Sample Briefs, Writs
The language of the Court has very specific
and different meanings from words in everyday use. The terms
the Court uses also frequently employs latin as a matter of
custom, practice and brevity. The following definitions are
typical of the terms you might encounter in court documents
or briefs. However, it is only a partial list of the many hundreds
of words and phrases used in law.
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A party may file a notice of abandonment if he decides
not to pursue the appeal or writ. Before
the record is filed, the request or a stipulation to dismiss
the appeal is filed in the superior court.
After the record is filed, the request or stipulation is filed
in the appellate court. The notice of
abandonment operates as a dismissal of the appeal and revests
jurisdiction in the trial court.
The appellate court may grant or deny the request after the record
has been filed. As a practical
matter, parties who request dismissal during the later stages
of an appeal or writ proceeding
risk a greater possibility that the court will deny the request.
Abuse of discretion
Under this standard, the appellate court gives deference to the lower
court's view of the evidence, and reverses its decision only if it were a clear
abuse of discretion. This is usually defined as a decision outside the bounds
of reasonableness. An appellate court will not disturb a trial court's exercise
of discretion simply because a different ruling would have been better. On
the other hand, the appellate court normally gives less deference to a lower
court's decision on issues of law, and may reverse if it finds that the lower
court applied the wrong legal standard.
A person appointed only for the purposes of prosecuting or
defending an action on behalf of another such as a child or
mentally-challenged person. Also called a guardian ad litem.
A formal sworn statement of fact, signed by the declarant (who
is called the affiant or deponent) and witnessed (as to the veracity
of the affiant's signature) by a taker of oaths, such as a notary
public. The name is Medieval Latin for "he has declared
In the practice of the court of appeals, it means that the court
of appeals has concluded that the lower court decision is correct
and will stand as rendered by the lower court.
A rarely used alternative to the reporter’s transcript
on appeal, consisting of a narrative description of the trial
Is in the nature of an order to show cause. Commands the respondent
court to either take the action specified in the writ or show
cause why the act has not been performed. See definition of Order
to Show Cause.
Latin for "friend of the court." It is advice formally
offered to the court in a brief filed by an entity interested
in, but not a party to, the case.
Refers to the requirements established by the United States Supreme
Court in Anders v. California (1967) 386 U.S. 738, for a "no
issue" brief in a criminal appeal. Appointed counsel who
finds an appeal to be wholly frivolous should file a written
request to withdraw accompanied by the filing of a brief citing
to anything in the record that might potentially support the
appeal. The brief must be given to the indigent defendant who
is afforded the opportunity to raise his own contentions. If
after a review of the record the appellate court determines there
are no nonfrivilous issues, the court may decide the case even
without the participation of counsel. See also the description
in "Wende Brief."
A request made after a trial by a party that has lost on one
or more issues that a higher court review the decision to determine
if it was correct. To make such a request is "to appeal"
or "to take an appeal." One who appeals is called the
"appellant;" the other party is the "appellee."
The party who appeals a district court's decision, usually seeking
reversal of that decision.
About appeals; an appellate court has the power to review the
judgment of a lower court (trial court) or tribunal. For example,
the U.S. circuit courts of appeals review the decisions of the
U.S. district courts.
The power of a court to review the decisions and change the
outcomes of the decisions of previous, lower-level courts.
The review process begins when a party or parties dissatisfied
with the decision of the lower court appeal the decision to
an appellate court. Depending on the court and the type of
case, appellate review may consist of an entirely new hearing
on the matter (a trial de novo), or may be limited to a review
of particular legal rulings made by the inferior tribunal (an
appeal on the record).
The party who opposes an appellant's appeal, and who seeks
to persuade the appeals court to affirm the district court's
The most common alternative to a clerk’s transcript. Prepared
by the parties instead of the clerk, it consists of copies of
the desired superior court documents. It avoids the cost of a
clerk’s transcript, allows the parties to select only pertinent
superior court documents to include in the record, and avoids
the delay of having the clerk prepare the transcript. The party
must file a notice of election within 10 days of filing the notice
of appeal to proceed by appendix rather than a clerk’s
transcript. The “appendix”
also refers to portions of the appellate record a party wants
to highlight for the court by inclusion at the end of a brief.
