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Glossary Results - H

This is a Legal Dictionary for visitor reference. Please click on the letter below to search by alphabet or use the search form to find the term you are looking for.

A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z  


habeas corpus - Usually the last legal effort by a prisoner after all appeals are exhausted to challenge the authority of the prison or jail warden to continue to hold him. The prisoner is given a chance to argue his case on the grounds of illegal confinement if the judge grants the "writ of habeas corpus."  

Harmless Error - An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful (prejudicial) to be reversed on appeal.

head of household - Person who supports and maintains, in one household, one or more people who are closely related to him by blood, marriage or adoption.  

Head note - A brief summary of a legal rule or significant facts in a case, which along with other head notes, precedes the printed opinion in reports.

hearing - Legal proceeding, usually prior to trial, held before a judge. Also, a proceeding before an administrative hearing officer or judge representing an administrative agency.  

hearsay rule - Rule of evidence that disallows out of court statements offered for the truth of the matter asserted.  

hearsay rule - Statements by a witness who did no see or hear the incident in question but heard about it from someone else. Hearsay is usually not admissible as evidence in court.

heir - Person who receives property from the estate of a deceased person.  

hold harmless - Clause or term of a contract in which one party promises not to hold the other party responsible if the other party carries out the contract in a way that causes damage to the original party.  

holographic will - Will that is hand written, signed and dated by its creator.  

home study - Investigation carried out by an employee of the state or government agency in which the state attempts to clarify if the adoptive family of a child is acceptable.  

homeowners' association - Organization responsible for enforcing any covenants, conditions & restrictions that apply to the property. The organization is usually comprised of neighbors and is concerned with managing the common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex.  

homestead - (1) The house plus any adjoining land, which is occupied by a family. (2) A home which is exempt from the claims of creditors. (3) Land which was acquired from the public lands of the United States by settling and cultivating it.  

homicide - The criminal or non

Hostile witness - A witness whose testimony is not favorable to the party who calls him or her as a witness. A hostile witness may be asked leading questions and may be cross-examined by the party who calls him or her to the stand.

hot pursuit - Legal term means exigent circumstances. Limited exception that allows officers to enter a home without a search warrant if a felony has just occurred and the officer has chased a suspect to a private house. The officer can forcefully enter the house in order to prevent the suspect from escaping or hiding or destroying evidence.  

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Agency in charge of enforcing the federal Fair Housing Act.  

hung jury - When a jury is unable to come to a final decision in a trial. Usually resulting in a mistrial.  

Home Warranty - A service contract that covers a major housing system--for example, plumbing or electrical wiring--for a set period of time from the date a house is sold. The warranty guarantees repairs to the covered system and is renewable.

Homeowners' Association - An organization comprising neighbors concerned with managing the common areas of a subdivision or condominium complex. These associations take on issues such as salting and sanding a subdivision when it snows and collecting dues from residents. The homeowners' association is also responsible for enforcing any covenants, conditions & restrictions that apply to the property.

Homestead - (1) The house in which a family lives, plus any adjoining land and other buildings on that land. (2) Real estate which is not subject to the claims of creditors as long as it is occupied as a home by the head of the household. After the head of the family dies, homestead laws often allow the surviving spouse or minor children to live on the property for as long as they choose. (3) Land acquired out of the public lands of the United States. The term "homesteaders" refers to people who got their land by settling it and making it productive, rather than purchasing it outright.

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