Legal Terms & Vocabulary Part – M


A person who is not a judge but who is authorized to hear and decide certain types of cases. For example, family support magistrates hear cases involving child support.


An order directed to a private corporation, or any of its officers, or to an executive, administrative or judicial officer, or to a lower court, commanding the performance of a particular act.


The persons responsible for courthouse security include the metal detectors at the entrance of each courthouse and maintaining order in each courtroom. A marshal can also serve (give copies of) legal papers to the other people named in a lawsuit.


A dispute resolution process in which an impartial third party assists the parties to voluntarily reach a mutually acceptable settlement.


A person under age 18, the age of legal majority.


A crime that carries a maximum penalty of one year and/or a $2,000 fine.

Mitigating Circumstances:

Circumstances that may be considered to reduce the guilt of a defendant. Usually based on fairness or mercy.

Mittimus Judgment:

Also called a Mitt. The formal document prepared by the court clerk to present a convicted defendant in a criminal case to the Department of Correction for incarceration.


Request to change a prior order. Usually requires showing a change in circumstances since the date of the prior order.


Usually written request to the court in a case. Filed with the clerk’s office.


The person who filed the motion, or request, to the court.

Moving Party:

The person making the request to the court in a case.

Murder with Special Circumstances:

A type of murder for which the penalty is life imprisonment without the possibility of release.

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