Association of counsel
A trial attorney who desires to remain the attorney of record
in a case may associate appellate counsel to handle the appeal
by filing a notice of association of counsel in the appellate
A party seeking to include exhibits, documents, or reported hearings
in the appellate record that are not part of the normal record
on appeal as set forth in the rules of court may file a written
motion to the presiding justice requesting augmentation of the
appellate record to include the exhibits or documents in the
clerk's transcript or the reported hearings in the reporter's
transcript. See "Sample Motions" portion
of this website for an example.
A trial without a jury, in which the judge serves as the fact-finder.
Bifurcated determinations, such as negligence and damages issues
tried separately. There is no appealable final judgment until
all phases of the trial have concluded, except to the extent
otherwise provided by statute.
A written statement submitted in a trial or appellate proceeding
that explains one side's legal and factual arguments.
A complete collection of every document filed in court in a case.
The law as established in previous court decisions. A synonym
for legal precedent. Akin to common law, which springs from tradition
and judicial decisions.
Certiorari (Writ of Certiorari)
Latin for "to be informed of." A writ of common law
origin issued by a reviewing court to an inferior court to produce
a certified record of a particular case tried in that court.
The writ issues to correct a completed judicial act in excess
of jurisdiction. The writ is also the means by which an appellant
requests appellate review in the United States Supreme Court.
Civil case information statement
The appellant in a civil appeal must file a “civil case
information statement” in a form prescribed by the Judicial
Council. Cal. Rules of Court, 8.100(f). The main purpose of the
statement is to all the appellate court to identify defects relating
to timeliness and appealability before the appellate record is
Clear and convincing evidence
A judgment awarding punitive damages must be supported by clear
and convincing evidence of defendant’s “oppression,
fraud, or malice.” Civil Code section 3294. Real world
meaning: it is the intermediate level of burden of persuasion
sometimes employed in the U.S. civil procedure. To prove something
by "clear and convincing evidence", the party with
the burden of proof must convince the trier of fact that it is
substantially more likely than not that the thing is in fact
true. This is a lesser requirement than "proof
beyond a reasonable doubt", which requires that the
trier of fact be close to certain of the truth of the matter
asserted, but a stricter requirement than proof by "preponderance
of the evidence,"
which merely requires that the matter asserted seem more likely
true than not.
A finding is clearly erroneous when although there is evidence
to support it, the reviewing court on the entire evidence is
left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has
Clerk of the Court
The court officer who oversees administrative functions, especially
managing the flow of cases through the court. The clerk's office
is often called a court's central nervous system.
The legal system that originated in England and is now in use
in the United States that relies on the articulation of legal
principles in a historical succession of judicial decisions.
Common law principles can be changed by legislation.
Coram nobis (trial court)
A coram nobis (latin meaning: "the error before us")
petition applies to persons who have already been convicted and
have served their sentence. It may seek to remove probation requirements
or restrictions, eliminate payment or obtain refund of court
imposed fines, restore voting rights and gun ownership, improve
employment and credit potential, remove a public stigma, and
so forth, in order to restore so far as possible the erroneously
convicted party to a pre-conviction state. Motions may be filed
by heirs at law even after the original person is deceased.
Coram vobis (appellate court)
Latin for "before you." A writ of error directed by
a reviewing court to the trial court to correct an error of fact.
When during the course of an appeal the appellant discovers new
evidence that would have supported the granting of a new trial
or reconsideration, the appellate court is empowered to issue
a writ of coram vobis commanding the trial court to reconsider
its decision in light of the new evidence. The writ is considered
a "drastic remedy" which is available only if there
is no other legal recourse to the appellant and the appellant
demonstrates extrinsic fraud or the type of fraud that prohibited
the appellant from having a meaningful hearing on the issue.
Some reviewing courts relax the extrinsic fraud requirement if
an injustice would result.
The prevailing party on appeal is entitled to recover “costs.”
Government entity authorized to resolve legal disputes. Judges
sometimes use "court" to refer to themselves in the
third person, as in "the court has read the briefs."
Money that a defendant pays a plaintiff in a civil case if the
plaintiff has won. Damages may be compensatory (for loss or injury)
or punitive (to punish and deter future misconduct).
Death knell order
An order denying certification to an entire class is an appealable
final judgment because it finally disposes of the entire class
A judge's statement about someone's rights. For example, a plaintiff
may seek a declaratory judgment that a particular statute, as
written, violates some constitutional right.
Latin, meaning "in fact" or "actually." Something
that exists in fact but not as a matter of law.
A judgment awarding a plaintiff the relief sought in the complaint
because the defendant has failed to appear in court or otherwise
respond to the complaint.
