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Elyria Municipal Court

Court Definitions


A partner in a crime. A person who knowingly and voluntarily participates with another in a criminal activity.


To find a defendant not guilty in a criminal trial.


Case, cause, suit, or controversy disputed or contested before a court of justice.


A written statement of facts confirmed by the party's oath, making it before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths. For example, in criminal cases, affidavits are often used by police officers seeking to convince courts to grant a warrant to make an arrest or a search. In civil lawsuits, affidavits of witnesses are often used to support motions for summary judgments.


A request is 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.


A form of alternative dispute resolution in which the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party and agree to abide by their decision. In arbitration, there is a hearing at which both parties can be heard.


To take into custody by legal authority.


Money or other security (such as a bail bond) is provided to the court to temporarily allow a person's release from jail and ensure their appearance in court. "Bail" and "bond" are often used interchangeably.

Bail Bond

An obligation, signed by the accused, to secure their presence at the trial. This obligation means the accused may lose money by not correctly appearing for the trial. They are often referred to simply as bonds.


A court attendant who keeps order in the courtroom and has custody of the jury.

Bench Warrant

An order issued by a judge for the arrest of a person.

Charge to the jury

The judge's instructions to the jury concerning the law that applies to the facts of the case on trial.


A judgment of guilt against a criminal defendant.


A claim made by the defendant in a civil lawsuit against the plaintiff. In essence, a counter-lawsuit within a case.


A claim by co-defendant or co-plaintiffs against each other and not against persons on the opposite side of the lawsuit.


An obligation or liability to pay or render something to another


One who owes something to another.


A failure to respond to a lawsuit within the specified time.


A person who a legal action is brought against. In a Criminal Case, this would be the person being accused of a crime or citation. In a Civil Case, this would be the person BEING sued.


The termination of a lawsuit. A dismissal without prejudice allows a case to be brought before the court again later. In contrast, a dismissal with prejudice prevents the lawsuit from being brought before a court in the future.


A log containing brief entries of court proceedings.


Money or a written instrument, such as a deed that is an agreement between two parties, is held by a neutral third party (held in escrow) until all conditions of the agreement are met.


To expel or put out (a tenant) by legal process.


Information presented in testimony or documents is used to persuade the fact finder (jury or judge) to decide the case for one side or the other.


Official and formal erasure of a record or partial contents of a record.


A crime of a graver nature than a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment for more than a year and substantial fines.


A third party who has been warned that money or property in his or her control but due or belonging to a defendant has been attached. (ie. Banks, employers)


A legal proceeding where money or property due or belonging to a debtor but in possession of another is applied to the payment of the debt to the plaintiff.


To confine in jail.


A written accusation by a grand jury charging a person with a crime.


Needy or impoverished. A defendant who can demonstrate indigence to the court may be assigned a court-appointed attorney at public expense.


An elected or appointed public official with the authority to hear and decide cases in a court of law. A Judge Pro Tem is a temporary judge.


A determination of a court of law.


The territorial range over which authority extends.


A legal claim against another person's property as security for a debt. A lien does not convey ownership of the property but gives the lien holder a right to have their debt satisfied out of the proceeds if the debt is not otherwise paid.


The judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge. It also refers in a general way to a judge.


A misdemeanor criminal offense is considered less severe than a felony. Misdemeanors generally are punishable by a fine or a limited jail term.


An oral or written request made by a party to an action before, during, or after a trial upon which a court issues a ruling or order.


A written or verbal command from a court directing or forbidding an action.


The supervised conditional release of a prisoner before their sentence expires. If the parolee observes the conditions, they need not serve the rest of their term.


The party that institutes a suit in a court.


In a criminal proceeding, it is the defendant's declaration in open court that he or she is guilty or not guilty. The defendant's answer to the charges made in the indictment or information.

Pro Se

A Latin term meaning "on one's own behalf"; in courts, it refers to persons who present their own cases without lawyers.


An alternative to imprisonment allowing a person found guilty of an offense to stay in the community, usually under conditions and under the supervision of a probation officer. A violation of probation can lead to its revocation and to imprisonment.


A trial lawyer representing the government in a criminal case and the interest of the state in civil matters. In criminal cases, the prosecutor has the responsibility of deciding who and when to prosecute.


To vacate or void a summons, subpoena, etc.


An action for the recovery of a possession that has been wrongfully taken.

Small Claims Court

A court was established for the simplified and efficient handling of small claims on debts.

Statute of Limitations

Setting a time limit on legal action in certain cases.


A court order compelling a witness to appear and testify.

Subpoena Duces Tecum

A court order commanding a witness to bring certain documents or records to court.


To institute a lawsuit against another person/company


A notice issued to a person summoning him or her to report to the court.

Surety Bond

A bond is purchased at the defendant's expense to insure his or her appearance at all court dates. The Surety Bond is purchased from a surety bail bond agent. The law prohibits the clerk from accepting the registration of a surety bond unless the agent is currently licensed with the State of Ohio, Department of Insurance, and is appointed by power of attorney from each insurer that the agent represents.


Most commonly, a court order authorizes law enforcement officers to make an arrest or conduct a search. An affidavit seeking a warrant must establish probable cause by detailing the facts upon which the request is based.