Since the O.J. Simpson murder trial of 1995, the media began to see the power and money making potential of televising every minute and analyzing ever word of sensational trials. Today, cable television networks routinely latch onto any case that they can blow up and over sensationalize. It seems that at any given moment, the national news media is covering no fewer than three cases, and repeating the details of “breaking stories” ad nauseum. If you are one of the few Americans who is not fascinated by 24 hour coverage of every sordid detail of the latest media court frenzy, you can at least find value in learning some new legal terminology. Let us be honest, regardless of your opinion of televised criminal trials, we have all watched them from time to time. Unless you hold a law degree, there were probably several moments when you did not understand certain law terminology. Although these trials are tragic, they really do not matter to us; so, if we run into a bit of trouble understanding certain legal terms, we can just shrug it off and move on to the football game. But the reality is, your familiarity with basic law terms does affect you. If you ever find yourself on a jury, or as a defendant or plaintiff, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with as much basic legal terminology as possible. While attorneys and judges do the heavy lifting during any court proceeding, it will not be fun for a plaintiff, defendant, or juror, if they are ignorant of the most basic legal terminology. Fortunately, we live in the “Information Age,” and have a plethora of information at our fingertips, including free online legal dictionaries; and inside these dictionaries you will find more legal terms that you will ever need. Even if you do not ever find yourself in court as a plaintiff, defendant, or jury member, familiarizing yourself with basic legal terminology is always a good idea. After all, you do not want to feel left out when your colleagues are discussing the “probable cause” factor within the latest sensational Hollywood murder trial.
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