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32 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Appellate Court

A court that is empowered to rehear cases originating in a trial court.

Bureau of Justice Statistics

The mission of BJS is to collect, analyze, publish, and disseminate information on crime, criminal offenders, victims of crime, and the operation of justice systems at all levels of government.


A comprehensive set of laws arranged by subject.

Common Law

The legal system that originated in England and is now in use in the United States; relies heavily on judicial decisions.

Congress of the United States

The legislative branch of the United States government, composed of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Sentate.


A body of fundamental principles by which a nation or state is governed.

Criminal Code

The portion of the United States Code or the Code of an individual state that deals with criminal law.

Decisions (courts)

The written opinions of appellate courts that have the force of law in common law countries like the United States.

Dual Court System

A term describing the American governmental structure characterized by having both state courts and federal courts.

Dual Federalism

A system of government like that of the United States where there are both national and state governments.

Due Process

The constitutional guarantee that a defendant will receive fair and impartial treatment by the criminal justice system.


Carrying out justice system activities with proper regard for equity, proportionality, constitutional protections afforded defendants and convicted offenders, and public safety.


Economically applying available resources to accomplish statutory goals as well as to improve public safety.

Executive Branch

The branch of government tasked with the administration of public affairs, and the enforcement of laws and policies.


Justice issues such as assuring equal treatment and handling of like offenders and giving equal weight to legally relevant factors in sentencing.

Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure

Rules promulgated by the SCOTUS that govern how federal criminal prosecutions are conducted.


An organizational structure where elements are arranged by rank.

Infancy Defense

The common law doctrine that very young children were incapable of forming a culpable mental state, and thus were not subject to criminal prosecution.

Judicial Review

The power of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of legislative enactments.


The court system of a country or state; judges taken collectively.

Juvenile Justice

Elements of the criminal justice system designed to deal with lawbreaking by those not old enough to enter the adult system.


An elected body, such as Congress, that has the constitutional authority to make laws.

Nonsystem Argument

An argument that the components of the criminal justice system are in conflict, and that there is actually no system at all.

Penal Code

A body of statutes that specify crimes and their punishments; more commonly referred to as the substantive criminal law or the criminal code.

Plea Bargain

A negotiated agreement between the prosecution and the defendant where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser crime than that originally charged, or to a lesser sentence than can normally be expected if the case goes to trial.

Procedural Due Process

The constitutional idea that the criminal justice system must treat people in a fundamentally fair way.


A group of interrelated parts that work together to accomplish a common set of objectives.

Three Branches of Government

The three branches of the American government established by the Constitution are the executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

Trial Court

A court having original jurisdiction in criminal matters as opposed to an appellate court.


Not in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of a particular state.

United States Supreme Court

The highest court in the United States; composed of eight associate Justices and one Chief Justice.


Supreme Court of the United States