Latin, meaning "in law." Something that exists by operation
A pleading by the defendant that contests the legal sufficiency
of the complaint without admitting or denying the allegations
therein. Demurrers are usually filed at the beginning of a case.
It is filed before the answer and can be characterized as the
defendant’s way of saying “so what?” after
reading a plaintiff's complaint. A demurrer is not a challenge
to the ultimate merits of a case or claim. When ruling on a demurrer
a judge is required by law to assume as true facts alleged in
the complaint. Subject to very few exceptions, the Judge cannot
rule on a demurrer based on the Judge's perception of a plaintiff's
The response to the "return" to an order to show cause
in the trial court. See "Traverse" for
a complete description.
Also known as independent review. In cases where the lower court
made errors of law or procedure that, absent that mistake, would
have materially changed the verdict or judgement, the Court of
Appeal can review the record as "new"– as if
there was never a lower court ruling. Purely legal issues are
usually reviewed independently by the appellate court because
the trial court is in no better position than the appellate court
to determine what the law is.
Where the California Supreme Court directs that a published Court
of Appeal opinion not be published in the official reports. Any
person may request the Supreme Court to depublish an opinion
certified for publication. CRC 8.1125(a)(1). The request must
be made by a maximum 10-page letter to the Supreme Court within
30 days of the decision becoming final in the Court of Appeal.
Any person may oppose the depublication request by submitting
a maximum 10-page response within 10 days after receipt of the
depublication request in the Supreme Court.
An oral statement made before an officer authorized by law to
administer oaths. Such statements are often taken to examine
potential witnesses, to obtain discovery, or to be used later
Those statements that are not necessary to the holding in the
case and therefore have no precedential value.
Discharge of writ
Occasionally, after issuing an alternative writ, the reviewing
court may determine that there was a defect in the petition and
discharge the alternative writ without a hearing.
Procedures used to obtain disclosure of evidence before trial.
Dismissal with Prejudice
Court action that prevents an identical lawsuit from being filed
Dismissal without Prejudice
Court action that allows the later filing.
A federal district court has jurisdiction where the two parties
are from different states or different countries where the case
is worth more than $75,000.
In criminal law, the constitutional guarantee that a defendant
will receive a fair and impartial
trial. In civil law, the legal rights of someone who confronts
an adverse action threatening
liberty or property.
French, meaning "on the bench." All judges of an appellate
court sitting together to hear a case, as opposed to the routine
disposition by panels of three judges. In the Ninth Circuit,
an en banc panel consists of the Chief Justice and 10 randomly
selected judges. In the absence of the Chief Justice, an active
judge shall be drawn by lot, and the most senior active judge
on the panel shall preside.
Pertaining to civil suits in "equity" rather than in "law."
In English legal history, the courts of "law" could
order the payment of damages and could afford no other remedy.
See damages. A separate court of "equity" could order
someone to do something or to cease to do something. See, e.g.,
injunction. In American jurisprudence, the federal courts have
both legal and equitable power, but the distinction is still
an important one. For example, a trial by jury is normally available
in "law" cases but not in "equity" cases.
Information presented in testimony or in documents that is used
to persuade the fact finder (judge or jury) to decide the case
in favor of one side or the other.
Doctrine that says evidence obtained in violation of a criminal
defendant's constitutional or statutory rights is not admissible
Evidence indicating that a defendant did not commit the crime.
Exhibits are not included in the clerk’s transcript. Instead,
a party may request the superior court clerk to separately transmit
the exhibits to the Court of Appeal shortly after the respondent’s
brief is filed. The original exhibits when lodged in the Court
of Appeal are considered part of the clerk’s transcript.
A proceeding brought before a court by one party only, without
notice to or challenge by the
Federal question jurisdiction
Jurisdiction given to federal courts in cases involving the interpretation
and application of the U.S. Constitution, acts of Congress, and
To place a paper in the official custody of the clerk of court
to enter into the files or records
of a case.
