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SATISFACTION
The payment in full of some obligation. In terms of satisfaction of a judgment, it is a written acknowledgment (like a receipt) that is filed with the court, that the losing party in a case has paid the judgment.
SCAO
See STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.
SEARCH WARRANT
A written order from a judge or magistrate that allows a police officer to search a specific place for a specific object or objects that may be evidence of a crime. A search warrant is only issued if the officer can show probable cause that the object is evidence of a crime and that it can be found in the place to be searched.
SEALING or SEALED RECORD
The closing of a court record so that no one but the parties can look at what's in it.
SENTENCE
The punishment given by the court after the defendant is convicted of a crime.
SENTENCING GUIDELINES
A group of Michigan laws that a judge uses to decide the sentence of a defendant convicted of a crime. They include offense variables (OV) that measure how serious the defendant's crime was and prior record variables (PRV) that measure the defendant's criminal history. When each of the OV and PRV's that apply are "scored," the total OV score and PRV scores are matched to an official grid that provides the judge with a sentence range in months. Under most circumstances, the judge must choose a sentence within that range. There are also federal sentencing guidelines for federal crimes. They are meant to make sure that people who commit similar crimes of similar seriousness in different counties in Michigan get similar sentences.
SELF-DEFENSE
The claim that an act that would otherwise be a crime was not because it was necessary to protect a person or property from harm caused by another.
SEQUESTRATION OF WITNESSES
A court order that makes witnesses stay outside the courtroom during a trial and stops them from talking about what they are going to say in court with other witnesses until they actually testify. The purpose is to make sure a witness doesn't change his or her testimony based on what another witness said in court.
SERVICE OF PROCESS
The delivery of "process" or notice that the person must respond to or appear in court. When the party who is supposed to get the papers (like a summons & complaint or a subpoena) does, the papers are said to have been served.
SETTLEMENT
An agreement among the parties that resolves (ends) the case any time before the judge's decision or the jury's verdict.
SHOW CAUSE ORDER
A court order telling someone to appear in court and explain the reason why certain circumstances or actions should be allowed to continue or be stopped. For example, a show cause order may be issued to someone who has not paid his or her child support as ordered. The person is then required to come to court to explain why he or she should not have to pay the support as ordered.
SMALL CLAIMS COURT
The part of the district court that handles civil cases in which the where the amount of loss is $1,750 or less. There are no juries or lawyers, and usually no appeal to another court if the party doesn't like the judge or magistrate's decision.
SOLE CUSTODY
A court order that says that a child will live with only one parent and only that parent may make important decisions for the child.
SOS
An abbreviation for the Michigan Department of State or the Secretary of State.
SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE
A court order that tells a party that signed a contract to do what he or she promised to do. It is ordered when the subject of the contract is unique, or one of a kind, like real estate, so that money won't make things right.
SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Money one ex-spouse pays to the other ex-spouse for living expenses because the court ordered it.
STALKING
Repeated acts done on purpose to another person that would make a reasonable person feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested, and that actually causes the victim to feel this way. See MCL 750.411h.
STATE BAR OF MICHIGAN
An association for lawyers who are licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan. A lawyer must join the State Bar to work as a lawyer in Michigan.
STATE CASE
Refers to a violation of state law. The term is most often used in district courts to tell the difference between the local ordinance violations they usually deal with and violations of state statutes. Breaking a state law makes the case a "state case" in these courts.
STATE COURT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ("SCAO")
The office that helps trial courts do their job well. It gives help in managing the courts, develops guidelines for certain court duties, and develops forms and reference manuals. Its website has many forms that an in pro per litigant can download and use. See http://courts.michigan.gov/administration/scao/forms/pages/search-for-a-form.aspx
STATUS OFFENSE
An act by a minor that breaks a rule in the "juvenile code" but that would not be breaking the law if an adult did the same act. It is an offense only because of the "status" of who did it. For example, being a runaway or skipping school.
STATUTE OF FRAUDS
A legal rule that certain kinds of agreements must be in writing or the courts will not enforce them. For example, a contract to sell real estate or a bank's loan modification agreement must be in writing.
STATUTE OF LIMITATION
A time limit set by law during which a person may file a lawsuit to enforce his or her rights. In a civil case, someone who has been wronged or hurt must file a suit within the time limit or he or she cannot file it at all. In a criminal case, the state also has a time limit during which it must begin prosecuting someone for a crime or it cannot at all. The time limits are different based on the kind of claim it is. For example: A case for breach of contract (breaking your agreement) must be filed within 6 years of the breach. Assault with intent to murder and kidnapping must be filed within 10 years, most other felonies within 6 years. There is no statute of limitation for murder.
STATUTES
Laws that are passed by the State Legislature and signed by the governor.
STAY
A court order that stops a judicial proceeding; it temporarily delays the hearing or action, it doesn't cancel it.
STIPULATION
An agreement between the lawyers on an issue in the case, for example, to move a trial or hearing date, to enter certain evidence at trial, etc. Usually, the judge has to agree for the stipulation to take effect.
SUBPOENA
An order to make a person come to court. If they don't, there is a penalty.
SUBPOENA DUCES TECUM
This kind of subpoena is used when you want the witness to bring with him or her all of his or her records or other specific things listed in the subpoena.
SUCCESSOR
A person who replaces or follows another.
SUCCESSOR PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE
A personal representative that replaces the personal representative first assigned by the court if the estate administration isn't finished when the first personal representative is removed, resigned, or has died.
SUMMARY DISPOSITION
In a civil lawsuit, a judgment by the judge without having a trial. It is used when one party is entitled to win based on the law and the facts the parties agree on. Sometimes called SUMMARY JUDGMENT.
SUMMONS
A notice given to a party to a law suit saying a suit has been filed against him or her. It tells the person to appear in court on a certain day and time to answer the complaint and that if he or she doesn't, he or she will lose the case (a judgment will be entered against him or her).
SUPERVISED VISITATION
Visitation between a parent and child that happens when another specified adult is there. The judge may order it if the child has been abused or if the parent has threatened to take the child out of state.
SUPPORT ORDER
In a domestic relations case, an order for a person to pay money for living expenses for a child (child support) or spouse or former spouse (spousal support).
SUPPRESS
To suppress a court record is to prevent its release; to suppress evidence is to forbid it from being introduced at a trial or another court hearing.
SUPREME COURT
The highest appeals court in the State of Michigan.
SURETY
A person who agrees to pay another person's debt (money he or she owes) if the other person doesn't pay it. The other person is called the "principal."