LEGAL TERMS

 

Per curiamDefinition. Latin for "by the court." An opinion from an appellate court that does not identify any specific judge who may have written the opinion.. Overview. A per curiam decision is a court opinion issued in the name of the Court rather than specific judges.

 

Sub silentio - Sub silentio means under silence. This term mostly refers to matters that are not expressed but implied. Sub silentio means a situation when an action is forwarded without taking notice. For example, if a case is decided against precedent, the newer case is said to have over-ruled the previous decision sub silentio.

 

Stare decisisLegal maxim that once a principle of law has been determined by an appellate court to be applicable to the facts of a case, it will be followed in the future cases involving substantially identical facts, unless overruled by the same or a higher court. It underlies the common law doctrine of precedent. Latin for, to stand by things decided.

Separate-sovereigns - Separate sovereigns doctrine. Under this doctrine, the prohibition on double jeopardy does not prevent dual prosecution when the prosecutions are each by separate sovereigns. Thus, a criminal defendant can be prosecuted by a state court and then by a federal court (or the other way around).

 

Dicta - The part of a judicial opinion which is merely a judge's editorializing and does not directly address the specifics of the case at bar; extraneous material which is merely informative or explanatory. Dicta are judicial opinions expressed by the judges on points that do not necessarily arise in the case. Dicta are regarded as of little authority, on account of the manner in which they are delivered; it frequently happening that they are given without much reflection, at the bar, without previous examination.

Petite policy - policy of the US Justice Department that following a state prosecution there should be no federal prosecution for the same transaction in the absence of compelling federal interests.