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Common Legal Words - Definitions  (Taken from the CT Practice Book)

Connecticut Practice Book | Common Legal Words


Answer - (Practice Book Sec. 10-46):
The defendant in the answer shall specially deny such allegations of the complaint as the defendant intends to controvert, admitting the truth of the other allegations, unless the defendant intends in good faith to controvert all the allegations, in which case he or she may deny them generally. Any defendant who intends to controvert the right of the plaintiff to sue as executor, or as trustee, or in any other representative capacity, or as a corporation, or to controvert the execution or delivery of any written instrument or recognizance sued upon, shall deny the same in the answer specifically.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 160.)


Bail - (Practice Book Sec. 38-7):
In any criminal case in which a bond is allowed or required and the amount thereof has been determined, the defendant, or any person in his or her behalf, may deposit with the clerk of the court having jurisdiction of the offense with which the defendant stands charged, or any assistant clerk of such court who is bonded in the same manner as the clerk, or any person or officer authorized to accept bail, a sum of money equal to the amount called for by such bond, and such defendant shall thereupon be admitted to bail. When cash bail is offered, such bond shall be executed and the money shall be received in lieu of a surety or sureties upon such bond. Such cash bail shall be retained by the clerk of such court until a final order of the judicial authority disposing of the case is entered, provided that if such bond is forfeited, the clerk of such court shall pay the money to the obligee named therein, according to the terms and conditions of the bond. Upon discharge of the bond the cash deposit made with the clerk shall be returned to the person depositing the same.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 663.)


Bond - (Practice Book Sec. 38-9):
(a) In lieu of a cash bond, the defendant, or any person in the defendant’s behalf, may pledge equity in real property located within the state of Connecticut as bond. (b) Unless otherwise ordered by the judicial authority, the pledge shall be accepted and the defendant shall be admitted to bail upon receipt of the following: (1) proof that a notice of lien containing the terms of the bond has been properly filed, pursuant to the provisions of General Statutes § 54-66, on a form prescribed by the office of the chief court administrator in the office of the town clerk of the town in which the property is located; (2) a current certificate of title from an attorney containing a listing of all encumbrances of record including the notice of lien; (3) one independent appraisal by a licensed real estate appraiser prepared within ninety days of application as to present fair market value; and (4) an affidavit by each owner of the property setting forth (A) the location of the property, (B) the affiant’s ownership interest therein, (C) the amount of the affiant’s equity in the property, (D) the present fair market value as shown on the appraisal, (E) the present amount of each encumbrance of record filed prior to the notice of lien required by this subsection, and the present amount of any tax liabilities, and (F) whether the same property is pledged as security for any other bonds under this section or for any other purpose. (c) All record owners of the property as well as the accused shall enter into a bond for the appearance of the accused. (d) The value of the owner’s equity as calculated and verified pursuant to this section shall be not less than the amount of bail set by the judicial authority, but shall not be required to be in any greater amount unless the equity is pledged as security for other bonds under this section, in which case the value of the equity shall be not less than the total amount of all bonds for which it is pledged. (e) Upon order of forfeiture of the bond, the procedures set forth in General Statutes § 54-66 shall be followed.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 665.) (Amended June 30, 2003, to take effect Jan. 1, 2004.)


Bond Forfeiture - (Practice Book Sec. 38-22):
Whenever an arrested person, whose bond has been forfeited, is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within one year of the date such bond was ordered forfeited, the surety on such bond shall be entitled to a rebate in the following amount: (1) 46 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within 210 days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited; (2) 38 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within 240 days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited; (3) 30 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within 270 days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited; (4) 23 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within 300 days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited; (5) 15 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within 330 days of the date such bond was ordered forfeited; (6) 7 percent of the amount of the bond ordered forfeited if the arrested person is returned to the jurisdiction of the court within one year of the date such bond was ordered forfeited.
(P.B. 1998.)


Complaint - (Practice Book Sec. 10-20):
The first pleading on the part of the plaintiff shall be known as the complaint. It shall contain a concise statement of the facts constituting the cause of action and, on a separate page of the complaint, a demand for relief which shall be a statement of the remedy or remedies sought. When money damages are sought in the demand for relief, the demand for relief shall include the information required by General Statutes § 52-91.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 131.)


Contempt of Court - (Practice Book Sec. 1-13A):
(a) Any person or court officer misbehaving or disobeying any order of a judicial authority in the course of any judicial proceeding may be adjudicated in contempt and appropriately punished. (b) Contempt may be either criminal or civil. When criminal, it may be summary or nonsummary criminal contempt.
(Adopted June 28, 1999, to take effect Jan. 1, 2000.)