There is a common law “one final judgment” rule;
i.e. an appeal lies only from a final judgment that terminates
the trial court proceedings by completely disposing of the matter
in controversy. The rule is premised on the theory that multiple
appeals from judgments are costly and time consuming. Griset
v. Fair Political Practices Comm’n (2001) 25 Cal.4th 688,
Latin, meaning "you have the body." A writ of habeas
corpus (also known as the "great writ") generally is
a judicial order forcing law enforcement authorities to produce
a prisoner they are holding, and to justify the prisoner's continued
confinement. In cases originating in state court, the habeas
petitions may not be filed in federal court to challenge a criminal
conviction until state court remedies are exhausted by appeal
or habeas petition and there has been a request for discretionary
review or a habeas petition to the state supreme court. California
courts (trial and appellate) have original jurisdiction over
habeas petitions. It is also the statutorily preferred remedy
with respect to some orders in juvenile dependency cases where
an appeal would delay a dependent child's progress towards permanency
and stability. In addition, contempt judgments are not reviewable
by appeal, but are reviewable by writ of habeas corpus.
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.
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
Latin, meaning in a judge's chambers. Often means outside the
presence of a jury and the
public. In private.
Evidence indicating that a defendant did commit the crime.
The superior court may waive the $100 transcript deposit for
indigent appellants. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.1009b)(2). In
a narrow category of civil appeals involving state controls or
intrusions on family relationships, an indigence waiver of the
transcript deposit is constitutionally required.
In forma pauperis
"In the manner of a pauper." Permission given by the court to a person
to file a case without payment of the required court fees because the person
cannot pay them.
An official of the judicial branch with authority to decide lawsuits
brought before courts. Used generically, the term judge may also
refer to all judicial officers, including Supreme Court justices.
The official decision of a court finally resolving the dispute
between the parties to the lawsuit.
The legal authority of a court to hear and decide a certain type
of case. It also is used as a synonym for venue, meaning the
geographic area over which the court has territorial jurisdiction
to decide cases.
The group of persons selected to hear the evidence in a trial
and render a verdict on matters
of fact. See also grand jury.
A judge's directions to the jury before it begins deliberations
regarding the factual questions it
must answer and the legal rules that it must apply.
A legal action started by a plaintiff against a defendant based
on a complaint that the defendant failed to perform a legal duty
which resulted in harm to the plaintiff.
A case, controversy, or lawsuit. Participants (plaintiffs and
defendants) in lawsuits are
A judicial officer of a district court who conducts initial proceedings
in criminal cases, decides criminal misdemeanor cases, conducts
many pretrial civil and criminal matters on behalf of district
judges, and decides civil cases with the consent of the parties.
Also known as the writ of mandamus, is the most commonly used
writ in civil cases. The writ lies to correct an abuse in the
exercise of discretion by the respondent court or to enforce
a nondiscretionary duty to act on the part of the court, administrative
agency, or officers of a corporate or administrative agency.
Not subject to a court ruling because the controversy has not
actually arisen, or has ended.
A request by a litigant to a judge for a decision on an issue
relating to the case.
Motion in Limine
Any motion before or during a trial requesting the court to bar
the other side from mentioning or presenting issues that could
No contest. A plea of nolo contendere has the same effect as
a plea of guilty, as far as the criminal sentence is concerned,
but may not be considered as an admission of guilt for any
A judge's written explanation of the decision of the court. Because
a case may be heard by three or more judges in the court of appeals,
the opinion in appellate decisions can take several forms. If
all the judges completely agree on the result, one judge will
write the opinion for all. If all the judges do not agree, the
formal decision will be based upon the view of the majority,
and one member of the majority will write the opinion. The judges
who did not agree with the majority may write separately in dissenting
or concurring opinions to present their views.
A dissenting opinion disagrees with the majority opinion because
of the reasoning and/or the principles of law the majority used
to decide the case. A concurring opinion agrees with the decision
of the majority opinion, but offers further comment or clarification
or even an entirely different reason for reaching the same result.
Only the majority opinion can serve as binding precedent in future
cases. See also precedent.
An opportunity for lawyers to summarize their position before
the court and also to answer the judges' questions.
Order to Show
A command from the reviewing court to the respondent court to
show cause why the relief requested in the writ should not be
granted. An order to show cause issued by the reviewing court
requires the respondent to file what is known as a "return" to
the writ petition alleging facts that justify the judgment or
a prisoner's incarceration.
The reviewing court must give what is known as "Palma
notice" (Palma v. United States Industrial Fasteners, Inc.
(1984) 36 Cal.3d 171, 180) notifying the real party in interest
that the court is considering a peremptory writ.
In appellate cases, a group of judges (usually three) assigned
to decide the case.
Party in interest
A party who has standing to be heard by the court in any matter
to be decided in an appeal.
Latin, meaning "for the court." In appellate courts,
often refers to an unsigned opinion.
