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Legal vocabulary from The Confession

legal vocab

As I promised, I am sharing with you this small glossary of legal vocabulary used in the US that I compiled after having read The Confession by John Grisham.

I’ve also tried to find an equivalent in Spanish and in Russian for each term.

I have a paperback copy of the novel (Dell Export Mass Market Edition, 2011), and the pages that appear in the table are from there.

I didn’t put the words in alphabetical order, but there is sort of logical order instead.

Word Meaning Example / Context Spanish / Russian equivalent
jurisdiction the right or power to administer justice and to apply laws The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (TCCA) has sole jurisdiction over capital murder cases… (p. 241) jurisdicción / юрисдикция
litigation a judicial proceeding or contest The litigation is still pending. (p. 144) litigio / судебное разбирательство
subpoena a writ issued by a court of justice requiring a person to appear before the court at a specified time When the investigation began, and the subpoenas started flying… (p. 470) citación / повестка о явке в суд
affidavit a declaration in writing made upon oath before a person authorized to administer oaths, esp. for use as evidence in court We invited him to sign an affidavit recanting the lies he told at trial… (p. 79) declaración jurada / письменное показание под присягой, аффидевит
motion an application made to a judge or court for an order or ruling necessary to the conduct of legal proceedings Don’t even file a motion, because I won’t consider it. (p. 473) moción / ходатайство
writ of certiorari an order of a superior court directing that a record of proceedings in a lower court be sent up for review [They] immediately filed in the U.S. Supreme Court a petition for a writ of certiorari, or cert, as it’s known; a request that the Court hear the appeal and consider the merits of the petition. (p. 300) auto de avocación /приказ об истребовании дела (из нижестоящего суда в вышестоящий суд)
reversal annulment of a judicial decision [this] should have led to a reversal, which, of course, is pretty rare here in Texas (p. 45) revocación / отмена судебного постановления
stay the suspension of a judicial proceeding “Any chance of some court issuing a last-minute stay?” (p. 176) aplazamiento de una sentencia /приостановление, отсрочка
reprieve a postponement (or remission) of punishment, esp. of a person condemned to death
  • The governor has the right to grant one thirty-day reprieve. (p. 79)
  • The request for a reprieve had been filed… (p. 151)
  • The governor had denied a reprieve… (p. 300)
aplazamiento  de ejecución (o indulto) / отложение приведения в исполнение (смертного) приговора
statute of limitations a legislative enactment prescribing the period of time within which proceedings must be instituted to enforce a right or bring an action at law Tell [him] the statute of limitations has run on perjury (p. 101) estatuto de prescripción / закон о непривлечении к уголовной ответственности за истечением срока давности
immune from liability exempt from obligation, penalty The members of the judiciary were immune from liability… (p. 450) inmune (exento) de responsabilidad / не подлежащий ответственности, освобождаемый от ответственности
to file to bring (a suit) in a court of law We’re filing an insanity petition now. (p. 154) presentar / подавать (заявление, жалобу)
to contest to try to disprove [They were] not contesting the motion. (p. 509) disputar / возражать, оспаривать
to recant to repudiate or withdraw (a former belief or statement), esp. formally in public We invited him to sign an affidavit recanting the lies he told at trial… (p. 79) retractarse de / отказываться (от прежнего заявления, показаний)
to dismiss to decline further hearing to (a claim or action) Much of the lawsuit would be dismantled and eventually dismissed…(p. 450) rechazar / отказывать (в удовлетворении заявления, жалобы)
to quash to annul or make void “Don’t indict anyone; I’ll quash the indictments…” (p. 473) anular, invalidar / отменять, признавать недействительным
to exonerate to clear or absolve from blame or a criminal charge [They] filed a motion to declare Donté not guilty and exonerated… (p. 509) exculpar / реабилитировать, оправдывать
posthumously after one’s death His name would be cleared, even though posthumously. (p. 306) post mórtem / посмертно
to indict to charge (a person) with crime, esp. formally in writing; accuse
  • He was indicted for murder… (p. 465)
  • No cop has ever been indicted for a wrongful conviction. (p. 403)
acusar, imputar / предъявлять обвинение
to prosecute to bring a criminal action against a person for some offence …you could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice (p. 451) procesar / вести уголовное преследование
Miranda rights In the US, the legal rights that a person being arrested by the police must be told about. These include the «right to remain silent» and the right to get advice from a lawyer. These rights were established by the Miranda decision of the US Supreme Court in 1966, in the case of Miranda v. Arizona. [He] produced a sheet of paper and explained that Donté needed to understand his Miranda rights. (p. 86) Derechos Miranda / Правило Миранды
disbarment the removal of a lawyer from a bar association or the practice of law A win there could mean disbarment and further humiliation… (p. 450) procedimiento de inhabilitación del abogado / лишение адвокатского статуса, исключение из адвокатской палаты
to resign from the bench to give up tenure of judge [He] resigned from the bench in disgrace… (p. 143) dimitir del cargo de juez /подавать в отставку (о судье)
obstruction of justice when someone or something prevents or delays a legal process …you could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice (p. 451) obstrucción a la justicia /препятствие правосудию
defamation the injuring of a person’s good name or reputation In 2005, Paul Koffee filed a defamation suit against Robbie… (p. 144) difamación / клевета
perjury the offence committed by a witness in judicial proceedings who, having been lawfully sworn, willfully gives false evidence …the statute of limitations has run on perjury. (p. 101) perjurio / лжесвидетельство
larceny (formerly) a technical word for theft …Charges with grand larceny, drunk driving… (p. 62) latrocinio / воровство, кража
abduction the act of taking someone away by force or cunning; kidnapping [He] was arrested and charged with the abduction, aggravated rape, and murder… (p. 23) rapto, secuestro / похищение, насильственное лишение свободы
misdemeanor minor offence or transgression [He] pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and walked out of jail. (p. 142) delito menor / мелкое правонарушение
slap on the wrist (figurative) a punishment that you think is not severe enough; mild reprimand …he could not imagine anything more than a slap on the wrist. (p. 161) tirón de orejas; amonestación menor / выговор, порицание
halfway house a place where prisoners or people with mental health problems stay after they leave prison or hospital and before they start to live on their own A few months in the halfway house…, then I’m a free man with nothing to look forward to but parole for the rest of my life.” (p. 5) centro de readaptacón de antiguos presos / учреждение для реабилитации отбывших наказание заключённых, вылечившихся наркоманов, алкоголиков, психически больных
parole a) the freeing of a prisoner before his sentence has expired, on the condition that he is of good behavior; b) the duration of such conditional release «…I can’t leave this county. If I do, they’ll bust me for parole violation and send me back to prison.» (p. 65) libertad condicional / условно-досрочное освобождение (заключённого)

As always, hope to receive your comments  (:

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2 ответа на “Legal vocabulary from The Confession

  1. О, я как раз начала смотреть сериал «Homicidios», где встречается много специальной лексики. Так что Ваш пост очень вовремя. Спасибо!

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