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sanction Penalty for failure to comply with rule, order or law.
satisfaction See accord and satisfaction.
search warrant Written order issued by a judge that permits a law enforcement officer to search a specific area for specific items.
secondary evidence See best evidence.
secured debt Debt in which debtor gives creditor a right to repossess property or goods (called collateral) if debtor defaults on the loan.
self-defense Use of force to protect one's self, family or property from harm or threatened harm by another.
self-incrimination, privilege against Right of people to refuse to give testimony against themselves. Guaranteed by Fifth Amendment to U.S. Constitution. Asserting right is often referred to as "taking the Fifth."
self-proving will Will whose validity does not have to be testified to in court by witnesses to it since the witnesses executed an affidavit reflecting proper execution of will prior to maker's death.
sentence Punishment inflicted on a person convicted of crime.
sentencing guidelines Set of guidelines introduced to ensure conformity in sentencing throughout Pennsylvania. Federal government and several other states also use.
sentencing report See pre-sentencing report.
separation of witnesses See sequestration of witnesses.
sequestration Keeping all jurors together during a trial to prevent them from being influenced by information received outside courtroom.
sequestration of witnesses Keeping all witnesses (except plaintiff and defendant) out of courtroom except for their time on the stand to prevent them from hearing testimony of other witnesses. Also called separation of witnesses.
service Delivery of legal document, such as complaint, summons or subpoena.
settlor See grantor.
sidebar Conference between judge and lawyers, usually in courtroom, out of earshot of jury and spectators.
slander False and defamatory spoken words tending to harm another's reputation, business or means of livelihood. Compare libel.
small claims court Court that handles civil claims for small amounts of money. People often represent themselves rather than hire an attorney.
sovereign immunity Doctrine that a government, either state or federal, is immune to lawsuits unless it gives its consent.
specific performance Remedy requiring person who has breached a contract to fulfill his/her part of the contract, as opposed to simply paying damages. Ordered when paying damages would be inadequate or inappropriate.
spendthrift trust Trust set up for benefit of someone whom grantor believes would be incapable of managing his/her own financial affairs, and to keep money out of hands of creditors.
standard of proof See burden of proof.
standing Legal right to bring a lawsuit.
stare decisis (STEHR ee dih SYE sis) Doctrine that courts will follow principles of law laid down in previous cases. Compare precedent.
state's evidence Testimony given by accomplice or participant in a crime, given under promise of immunity or reduced sentence, to convict others.
status offenders Youths who habitually engage in conduct not considered criminal if committed by an adult, but which cause charges to be brought in juvenile court and show minor is beyond parental control, e.g., being truant from school.
status offense Act declared to be an offense when committed by a juvenile, e.g., habitual truancy, running away from home, violating curfew.
statute Law enacted by legislative branch of government. Also called statutory law. Compare common law.
statute of limitations Timeframe within which a lawsuit must be brought or an individual charged with a crime. Differs for different types of cases/crimes or in different states.
statutory construction Process by which a court seeks to interpret legislation.
statutory law See statute.
stay Court order halting a judicial proceeding or the action of halting such proceeding.
stenographer See court reporter.
stipulation Agreement by attorneys on both sides of a case about some aspect of the lawsuit, e.g., to extend time to answer, to adjourn trial date.
sua sponte (SOO eh SPON tee) On one's own behalf. Voluntary, without prompting or suggestion.
sub judice (sub JOO dih SEE) Before a court or judge; under judicial consideration.
sui generis (SOO ee JEN er iss) Of its own kind or class; the only one of its kind.
sui juris (SOO ee JUR iss) Of his own right. Possessing full social and civil rights.
subpoena (suh PEE nuh) Court order compelling a witness to appear and testify.
subpoena duces tecum (suh PEE nuh DOO sess TEE kum) Court order commanding a witness to bring certain documents or records to court.
subrogation Substituting one person in place of another in asserting a lawful claim, demand or right.
substantive evidence Evidence presented to prove a fact in issue.
substantive law Law which creates, defines and regulates rights. Compare procedural law.
summary Quickly executed.
summary judgment Judgment made when there are no disputes of the facts of a case and one party is entitled to prevail as matter of law.
summary offense In Pennsylvania a violation of law punishable by imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or a fine not exceeding $300.
summons Notice to a defendant that he/she has been sued and is required to appear in court. Also, notice requiring person receiving it to report for jury duty or as witness in a trial. As relates to potential jurors, also called venire.
sunshine laws Laws forbidding or restricting closed meetings of government bodies and providing for public access to records.
supersedeas (SOO per SEE dee uhss) Writ issued by appellate court to preserve the status quo pending review of a judgment or pending other exercise of its jurisdiction.
support trust Trust that instructs trustee to spend only as much as needed for beneficiary's support.
suppress To forbid use of evidence at trial because it is improper or was improperly obtained. See exclusionary rule.
survivorship Another name for joint tenancy.
sustain Court order allowing an objection or motion to prevail.
suspended sentence Sentence postponed by order of the court. Also, decision of court to postpone pronouncement of sentence.
swindling Obtaining money or property by fraud or deceit.

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