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The terms and definitions on this page are relevant to criminal cases in the State of Michigan, United States of America, unless noted otherwise. Criminal laws and procedures in other states and countries may be very different.

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This page provides general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct, complete and up-to-date. Do not rely, for legal advice, on information given on this page or any externally referenced Internet sites. If you need legal advice upon which you intend to rely in the course of your legal affairs, consult a competent attorney in your area.

If the word you're looking for does not appear on this list, check one of the following websites: American Bar Association, Law.com, or Nolo’s Law Dictionary.

Glossary

The legal system can be filled with confusing phrases and terms. This list should help you to understand that system a little better.

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Ginther Hearing

  • Based on People v Ginther, 390 Mich 436 (1973), an evidentiary hearing on a defendant's motion for new trial claiming ineffective assistance of counsel.

Good Time

  • Reduction in time served in county jails as reward for good behavior. "Truth in Sentencing" laws have eliminated good-time reduction of prison sentences for felonies.

Grand Jury

  • A group of citizens convened in a criminal case to consider the prosecutor's evidence and determine whether probable cause exists to prosecute a suspect for a felony. Grand juries are rarely used in Michigan state courts, but are used by Federal courts.

Guardian Ad Litem

  • A person appointed by the court to protect the legal interests of an infant or an incompetent adult, or a missing person who is involved in a court case. The court will appoint a guardian ad litem in cases of juvenile abuse or neglect. The "GAL" may be an attorney.