Covering Courts in DC Structure: DC Courts Structure: Federal Courts Tips for Reporting Contact Info Glossary Searchable PDF

General Tips

In criminal cases:

    • The judge tells the jurors that they may not infer guilt if the defendant chooses not to testify.
    • A defendant is not found “innocent” at a trial’s conclusion; he or she is either found either “guilty” or “not guilty.”
    • After a mistrial, prosecutors may retry the defendant on the same charges without violating the Constitution’s ban on double jeopardy.

In civil cases, a defendant is either found “liable” or “not liable.”

Juveniles accused of crimes are either found “involved” or “not involved.”

Judicial officers in the U.S. District Court, U.S. Circuit Court, D.C. Superior Court, and D.C. Court of Appeals are “judges,” not “justices.”


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