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Terms and Definitions

# 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
There are 29 names in this directory beginning with the letter I.
Immaterial
Not material, irrelevant; nothing to do with the case; not significant.
Immunity
Right of exemption from a duty or penalty, benefit granted in exception to the general rule. Immunity from prosecution may be granted a witness to compel answers the witness might otherwise withhold because of the constitutional privilege to avoid self-incrimination.
Impaneling
Selection and swearing in of jurors; listing of those selected for a particular jury.
Impeach
To charge a public official with wrongdoing while in office. Impeachment proceedings against officers of the United States are governed by the Constitution. To impeach the testimony of a witness means to question that witness's honesty.
In Camera
Latin term meaning "in chambers." In camera designates a judicial act while court is not in session in the matter acted upon. Confidential or otherwise sensitive documents are often examined in camera to determine whether information should be revealed to the jury and so become public record.
Inalienable Rights
Fundamental rights, including the right to practice religion, freedom of speech, due process and equal protection of the laws, that cannot be transferred to another nor surrendered except by the person processing them.
Incarceration
Confinement in prison.
Incendiary
Arsonist, one who maliciously sets property on fire; an object capable of starting and sustaining a fire is an incendiary device.
Incest
A criminal offense of sexual intercourse between members of a family, or those between whom marriage would be illegal because of blood relationship.
Incompetency
Inability, disqualification, incapacity. Lack of legal qualifications or fitness to discharge a required duty; lack of physical, intellectual or moral fitness. When a person is adjudicated incompetent, a guardian is appointed to manage the incompetent's affairs, unless the incompetent recovers competency to the satisfaction of the court. An adjudicated incompetent lacks capacity to contract and his contracts are void.
Incriminate
To hold another, or oneself, responsible for criminal misconduct; to involve someone, or oneself, in an accusation of a crime.
Indemnity
1. The obligation to make good any loss or damage another person has incurred or may incur. 2. The right that the person suffering loss or damage is entitled to claim.
Indictment
A formal written accusation, drawn up and submitted under oath to a grand jury by the public prosecuting attorney, charging one or more persons with the crime. The grand jury must determine whether the accusation, if proved, would be sufficient for conviction of the accused, in which case the indictment is filed, the matter passes to the Court. Indictments also serve to inform an accused of the offense with which he or she is charged and must be clear enough to enable the accused to prepare an adequate defense. Compare Charge; Complaint; Information; Presentment.
Indigent
Generally, a person who is poor, financially destitute. In a legal context, a person found by a court to be unable to hire a lawyer or otherwise meet the expense of defending a criminal matter, at which point defense counsel is appointed by the court.
Individual Fidelity Bond
A bond is taken by an individual who insures him/herself to protect those whose money, merchandise and securities he/she handles. For example, you do freelance janitorial work in stores during off hours, to protect you employer from possible theft (by you) you take out a Individual Fidelity Bond for $5000.
Information
A written accusation of crime signed by the prosecutor, charging a person with the commission of a crime; an alternative to indictment as a means of starting a criminal prosecution. The purpose of the information is to inform the defendant of the charges against him or her and to inform the court of the factual basis of the charges.
Informed Consent
Consent given only after full disclosure of what is being consented to; constitutionally required in certain areas where one may consent to what would be otherwise be an unconstitutional violation of a right.
Injunction
A judicial remedy awarded to restrain a particular activity; first used by courts of equity to prevent conduct contrary to equity and good conscience. The injunction is a preventive measure to guard against future injuries, rather than one that affords a remedy for past injuries.
Injury
Wrong or damage done to another, either in his person, rights, reputation or property. Legal injury is any damage that results from a violation of a legal right and that the law will recognize as deserving of redress.
Inns Of Court
Four private societies in England that prepare students for the practice of law and that alone may admit them to the bar; that is, confer the rank of barrister. The four inns court are Inner Temple, Middle Temple, Lincoln's Inn, Gray's Inn.
Inquest
Judicial inquiry; an inquiry made by the coroner to determine the cause of death of one who been killed, or has died suddenly, under suspicious circumstances, or in person.
Insider
A person whose opportunity to profit from his or her position of power in a business is limited by law to safeguard the public good. Both federal securities acts and state blue sky laws regulate stock transactions of individuals with access to inside information about the corporation, since the prospect of insider trading may inhibit investment by the general public due to their concern that the price of securities has been artificially inflated or deflated by such trading.
Insider Trading
Buying or selling of corporation stock by a corporate officer whose profits by his or her access to information not available to the public. Corporate insiders who trade on the basis of nonpublic corporate information may be exposed to liability under state or federal law because of a policy that everybody should have equal access to information and that insiders should not profit personally from something that belongs to the corporation.
Insolvency
Inability to meet financial obligations as they mature in the ordinary course of business; excess of liabilities over assets at any given time.
Instrument
In commercial law, a written formal document that records an act or agreement and provides the evidence of that act or agreement.
Insufficient Evidence
A term usually referred to in a decision by a judge that a prosecutor or other party charged with proving a crime has failed to provide the minimum of evidence necessary to even ask a jury to decide a question of fact.
Interrogation
The process by which suspects are rigorously questioned by police.
Intestate
The condition of having died without leaving a valid will. An intestate estate is property that a testator has failed to dispose of by will.
Issue
As a verb, to put into circulation, as to a buyer. In corporation law, a stock issue is the process by which a corporation authorizes, executes and delivers shares of stock for sale to the public. The term also describes the shares offered by the corporation at a particular time. In the law of real property, the noun issue means descendants. In legal practice, point of fact or law disputed between parties to the litigation, generally an assertion by one side and a denial by the other.