Glossary Results - M
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.
Magistrate - Judicial officer exercising some of the functions of a judge. It also refers in a general way to a judge.
malfeasance - An illegal act. Typically used to describe a person who commits an illegal act during the performance of his or her duties.
Malicious prosecution - An action instituted with intention of injuring the defendant and without probable cause, and which terminates in favor of the person prosecuted.
malpractice - Job performance that is below the industry standard for similar services, typically resulting in harm to client or patient. Most often used in the legal or medical industry.
Manslaughter - The unlawful killing of another without intent to kill; either voluntary (upon a sudden impulse); or involuntary (during the commission of an unlawful act not ordinarily expected to result in great bodily harm.) (See also murder.)
marital deduction - A federal tax deduction allowed for property passed to a surviving spouse who is a U.S. citizen. It functions as a way of passing an individual's estate to a surviving spouse without any tax consequences.
marital property - Property acquired by a married couple, also called community property in certain states.
marriage - The legal recognition of a union between two individuals.
marriage certificate - A legal record that provides proof of a marriage, usually issued to the married couple by the state or county clerk's office.
marriage license - A legal record that permits two individuals to get married
mechanic's lien - A claim against property by an individual owed money for services or supplies contributed to the repair or improvement of the property. This type of lien is typically made by contractors.
mediation - Often referred to as alternative dispute resolution is intended as a more efficient method of resolving a disagreement without going to court. In mediation, the parties are assisted by a neutral third party (mediator) who attempts to help them reach a compromise. Unlike a judge the mediator's decision is typically not binding on the parties.
Medicaid - A federal program which is supported by the states to help assist needy individuals pay their medical bills.
Medicare - A federal program that assists older citizens in paying their medical bills.
Memorandum - An informal note or instrument embodying something the parties desire to have in written evidence.
Memorialized - In writing.
Merger - The absorption of one thing or right into another.
minor - Typically any individual under the age of 18.
Minute Book - A book maintained by the courtroom deputy (bailiff), which contains minute entries of all hearings and trial conducted by the judge.
Minutes - Memorandum of a transaction or proceeding.
Miranda warning - A statement of an individual's constitutional rights, given by police to a suspect before an interrogation. The Miranda statement requires that the individual be told that he or she has the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present when being questioned, the right to a court appointed attorney if they cannot afford a private attorney, and that any statements made by the individual can be used against him in court.
misdemeanor - A criminal offense, punishable by one year or less in jail.
Misfeasance - Improper performance of an act which a person might lawfully do.
misrepresentation - A false statement or lie made with the intent to deceive.
mistrial - A trial that ends prematurely without a decision, usually due to a mistake that effects a party's right to a fair trial.
misunderstanding - A mistake or misinterpretation of a statement.
Mitigating circumstances - Those which do not constitute a justification or excuse for an offense but which may be considered as reason for reducing a degree of blame.
Mitigation - A reduction, abatement, or diminution of a penalty or punishment imposed by law.
Mittimus - The name of an order in writing, issuing from a court and directing the sheriff or other officer to convey a person to a prison, asylum, or reformatory, and directing the jailer or other appropriate official to receive and safely keep the person until his or her fate shall be determined by due course of law.
Moot - A moot case or a moot point is one not subject to a judicial determination because it involves an abstract question or a pretended controversy that has not yet actually arisen or has already passed. Mootness usually refers to a court's refusal to consider a case because the issue involved has been resolved prior to the court's decision, leaving nothing that would be affected by the court's decision.