Counterclaim - (Practice Book Sec. 10-10):
Supplemental pleadings showing matters arising since the original pleading may be filed in actions for equitable relief by either party. In any action for legal or equitable relief, any defendant may file counterclaims against any plaintiff and cross claims against any codefendant provided that each such counterclaim and cross claim arises out of the transaction or one of the transactions which is the subject of the plaintiff’s complaint; and if necessary, additional parties may be summoned in to answer any such counterclaim or cross claim. A defendant may also file a counterclaim or cross claim under this section against any other party to the action for the purpose of establishing that party’s liability to the defendant for all or part of the plaintiff’s claim against that defendant.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 116.)


Foreman:
The jury will first elect a foreperson to preside over the deliberations. The jurors will then discuss and evaluate the evidence. All jurors should have the opportunity to express ideas and opinions on the case. If jurors aren’t clear about the judge’s charge or any matters of law, the foreperson may send written questions to the judge.


Interrogatory - (Practice Book Sec. 13-6):
(a) In any civil action, in any probate appeal, or in any administrative appeal where the judicial authority finds it reasonably probable that evidence outside the record will be required, any party may serve in accordance with Sections 10- 12 through 10-17 written interrogatories, which may be in electronic format, upon any other party to be answered by the party served. Written interrogatories may be served upon any party without leave of the judicial authority at any time after the return day. Except as provided in subsection (c) or where the interrogatories are served electronically as provided in Section 10-13 and in a format that allows the recipient to electronically insert the answers in the transmitted document, the party serving interrogatories shall leave sufficient space following each interrogatory in which the party to whom the interrogatories are directed can insert the answer. In the event that an answer requires more space than that provided on interrogatories that were not served electronically and in a format that allows the recipient to electronically insert the answers in the transmitted document, the answer shall be continued on a separate sheet of paper which shall be attached to the completed answers. (b) Interrogatories may relate to any matters which can be inquired into under Sections 13-2 through 13-5 and the answers may be used at trial to the extent permitted by the rules of evidence. In all personal injury actions alleging liability based on the operation or ownership of a motor vehicle or alleging liability based on the ownership, maintenance or control of real property, the interrogatories shall be limited to those set forth in Forms 201, 202 and/or 203 of the rules of practice, unless upon motion, the judicial authority determines that such interrogatories are inappropriate or inadequate in the particular action. These forms are set forth in the Appendix of Forms in this volume. Unless the judicial authority orders otherwise, the frequency of use of interrogatories in all actions except those for which interrogatories have been set forth in Forms 201, 202 and/or 203 of the rules of practice is not limited. (c) In lieu of serving the interrogatories set forth in Forms 201, 202 and/or 203 on a party who is represented by counsel, the moving party may serve on such party a notice of interrogatories, which shall not include the actual interrogatories to be answered, but shall instead set forth the number of the Practice Book form containing such interrogatories and the name of the party to whom the interrogatories are directed. The party to whom such notice is directed shall in his or her response set forth each interrogatory immediately followed by that party’s answer thereto. (d) The party serving interrogatories or the notice of interrogatories shall not file them with the court.
(P.B. 1978-1997, Sec. 223.) (Amended June 28, 1999, to take effect Jan. 1, 2000; amended Aug. 24, 2001, to take effect Jan. 1, 2002; amended June 30, 2008, to take effect Jan. 1, 2009.)


Minor - (Practice Book Sec. 1-1d):
Except as otherwise provided by statute, on and after October 1, 1972, the terms "minor", "infant" and "infancy" shall be deemed to refer to a person under the age of eighteen years and any person eighteen years of age or over shall be an adult for all purposes whatsoever and have the same legal capacity, rights, powers, privileges, duties, liabilities and responsibilities as persons heretofore had at twenty-one years of age, and "age of majority" shall be deemed to be eighteen years.