Is the reviewing court's ultimate determination that the respondent
court is to grant the relief requested. A peremptory writ may
issue in the first instance in mandamus or prohibition or after
hearing on an alternative writ. Normally, a peremptory writ will
not issue in the first instance unless there is unusual urgency
or the entitlement to relief is obvious, and the reviewing court
must give Palma notice.
The "petition" also refers to the request by the petitioning
party (known as the "petitioner") to the reviewing
court to issue a writ. The petition sets forth the factual and
legal circumstances for which writ relief is an appropriate remedy
and why remedies at law are inadequate. The petition consists
of the petition itself, a supporting memorandum, and exhibits.
Plain error is defined as (1) an error; (2) that is clear or
plain; (3) that affects the defendants' substantial rights; and
(4) that seriously affects the fairness, integrity, or public
reputation of the judicial proceeding.
Written statements filed with the court which describe a party's
legal or factual assertions about the case.
A court decision in an earlier case with facts or legal issues
similar to a dispute currently before a court. Judges will generally "follow
precedent" — meaning that they use the principles
established in earlier cases to decide new cases that have similar
facts or legal issues. Lower courts are bound by an intermediate
appellate court opinion where there is no conflicting precedent.
In California, Supreme Court decisions are considered the "law
of the land"
and cannot be disregarded by any (California) state court.
Preponderance of the evidence
Proof which is of greater weight or more convincing than the
proof that is offered in opposition
to it; that is, proof which as a whole shows that the fact sought
to be proved is more probable
than not. The standard in civil actions, and prima facia hearings.
If the plaintiff's proof is 51% stronger or more convincing than
that of the defending party, their complaint will be upheld by
the court. While this is a relatively low standard of proof,
Plaintiff must still affirmatively prove the allegations it is
asserting by the preponderance of the evidence.
The writ of prohibition is the process by which a reviewing court
prohibits an inferior court from acting in excess of its jurisdiction.
In practice, the writ will lie to prevent the inferior court
from exercising any unauthorized use of power contrary to the
constitution, statutes, or established case law. Examples of
situations where the writ will lie are when a party has failed
to to exhaust administrative remedies, a court's granting of
an unauthorized cost award, judicial action taken after the lapse
of a jurisdictional time limit, and the improper grant or denial
of a jury trial.
A slang expression sometimes used to refer to a pro se litigant.
It is a corruption of the Latin phrase "in propria persona."
Representing oneself. Serving as one's own lawyer.
An opinion that meets the standards for publication. An interested
party may file a letter with the appellate court requesting publication
of an opinion that meets the standards for publication set out
in the appellate court rules. There are deadlines for requesting
publication of a decision. In California, the deadline is 20
days after the opinion is filed. CRC 8.1120(a)(2).
is the standard
required by the prosecution in
most criminal cases within our
adversarial court system. This means that the
proposition being presented by the government
must be proven to the extent that there is no "reasonable
doubt" in the mind of a reasonable person that the defendant
is guilty. There can still be a doubt, but only to the extent
that it would not affect a "reasonable person's" belief
that the defendant is guilty. If the doubt that is raised does
affect a "reasonable person's"
belief that the defendant is guilty, the jury is not satisfied
beyond a "reasonable doubt". In the United States,
it is usually reversible error to instruct a jury that they should
find guilt on a certain percentage of certainty (such as 90%
certain). Usually, reasonable doubt is defined as "any doubt
which would make a reasonable person hesitate in the most important
of his or her affairs."
Send back. This is one possible remedy or action the Court
of Appeal may take.
Also know as replication. The petitioner's response to the "return"
to an order to show cause or alternative writ is known as the
reply or replication. If the reviewing court has not set a briefing
schedule, the reply must be filed within 15 days after the return
is filed. Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.490(h)(2) & (3).
Restitution after reversal
the real party
in interest files in response
to an order to show cause or
an alternative writ issued by
the reviewing court. The return
may be a demurrer, verified answer, or both.
The factual allegations in the return are normally
accompanied by a Memorandum of Points and Authorities
setting forth the real party in interest's legal
argument why writ relief should not be granted.
With the filing of the return, the matter becomes
and a written opinion must be filed whether or not relief is
granted. The return must normally be verified.
Reversible error per se
The act of a court setting aside the decision of a lower court.
A reversal is often accompanied by a remand to the lower court
for further proceedings.
