Jd


It is an abbreviation for Juris Doctor, identifying the holder as having received that law degree.

Jeopardy


Peril, particularly danger of being charged with or convicted of a particular crime. Once a person has been acquitted, he/she may not be charged again for that crime. However, if there was a hung jury or reversal of conviction on appeal (but the defendant was not declared innocent in the ruling), the accused may be charged with the crime again and tried again.

Jobber


A merchant who buys products (usually in bulk or lots) and then sells them to various retailers is called jobber. This middleman generally specializes in specific types of products, such as auto parts, electrical and plumbing materials, or petroleum. A jobber differs from a broker or agent, who buys and acts for specific clients.

Joinder


The joining together of several lawsuits or several parties all in one lawsuit, provided that the legal issues and the factual situation are the same for all plaintiffs and defendants. Joinder requires a) that one of the parties to one of the lawsuits make a motion to join the suits and the parties in a single case; b) notice must be made to all parties; c) there must be a hearing before a judge to show why joinder will not cause prejudice (hurt) to any of the parties to the existing lawsuits; and d) an order of the judge permitting joinder. Joinder may be mandatory if a person necessary to a fair result was not included in the original lawsuit, or it may be permissive if joining the cases together is only a matter of convenience or economy.

Joinder of issue


That point in a suit when the defendant has challenged some or all of plaintiff's allegations of facts, and/or when it is known which legal questions are in dispute. This is stated in the expression: "the issue is joined," in the same manner as a military man would say: "the battle has been joined," meaning the fight is underway. Thus, the pre-trial legal underbrush has been cleared away, the motions made, and the pre-trial discovery (depositions, requests for documents, written questions and answers, and other demands for information) sufficiently completed, all of which makes clear what matters are to be decided by trial.

Joint adventure


When two or more people go together on a trip or some other action, not necessarily for profit, which may make them all liable for debt arising out of the activity.

Joint and several


A debt or a judgment for negligence, in which each debtor (one who owes) or each judgment defendant is responsible (liable) for the entire amount of the debt or judgment. Thus, in drafting a promissory note for a debt, it is important to state that if there is more than one person owing the funds to be paid, the debt is joint and several, since then the person owed money (creditor, promisee) can collect the entire amount from any of the joint signers of the note, and not be limited to a share from each debtor. If a party injured in an accident sues several parties for causing his/her damages, the court may find that several people were "jointly" negligent and contributed to the damages. The entire judgment may be collected from any of the defendants found responsible, unless the Court finds different amounts of negligence of each defendant contributed to the injury. Defense attorneys should require the jury or judge sitting without a jury to break down the amount of negligence of each defendant and the plaintiff if there is contributory negligence. Often the Court will refuse to do so, allowing the plaintiff to collect from whichever defendant has the "deep pocket" (lots of money), and letting the defendant who pays demand contributions from the other defendants.

Joint custody


Order of Court for sharing of custody of a child by parants in divorce actions is called joint custody. There are two types of custody, physical and legal. Joint physical custody (instead of one parent having custody with the other having visitation), does not mean exact division of time with each parent, but can be based on reasonable time with each parent either specifically spelled out (certain days, weeks, holidays, alternative periods) or based on stated guidelines and shared payment of costs of raising the child. Joint legal custody means that both parents can make decisions for the child, including medical treatment, but where possible they should consult the other. Upon the death or disability of either parent, legal custody will go to the remaining parent and will give the active parent the sole ability to act as parent for the child without further order of the court. The primary affect of this is a psychological benefit for the parent and the child, so that a child can be told that both parents cared for the child, even though the child had to live most of the time with one of them.

Joint enterprise


An activity of two or more people, usually for profit, which may include partnership, joint venture or any business in which more than one person invests, works, has equal management control and/or is otherwise involved for an agreed upon goal or purpose. One significant factor is that if a Court finds that two or more people are involved in a joint enterprise and there is negligent damage to an outside party by any one of the enterprisers, or breach of a contract made by the joint enterprise, each of those who are part of the enterprise will be liable for all the damages to the party. However, not all joint enterprises are partnerships or joint ventures, although the terms are often used improperly as if they were synonymous.

