Glossary of Legal Terms O
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OATH: an oath is a solemn and formal declaration by a person that what they are about to say or write is the truth. It is usually made while holding a bible or the oath givers chosen religious text. A written oath is usually referred to as an affidavit.
OBJECTION: process during a court proceeding whereby one party takes exception to something that has occurred or will occur and requesting immediate ruling by judge.
ONE-DAY, ONE-TRIAL JURY SERVICE: method of jury selection in many jurisdictions which requires prospective jurors to serve for only one day if they are not chosen for a jury or for only the length of a trial if chosen.
OPENING STATEMENT: statements made at the start of a trial by attorneys for each side, outlining each's legal position and the facts each intends to establish during the trial.
OPINION: court's written decision of a case. A majority or plurality opinion expresses court's decision. A concurring opinion generally agrees with majority, but usually states different or additional reasons for reaching the same conclusion. Dissenting opinion states opinion of judges who disagree with majority. Per curiam opinion is an unsigned option of an appellate court.
OPINION EVIDENCE: what a witness thinks, believes, or infers regarding disputed facts. Generally admissible only when given by an expert witness unless opinion is based on matters common to lay persons.
ORAL ARGUMENT: summary by attorneys before court (particularly appellate court) of positions regarding legal issue being litigated.
ORDER: command, written or oral, from a court.
ORDINANCE: law enacted by a municipality such as a county or city council.
OVERRULE: judge's decision not to allow an objection. Also, decision by higher court finding that lower court decision was in error.
OVERT ACT: act done to carry out or in furtherance of intention to commit a crime. Compare actus reus.