- M -
Magistrate (See U.S. Magistrate Judge.) - Judicial officer exercising
some of the functions of a judge. It also refers in a general way to a
Malfeasance - The commission of an unlawful act.
Malicious prosecution - An action instituted with intention of
injuring the defendant and without probable cause, and which terminates
in favor of the person prosecuted.
Malpractice - Any professional misconduct.
Manslaughter - The unlawful killing of another without intent
to kill; either voluntary (upon a sudden impulse); or involuntary (during
the commission of an unlawful act not ordinarily expected to result in
great bodily harm). (See also murder.)
Marshal - The executive officer of the federal court.
Martindale-Hubbell Law - A publication of several volumes which
contains names, addresses, Director specialties, and rating of United States
lawyers; also includes digests of state and foreign statutory law.
Mediation - A form of alternative dispute resolution in which
the parties bring their dispute to a neutral third party, who helps them
agree on a settlement.
Memorandum - An informal note or instrument embodying something
the parties desire to have in written evidence.
Memorialized - In writing.
Merger - The absorption of one thing or right into another.
Minor - A person under the age of legal competence.
Minute book - A book maintained by the courtroom deputy (bailiff),
which contains minute entries of all hearings and trial conducted by the
Minutes - Memorandum of a transaction or proceeding.
Miranda warning - Requirement that police tell a suspect in their
custody of his or her constitutional rights before they question him or
her. So named as a result of the Miranda v. Arizona ruling by the United
States Supreme Court.
Misdemeanor - A criminal offense lesser than a felony and generally
punishable by fine or by imprisonment other than in a penitentiary.
Misfeasance - Improper performance of an act which a person might
Mistrial - An invalid trial, caused by fundamental error. When
a mistrial is declared, the trial must start again from the selection of
Mitigating circumstances - Those which do not constitute a justification
or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reasons for reducing
the degree of blame.
Mittimus - The name of an order in writing, issuing from a court
and directing the sheriff or other officer to convey a person to a prison,
asylum, or reformatory, and directing the jailer or other appropriate official
to receive and safely keep the person until his or her fate shall be determined
by due course of law.
Mitigation - A reduction, abatement, or diminution of a penalty
or punishment imposed by law.
Moot - A moot case or a moot point is one not subject to a judicial
determination because it involves an abstract question or a pretended controversy
that has not yet actually arisen or has already passed. Mootness usually
refers to a court's refusal to consider a case because the issue involved
has been resolved prior to the court's decision, leaving nothing that would
be affected by the court's decision.
Motion - An application made to a court
or judge which requests a ruling or order in favor of the applicant.
Motion in Limine - A motion made by counsel requesting that information
which might be prejudicial not be allowed to be heard in a case.
Murder - The unlawful killing of a human being with deliberate
intent to kill: (1) murder in the first degree is characterized by premeditation;
(2) murder in the second degree is characterized by a sudden and instantaneous
intent to kill or to cause injury without caring whether the injury kills
Mutual assent - A meeting of the minds; agreement.
- N -
National Labor Relations Board. (NLRB) - A federal agency which
prevents and remedies unfair labor practices by employers and labor organizations
Naturalization - Process by which a person acquires nationality
after birth and becomes entitled to privileges of citizenship.
Negligence - Failure to use care which a reasonable and prudent
person would use under similar circumstances.
Negotiation - The process of submission and consideration of
offers until an acceptable offer is made and accepted.
Next friend - One acting without formal appointment as guardian
for the benefit of an infant, a person of unsound mind not judicially declared
incompetent, or other person under some disability.
No Bill - This phrase, endorsed by a grand jury on the written
indictment submitted to it for its approval, means that the evidence was
found insufficient to indict.
No-contest Clause - Language in a will that provides that a person
who makes a legal challenge to the will's validity will be disinherited.
No-fault Proceedings - A civil case in which parties may resolve
their dispute without a formal finding of error or fault.
Noise Control Act - A act which gives government agencies the
right to promulgate standards and regulations relating to abatement of
noise emissions, i.e., requirement that autos and like vehicles must have
Nonfeasance - Nonperformance of an act which should be performed;
omission to perform a required duty or total neglect of duty.
Nonjury trial - Trial before the court but without a jury.
Notary Public - A public officer whose function it is to administer
oaths, to attest and certify documents, and to take acknowledgments.
Notice - Formal notification to the party that has been sued
in a civil case of the fact that the lawsuit has been filed. Also, any
form of notification of a legal proceeding.
Notice to creditors - A notice given by the bankruptcy court
to all creditors of a meeting of creditors.
Nuncupative will - An oral (unwritten) will.