Joint liability


The situation in which two or more persons are both responsible for a debt, claim or judgment. It can be important to the person making the claim, as well as to a person who is sued, who can demand that anyone with joint liability for the alleged debt or claim for damages be joined in (brought into) the lawsuit.

Joint powers agreement


A contract between a city, a country and/or a special district in which the city or country agrees to perform services, cooperate with, or lend its powers to the special district or other government entity.

Joint tenancy


A crucial relationship in the ownership of real property, which provides that each party owns an undivided interest in the entire parcel, with both having the right to use all of it and the right of survivorship, which means that upon the death of one joint tenant, the other has title to it all. Procedurally, on the death of one joint tenant, title in the survivor is completed by recording an "affidavit of death of joint tenant," describing the property and the deceased tenant, with a death certificate attached, all of which is sworn to by the surviving joint tenant. This process avoids probate of the property, but may have some tax consequences which should be explored with an accountant at the time of recording the original deed. If the owners do not want full title to the property to pass to the survivor, then joint tenancy should not be used. Joint tenancy between a parent and a minor child should be avoided since the property cannot be transferred in the future without the parent becoming appointed a guardian of the child's estate by court order, and the property and the proceeds therefrom will be under court control until the child is eighteen.

Joint tortfeasors


Two or more persons whose negligence in a single accident or event causes damages to another person. In many cases the joint tortfeasors are jointly and severally liable for the damages, meaning that any of them can be responsible to pay the entire amount, no matter how unequal the negligence of each party was.

Joint venture


An enterprise which is entered into by two or more people for profit, for a limited purpose, such as purchase, improvement and sale or leasing of real estate. A joint venture has most of the elements of a partnership, such as shared management, the power of each venturer to bind the others in the business, division of profits and joint responsibility for losses. However, unlike a partnership, a joint venture anticipates a specific area of activity and/or period of operation, so after the purpose is completed, bills are paid, profits (or losses) are divided, and the joint venture is terminated.

Judge


A) To rule on a legal matter, including determining the result in a trial if there is no jury. B) An official with the authority and responsibility to preside in a Court, try lawsuits and make legal rulings. Judges are almost always attorneys.

Judge advocate


A military officer with legal training who has the mixed duties of giving advice on legal matters to the group of officers sitting as a Court-martial and acting as the prosecutor of the accused serviceman or woman. A judge advocate holds responsibility to protect the accused from procedural improprieties such as questions from the members of the court which might incriminate the accused in violation of the Constitution. The accused person also has a military officer as counsel, who may not be an attorney.

Judge advocate general


(J.A.G.) n. A military officer who is responsible to advise the government on Courts-martial and administers the conduct of courts-martial. The officers who are judge, advocates and counsel assigned to the accused come from the office of the judge advocate general or are appointed by it to work on certain courts-martial.

Judgment


The final decision by a Court in a civil suit, criminal prosecution or appeal from a lower Court's judgment, except for an "interlocutory judgment," which is tentative until a final judgment is made. The word "decree" is sometimes used as synonymous with judgment.

Judgment by default


See also: default judgment

Judgment creditor


The winning plaintiff in a lawsuit to whom the Court decides the defendant owes money. A judgment creditor can use various means to collect the judgment. The judgment is good for a specified number of years and then may be renewed by a filed request. If the defendant debtor files for bankruptcy, the judgment creditor will have priority (the right to share in assets) ahead of general creditors who are not secured by mortgages or deeds of trust and do not have judgments. However, if the bankrupt person has no assets, this becomes an empty advantage.

Judgment debt


The amount of money in a judgment award to the winning party, which is owed to the winner by the losing party.

Judgment debtor


The losing defendant in a civil suit who owes the amount of the judgment to the plaintiff.

