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Hearsay evidence is evidence in which the person giving the evidence is not present in court to be cross examined.

Hearsay evidence can also be documnentary evidence that in which the person creating the document is not present in court to be cross examined.

Legal Terms

probation officer. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 abolished parole in favor of a determinate sentencing system in which the sentence is set by sentencing guidelines. Now, without the option of parole, the term of imprisonment the court imposes is the actual time the person spends in prison.

Party in interest A party who has standing to be heard by the court in a matter to be decided in the bankruptcy case. The debtor, U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator, case trustee, and creditors are parties in interest for most matters.

Petition preparer A business not authorized to practice law that prepares bankruptcy petitions.

Per curiam Latin, meaning for the court. In appellate courts, often refers to an unsigned opinion.

Peremptory challenge A district court may grant each side in a civil or criminal trial the right to exclude a certain number of prospective jurors without cause or giving a reason.

Grand jury A body of 16-23 citizens who listen to evidence of criminal allegations, which is presented by the prosecutors, and determine whether there is probable cause to believe an individual committed an offense. See also indictment and U.S. attorney.

Habeas corpus Latin, meaning you have the body. A writ of habeas corpus generally is a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to produce a prisoner they are holding, and to justify the prisoner's continued confinement. Federal judges receive petitions for a writ of habeas corpus from state prison inmates who say their state prosecutions violated federally protected rights in some way.

Hearsay Evidence presented by a witness who did not see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. With some exceptions, hearsay generally is not admissible as evidence at trial.

Home confinement A special condition the court imposes that requires an individual to remain at home except for certain approved activities such as work and medical appointments. Home confinement may include the use of electronic monitoring equipment - a transmitter attached to the wrist or the ankle - to help ensure that the person stays at home as required.

Impeachment The process of calling a witness's testimony into doubt. For example, if the attorney can show that the witness may have fabricated portions of his testimony, the witness is said to be impeached; the constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may impeach accuse of misconduct high officers of the federal government, who are then tried by the Senate.

In camera Latin, meaning in a judge's chambers. Often means outside the presence of a jury and the public.

Inculpatory evidence Evidence indicating that a defendant did commit the crime.

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..

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