

synonyms: accusation, charge, complaint, denunciation, impeachment, incrimination, indictment, prosecution

* These terms are general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Different states may define terms differently. These terms are not designed to be legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your state who is familiar with how your jurisdiction defines key legal terms that are important in your particular matter.

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