Parole - (Practice Book Sec. 54-125a):
(a) A person convicted of one or more crimes who is incarcerated on or after October 1, 1990, who received a definite sentence or aggregate sentence of more than two years, and who has been confined under such sentence or sentences for not less than one-half of the aggregate sentence or one-half of the most recent sentence imposed by the court, whichever is greater, may be allowed to go at large on parole in the discretion of the panel of the Board of Pardons and Paroles for the institution in which the person is confined, if (1) it appears from all available information, including any reports from the Commissioner of Correction that the panel may require, that there is reasonable probability that such inmate will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and (2) such release is not incompatible with the welfare of society. At the discretion of the panel, and under the terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the panel including requiring the parolee to submit personal reports, the parolee shall be allowed to return to the parolee's home or to reside in a residential community center, or to go elsewhere. The parolee shall, while on parole, remain under the jurisdiction of the board until the expiration of the maximum term or terms for which the parolee was sentenced. Any parolee released on the condition that the parolee reside in a residential community center may be required to contribute to the cost incidental to such residence. Each order of parole shall fix the limits of the parolee's residence, which may be changed in the discretion of the board and the Commissioner of Correction. Within three weeks after the commitment of each person sentenced to more than two years, the state's attorney for the judicial district shall send to the Board of Pardons and Paroles the record, if any, of such person. (b) (1) No person convicted of any of the following offenses, which was committed on or after July 1, 1981, shall be eligible for parole under subsection (a) of this section: Capital felony, as provided in section 53a-54b, felony murder, as provided in section 53a-54c, arson murder, as provided in section 53a-54d, murder, as provided in section 53a-54a, or aggravated sexual assault in the first degree, as provided in section 53a-70a. (2) A person convicted of (A) a violation of section 53a-100aa or 53a-102, or (B) an offense, other than an offense specified in subdivision (1) of this subsection, where the underlying facts and circumstances of the offense involve the use, attempted use or threatened use of physical force against another person shall be ineligible for parole under subsection (a) of this section until such person has served not less than eighty-five per cent of the definite sentence imposed. (c) The Board of Pardons and Paroles shall, not later than July 1, 1996, adopt regulations in accordance with chapter 54 to ensure that a person convicted of an offense described in subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section is not released on parole until such person has served eighty-five per cent of the definite sentence imposed by the court. Such regulations shall include guidelines and procedures for classifying a person as a violent offender that are not limited to a consideration of the elements of the offense or offenses for which such person was convicted. (d) The Board of Pardons and Paroles shall hold a hearing to determine the suitability for parole release of any person whose eligibility for parole release is not subject to the provisions of subsection (b) of this section upon completion by such person of seventy-five per cent of such person's definite or aggregate sentence. An employee of the board or, if deemed necessary by the chairperson, a panel of the board shall reassess the suitability for parole release of such person based on the following standards: (1) Whether there is reasonable probability that such person will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and (2) whether the benefits to such person and society that would result from such person's release to community supervision substantially outweigh the benefits to such person and society that would result from such person's continued incarceration. After hearing, if the board determines that continued confinement is necessary, it shall articulate for the record the specific reasons why such person and the public would not benefit from such person serving a period of parole supervision while transitioning from incarceration to the community. The decision of the board under this subsection shall not be subject to appeal. (e) The Board of Pardons and Paroles shall hold a hearing to determine the suitability for parole release of any person whose eligibility for parole release is subject to the provisions of subdivision (2) of subsection (b) of this section upon completion by such person of eighty-five per cent of such person's definite or aggregate sentence. An employee of the board or, if deemed necessary by the chairperson, a panel of the board shall assess the suitability for parole release of such person based on the following standards: (1) Whether there is reasonable probability that such person will live and remain at liberty without violating the law, and (2) whether the benefits to such person and society that would result from such person's release to community supervision substantially outweigh the benefits to such person and society that would result from such person's continued incarceration. After hearing, if the board determines that continued confinement is necessary, it shall articulate for the record the specific reasons why such person and the public would not benefit from such person serving a period of parole supervision while transitioning from incarceration to the community. The decision of the board under this subsection shall not be subject to appeal. (f) Any person released on parole under this section shall remain in the custody of the Commissioner of Correction and be subject to supervision by personnel of the Department of Correction during such person's period of parole.


Peremptory Challenge - (Practice Book Sec. 16-5):
Each party may challenge peremptorily the number of jurors which each is entitled to challenge by law. Where the judicial authority determines a unity of interests exists, several plaintiffs or several defendants may be considered as a single party for the purpose of making challenges, or the judicial authority may allow additional peremptory challenges and permit them to be exercised separately or jointly. For the purposes of this section, a "unity of interest" means that the interests of the several plaintiffs or the several defendants are substantially similar. A unity of interest shall be found to exist among parties who are represented by the same attorney or law firm. In addition, there shall be a presumption that a unity of interest exists among parties where no cross claims or apportionment complaints have been filed against one another. In all civil actions, the total number of peremptory challenges allowed to the plaintiff or plaintiffs shall not exceed twice the number of peremptory challenges allowed to the defendant or defendants, and the total number of peremptory challenges allowed to the defendant or defendants shall not exceed twice the number of peremptory challenges allowed to the plaintiff or plaintiffs.
(P.B. 1998.) (Amended June 21, 2004, to take effect Jan. 1, 2005.)


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