Judgment notwithstanding the verdict


(N.O.V.) Reversal of a jury's verdict by the trial judge when the judge believes there was no factual basis for the verdict or it was contrary to law. The judge will then enter a different verdict as "a matter of law." Essentially the judge should have required a "directed verdict" (instruction to the jury to return with a particular verdict since the facts allowed no other conclusion), and when the jury "went wrong," the judge uses the power to reverse the verdict instead of approving it, to prevent injustice. This process is commonly called "judgment N.O.V." or simply "N.O.V.," for Latin non obstante veredicto.

Judicial


A) A judge, Court or the Court system. B) Fair.

Judicial discretion


The power of the judge to make decisions on some matters without being bound by precedent or strict rules established by statutes is called judicial discretion. On appeal a higher court will usually accept and confirm decisions of trial judges when exercising permitted discretion, unless capricious, showing a pattern of bias, or exercising discretion beyond his/her authority.

Judicial foreclosure


A judgment by a Court in favor of foreclosure of a mortgage or deed of trust, which orders that the real property which is secured the debt be sold under foreclosure proceedings to pay the debt. The party suing probably has chosen to seek a judicial foreclosure rather than use the foreclosure provisions of the mortgage or deed of trust. Usually this move is made to get a "deficiency judgment" for any amount still owed after the foreclosure sale.

Judicial notice


The authority of a Judge to accept as facts certain matters which are of common knowledge from sources which guarantee accuracy or are a matter of official record, without the need for evidence establishing the fact.

Judicial proceedings


Any action by a judge such as: trials, hearings, petitions or other matters formally before the Court.

Judicial sale


A sale of goods by an official who is appointed by the Court and ordered by a Court, usually to satisfy a judgment or implement another order of the court. Such sales require public notice of time, place and a description of the goods to be sold.

Jump bail


To fail to appear for a Court appearance after depositing (posting) bail with the intention of avoiding prosecution, sentencing or going to jail. Posting bail guarantees that the accused person will give up the money if he/she does not show up in court. It allows the accused person to remain free pending the final decision on his/her criminal case. In some circumstances a criminal defendant can be declared to have jumped bail even before missing an appearance in court, if it is discovered he/she has left the country, disappeared or made plans to flee. At that point the court can revoke the bail and issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest. It is also called "skipping" bail.

Jurat


(jur-at) n. In Latin for "been sworn," the portion of an affidavit in which a person has sworn that the contents of his/her written statement are true, filled in by the notary public with the date, name of the person swearing, sometimes the place where sworn, and the name of the person before whom the oath was made. A jurat is not to be confused with an "acknowledgment" in which the signer of a document such as a deed to real property has sworn to the notary public that he/she executed the document, and the notary signs and seals the document to that effect.

Jurisdiction


The authority which is given by law to a Court to try cases and rule on legal matters within a particular geographic area and/or over certain types of legal cases. It is vital to determine before a lawsuit is filed which court has jurisdiction.

Jurisdictional amount


The range between the minimum and maximum amount of money or value in dispute in a lawsuit, which determines which court has jurisdiction to try the case.

Jurisprudence


The entire subject of law, the study of law and legal questions.

Jurist


Although it means any attorney or legal scholar, jurist popularly refers to a judge.

Juror


Any person who actually serves on a jury. Lists of potential jurors are chosen from various sources such as registered voters. The names are drawn by lot and requested to appear for possible service. Before a trial begins the names of jurors are assigned to a trial court, and a further selection process is made. A member of a Grand Jury is called a grand juror.

Jury


One of the remarkable innovations of the English common law (from the Angles and Saxons, but also employed in Normandy prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066), it is a group of citizens called to hear a trial of a criminal prosecution or a lawsuit, decide the factual questions of guilt or innocence or determine the prevailing party (winner) in a lawsuit and the amount to be paid, if any, by the loser. Once selected, the jury is sworn to give an honest and fair decision.

