ACQUITTAL: The opposite of a guilty verdict, an acquittal means the defendant has not been convicted.

AGGRAVATING CIRCUMSTANCES: Refers to circumstances that increase the culpability of a crime. Examples include a fiduciary relationship between the victim and defendant, excessive brutality, or if a drug crime was part of a major organized distribution activity.

APPEAL: A request by a party after a trial asking the Court of Appeals or Supreme Court to review the conviction, the sentence, and all adverse judgments made by the district court.

APPOINTED ATTORNEY: An attorney who is paid by the court to represent defendants who are deemed indigent because they cannot afford a private attorney in criminal cases.

ARRAIGNMENT: The first phase of a criminal case. The defendant is informed of the charges against him or her and is asked to plead guilty or not guilty.

BAIL: Financial security used as collateral to guarantee the defendant's appearance in court as ordered by the judge.

BENCH TRIAL: A trial where the judge, rather than a jury, decides the facts which determines whether the defendant is guilty or not guilty.

BENCH WARRANT: A warrant issued by a judge. Bench warrants are usually issued when a defendant fails to appear or is accused of violating the terms of bond.

BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT: The standard necessary to convict a person of a crime.

CASE LAW: The use of prior cases with similar circumstances to the case at hand to explain or interpret the law at issue. Caselaw comes from appellate opinions.

CHALLENGE FOR CAUSE: Used during voir dire to remove a potential juror if he or she is so overcome with bias that the potential juror cannot view the evidence fairly.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE: All evidence that is not direct evidence.

CONCURRENT SENTENCE: Running the sentences for separate charges at the same time.

CONSECUTIVE SENTENCE: Running the sentences for separate charges back to back.

CONTINUANCE: A temporary, usually 30-day, postponement of the case.

CONVICTION: A finding of guilt against the defendant.

DIRECT EVIDENCE: Evidence that supports a fact with an inference.

ELEMENTS OF A CRIME: The individual facts needed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to support a guilty verdict.

EVIDENCE: Information presented at trial by witnesses through testimony or items collected at the scene of the crime.

EXCULPATORY EVIDENCE: Evidence that shows the defendant's innocence.

EXHIBIT: Physical evidence presented at trial such as drugs, paraphernalia, weapons, or photos.

FELONY: A crime carrying a sentence of one year or more.

JURY: The deciders of fact and guilt in a criminal case. In Kansas, misdemeanor cases have 6 jurors while felony cases have 12.

JURY NULLIFICATION: A jury's refusal to find a defendant guilty in a case because application of the law is unjust.

LSI-R: Level Service Inventory – Revised. An interview used as a risk assessment to determine what level of supervision over a defendant will be necessary to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

MISDEMEANOR: A crime carrying a sentence of less than one year.

MISTRIAL: A fundamental error in a case resulting in a new trial.

MITIGATING CIRCUMSTANCES: Refers to circumstances that decrease culpability of a crime. Examples include the victim was an aggressor, the offender played a minor role, the degree of harm or loss was significantly less than typical.

MUNICIPAL COURT: A city court.

NO CONTEST PLEA: Also known as nolo contendere, has the same effect of a guilty plea without admitting guilt.

ORDINANCE: A city's law.

PLEA BARGAIN: An agreement between the State and the defendant where the defendant pleads guilty in order to receive a recommendation for a lesser sentence or an agreement to drop charges.

PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE: During voir dire, the peremptory challenge is used to dismiss a potential juror without cause.

PRESENTENCE REPORT (PSI): In felony cases, the PSI is used by the court to review the defendant's criminal history score so the appropriate sentence may be imposed.

PUBLIC DEFENDER: A State-paid attorney who represents defendants charged with felonies who are deemed indigent because they cannot afford a private attorney in criminal cases.

SENTENCE: The punishment ordered by the court following a finding of guilt.

SUBPOENA: An order by the court for a witness to appear.

VERDICT: The decision by a jury or by a judge in a bench trial.

VOIR DIRE: The process of choosing a jury.


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Attorney Stolte will work closely with you to ensure you understand what your charges mean, what potential outcomes you could face, and what your legal options are. Delivering personalized attention and leveraging his intelligence and creativity, he will seek to obtain a nonrestrictive or the least-restrictive result for you.