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Glossary


Real Property
Land, buildings, and other improvements affixed to the land.
Reasonable doubt
An accused person is entitled to acquittal if, in the minds of the jury, his/her guilt has not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt; that state of minds of jurors in which they cannot say they feel an abiding conviction as to the truth of the charge.
Reasonable person
A phrase used to denote a hypothetical person who exercises qualities of attention, knowledge, intelligence, and judgment that society requires of its members for the protection of their own interest and the interests of others. Thus, the test of negligence is based on either a failure to do something that a reasonable person, guided by considerations that ordinarily regulate conduct, would do, or on the doing of something that a reasonable and prudent (wise) person would not do.
Rebut
Evidence disproving other evidence previously given or reestablishing the credibility of challenged evidence.
Recall order
Court order recalling a warrant or capias.
Record
All the documents and evidence plus transcripts of oral proceedings in a case.
Recusal
A judge excusing himself/herself from a case.
Redirect examination
Opportunity to present rebuttal evidence after one’s evidence has been subjected to cross-examination.
Redress
To set right; to remedy; to compensate; to remove the causes of a grievance.
Referee
A person to whom the court refers a pending case to take testimony, hear the parties, and report back to the court. A referee is an officer with judicial powers who serves as an arm of the court.
Rehearing
Another hearing of a civil or criminal case by the same court in which the case was originally heard.
Rejoinder
Opportunity for the side that opened the case to offer limited response to evidence presented during the rebuttal by the opposing side.
Release on own recognizance (ROR)
Release of a prisoner by a judge with no bond requirement.
Remand
To send a dispute back to the court where it was originally heard. Usually it is an appellate court that remands a case for proceedings in the trial court consistent with the appellate court’s ruling.
Remedy
Legal or judicial means by which a right or privilege is enforced or the violation of a right or privilege is prevented, redressed, or compensated.
Remittitur
The reduction by a judge of the damages awarded by a jury.
Removal
The transfer of a state case to federal court for trial; in civil cases, because the parties are from different states; in criminal and some civil cases, because there is a significant possibility that there could not be a fair trial in state court.
Rendition
Transfer of a fugitive from the asylum state to the demanding state.
Replevin
An action for the recovery of a possession that has been wrongfully taken.
Reply
The response by a party to charges raised in a pleading by the other party.
Respondent
  1. One who formally answers the allegations stated in a petition which has been filed with the court. 
  2. The person against whom an appeal is taken. See petitioner.
Rest
A party is said to rest or rest its case when it has presented all the evidence it intends to offer.
Restitution
Act giving the equivalent for any loss, damage or injury.
Retainer
Act of the client in employing the attorney or counsel, and also denotes the fee which the client pays when he/she retains the attorney to act for him/her.
Return
A report to a judge by police on the implementation of an arrest or search warrant. Also, a report to a judge in reply to a subpoena, civil or criminal.
Reverse
An action of a higher court in setting aside or revoking a lower court decision.
Reversible error
A procedural error during a trial or hearing sufficiently harmful to justify reversing the judgment of a lower court.
Revocable trust
A trust that the grantor may change or revoke.
Revoke
To cancel or nullify a legal document.
Robbery
Felonious taking of another’s property, from his or her person or immediate presence and against his or her will, by means of force or fear.
Rules of evidence
Standards governing whether evidence in civil or criminal case is admissible.