Dead Man Walking | Study Guide

Sister Helen Prejean

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Dead Man Walking | Glossary of Key Terms


appellate: (adj)refers to the appeal of a conviction or sentence, as in a Court of Appeals, or appellate court.
capital crime: (n)a crime that may be punished by execution. Treason and murder are often classified as capital crimes.
commute: (v)to change or undo a legal punishment. Sentences imposed by a court or jury may be commuted (changed or reversed) by an appeals court or a pardon board.
grand jury: (n)jury empaneled by a prosecutor to determine if available evidence warrants a formal trial.
habeas corpus: (n)a part of common law requiring that the accused be brought before a judge or court. Habeas corpus is the right granted to an accused or claimant to have charges explained by a judge or court to ensure that he or she has not been imprisoned illegally.
litigate: (v) to file suit or bring to court. To litigate means to engage in a legal contest by means of a judicial process.
voir dire: (n)literally, to speak the truth. Voir dire refers to the questioning of potential jurors to determine who shall sit on the jury during a trial, or assessing the competence of potential witnesses in a trial.
writ: (n)a legal document. A writ is a specific type of legal document written to command or request that the person to whom it is written, often a court official or judge, perform or not perform a specified action.

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