The terms and definitions on this page are relevant to criminal cases in the State of Michigan, United States of America, unless noted otherwise. Criminal laws and procedures in other states and countries may be very different.
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The legal system can be filled with confusing phrases and terms. This list should help you to understand that system a little better.
- Based on People v Ginther, 390 Mich 436 (1973), an evidentiary hearing on a defendant's motion for new trial claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.
- Reduction in time served in county jails as reward for good behavior. "Truth in Sentencing" laws have eliminated good-time reduction of prison sentences for felonies.
- A group of citizens convened in a criminal case to consider the prosecutor's evidence and determine whether probable cause exists to prosecute a suspect for a felony. Grand juries are rarely used in Michigan state courts, but are used by Federal courts.
Guardian Ad Litem
- A person appointed by the court to protect the legal interests of an infant or an incompetent adult, or a missing person who is involved in a court case. The court will appoint a guardian ad litem in cases of juvenile abuse or neglect. The "GAL" may be an attorney.