Common Legal Terminology

Impeachment -

1. The process of calling a witness’s testimony into doubt. For example, if the attorney can show that the witness may have fabricated portions of his testimony, the witness is said to be “impeached;” 2. The constitutional process whereby the House of Representatives may “impeach” (accuse of misconduct) high officers of the federal government, who are then tried by the Senate.

In camera -

Latin, meaning in a judge’s chambers. Often means outside the presence of a jury and the public. In private.

In forma pauperis -

“In the manner of a pauper.” Permission given by the court to a person to file a case without payment of the required court fees because the person cannot pay them.

Inculpatory evidence -

Evidence indicating that a defendant did commit the crime.

Indictment -

The formal charge issued by a grand jury stating that there is enough evidence that the defendant committed the crime to justify having a trial; it is used primarily for felonies. See also information.

Information -

A formal accusation by a government attorney that the defendant committed a misdemeanor. See also indictment.

Injunction -

A court order preventing one or more named parties from taking some action. A preliminary injunction often is issued to allow fact-finding, so a judge can determine whether a permanent injunction is justified.

Insider (of corporate debtor) -

A director, officer, or person in control of the debtor; a partnership in which the debtor is a general partner; a general partner of the debtor; or a relative of a general partner, director, officer, or person in control of the debtor.

Insider (of individual debtor) -

Any relative of the debtor or of a general partner of the debtor; partnership inwhich the debtor is a general partner; general partner of the debtor; or corporation of which the debtor is a director, officer, or person in control.

Interrogatories -

A form of discovery consisting of written questions to be answered in writing and under oath.

All terms and definitions on this page are from uscourts.gov/glossary (April 13, 2020)