Sanctions are available on appeal if the appellate court deems
that the appeal is frivolous or taken for purposes of harassment
A federal judge who, after attaining the requisite age and
length of judicial experience, takes senior status, thus creating
a vacancy among a court's active judges. A senior judge retains
the judicial office and may cut back his or her workload by as
much as 75 percent, but many opt to keep a larger caseload.
Is a "condensed narrative of the oral proceedings that the
appellant believes necessary for the appeal." Cal. Rules
of Court, rule 8.137(b)(1). It is rarely used to replace the
reporter's transcript on appeal, but is more often used to replace
or supplement the reporter's transcript when the proceedings
cannot be transcribed through no fault of the appellant. An example
of when a settled statement can be used to supplement the reporter's
transcript is to make a record of discussions between counsel
and the court at the bench that are unreported.
Standard of Review
are abuse of discretion, substantial
evidence, and de novo or independent review.
Federal decisions add what is known as
"clear error" and "plain
Standing to Appeal
Parties have standing to appeal only if they have been
legally injured by the appealable judgment or order. The test
for determining whether a party has been aggrieved is to ask
"Would the party have had the thing, if the erroneous judgment
had not been given?" Estate of Kouba (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th
May be a motion to strike a brief for failing to follow
Latin, meaning "of its own will." Often refers to a
court taking an action in a case without being asked to do so
by either side.
California appellate courts are bound by the substantial evidence
rule in reviewing the sufficiency of the evidence to support
any disputed fact question. The reviewing court must determine
on the entire record whether there is substantial evidence, contradicted
or uncontradicted, that will support the appealed judgment or
determination. Substantial evidence is evidence that is of ponderable
legal significance. It must be reasonable, credible, and of solid
value. So long as there is substantial evidence, the appellate
court must affirm, even if the justices personally would have
ruled differently if they had presided over the proceedings below,
and even if other substantial evidence would have supported a
different result. In contrast, mere speculation cannot support
Supersedeas (Writ of Supersedeas)
Also known as the writ of supersedeas and is used to suspend
the trial court's power to compel execution of an appealed judgment
or order pending review of the appeal and a ruling on the merits
in the appeal. The writ of supersedeas does not pass upon the
merits of the appeal.
The petitioner's reply to the return to a writ of habeas corpus
in the reviewing court. The traverse is equivalent to an answer
to the complaint in civil proceedings and contains denials of
the allegations in the return, alleges facts entitling the petitioner
to relief, and a memorandum of points and authorities setting
out the petitioner's legal argument. The traverse must normally
be verified. In the reviewing court the response to the return
is known as a
"traverse." If the writ is filed in the trial court
it is called the "Denial."
The appellate court agrees with the lower court decision and
allows it to stand.
"(you)cause to come anew". Venire facias (literally
"(you) cause to come") is a writ issued by an official
of the court summoning prospective jurors. Venire facias de novo
is a legal term which the court uses when there has been some
impropriety or irregularity in the jury, or where the verdict
is so imperfect or ambiguous that no judgment can be given upon
it, and so a new jury must be chosen.
The geographic area in which a court has jurisdiction. A change
of venue is a change or transfer of a case from one judicial
district to another.
The decision of a trial jury or a judge that determines the guilt
or innocence of a criminal defendant, or that determines the
final outcome of a civil case.
Generally refers to the process by which prospective jurors are
questioned about their backgrounds and potential biases before
being invited to sit on a jury. It is also used in questioning
the credentials of an expert being proffered to the Court to
A brief filed by counsel pursuant to People v. Wende
(1979) 25 Cal.3d 436, in a criminal defendant's first appeal
in which appellate counsel informs the appellate court that there
are no arguable issues on appeal and requests the appellate court
to make an independent review of the record. Appointed counsel
is not required to withdraw as long as he does not inform the
reviewing court that the appeal is frivolous and appointed counsel
informs the client of his right to have appellate counsel relieved.
Counsel is required to file a brief with the reviewing court
presenting a complete statement of the case and facts, and a
request for the reviewing court to conduct its own independent
review of the record. The appellant must be informed by appellate
counsel that the intention is to file a Wende brief and that
the appellant may submit his own supplemental brief to the court
if he so desires. The appellate court is required to issue a
written opinion disposing of the possible issues mentioned. Several
cases have purported to extend Wende requirements to non-civil
appeals in juvenile delinquincy appeals, termination of parental
rights, and paternity cases.
A written court order directing a person to take, or refrain
from taking, a certain act.
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