Jury box


The enclosed area in which the jury sits in assigned seats during a jury trial.

Jury fees


The rather minimal amount which is paid each day to jurors. In criminal trials, this amount is paid by the government, but in civil lawsuits the jury fees are paid by the parties to the lawsuit in equal amounts. It is important for a party requesting a jury trial to deposit the first day's jury fees with the clerk of the Court at set time in advance of the trial date, or the right to a jury trial may be lost on the basis that he/she/it has "waived" the right to a jury. The winner of the lawsuit (prevailing party) is usually entitled to reimbursement (payment by the loser) of jury fees as a court cost.

Jury of one's peers


A guaranteed right of criminal defendants, in which "peer" means an "equal." This has been interpreted by Courts to mean that the available jurors include a broad spectrum of the population, particularly of race, national origin and gender. Jury selection may include no process which excludes those of a particular race or intentionally narrows the spectrum of possible jurors. See also: jury

Jury panel


The list from which jurors for a particular trial may be chosen.

Jury selection


The methods by which a jury is chosen, with a panel of potential jurors called, questioning of the jury by the judge and attorneys (voir dire), dismissal for cause, peremptory challenges by the attorneys without stating a cause and finally impaneling of the jury.

Jury stress


A form of emotional, mental, psychological, physical and sexual tension found to affect juries in long trials due to exhaustion, sequestration, the mountain of evidence and the desire to do the right thing.

Jury tampering


The crime of attempting to influence a jury through any illegal means other than presenting evidence and argument in Court, including conversations about the case outside the court, offering bribes, making threats or asking acquaintances to intercede with a juror.

Jury trial


A trial of a lawsuit or criminal prosecution in which the case is presented to a jury and the factual questions and the final judgment are determined by a jury. This is different from a "Court trial" in which the judge decides factual as well as legal questions, and makes the final judgment.

Just compensation


A) a fair and reasonable amount of money which is to be paid for work performed or to make one "whole" after loss due to damages. B) The full value which is to be paid for property taken by the government for public purposes.

Justice


A) fairness. B) moral rightness. C) A scheme or system of law in which every person receives his/her/its due from the system, including all rights, both natural and legal. One problem is that attorneys, judges and legislatures often get caught up more in procedure than in achieving justice for all. D) An appellate judge, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Justice of the peace


(JP) A judge who handles minor legal matters such as misdemeanors, small claims actions and traffic matters in "justice courts." Dating back to early English common law, "JPs" were very common up to the 1950s, but they now exist primarily in rural "justice districts" from which it is unreasonable for the public to travel to the county seat for trials of minor matters.

Justiciable


A matter which is capable of being decided by a court. Usually it is combined in such terms as: "justiciable issue," "justiciable cause of action" or "justiciable case."

Justifiable homicide


A killing without evil or criminal intent, for which there can be no blame, such as self-defense to protect oneself or to protect another or the shooting by a law enforcement officer in fulfilling his/her duties. This is not to be confused with a crime of passion or claim of diminished capacity, which refer to defenses aimed at reducing the penalty or degree of crime.

Juvenile court


A special Court or department of a trial Court which deals with under-age accused who is charged with crimes or who are neglected or out of the control of their parents. The normal age of these defendants is under eighteen, but juvenile Court does not have jurisdiction in cases in which minors are charged as adults. The procedure in juvenile court is not always adversarial (although the minor is entitled to legal representation by a lawyer). It can be an attempt to involve parents or social workers and probation officers in the process to achieve positive results and save the minor from involvement in future crimes. However, serious crimes and repeated offenses can result in sentencing juvenile offenders to prison, with transfer to prison upon reaching adulthood with limited maximum sentences. Where parental neglect or loss of control is a problem, the juvenile court may seek out foster homes for the juvenile, treating the child as a ward of the court.

Juvenile delinquent


A person who is under age, who is found to have committed a crime which have declared by law that a minor lacks responsibility and thus may not be sentenced as an adult.