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Definitions

ABA: The American Bar Association

Acquittal: A judgment that a person is not guilty of the crime with which the person has been charged. A person may be acquitted by a judge or a jury.

Arraignment: The stage of a criminal proceeding during which the court reads the formal charge against the defendant, and the defendant answers the plea. Formal charges can be brought by Information or Indictment. Arraignments are held any time an Information, Indictment or an amended charging document is filed.

Arrest: Law enforcement takes an individual into legal custody in response to the suspicion of an individual’s violation of the law. Law enforcement uses the standard of “probable cause” to determine whether an individual should be arrested, given information provided by witnesses or other evidence.

Average: The average of a set of numbers is simply the sum of the numbers divided by the total number of values in the set. For example, suppose we want the average of 24, 55, 17, 87 and 100. Simply find the sum of the numbers: 24 + 55 + 17 + 87 + 100 = 283 and divide by 5 to get 56.6.

Bail or bond: The amount of money set by the court for the release of a person accused of a crime. It is designed to assure the person's presence for trial and may contain additional non-monetary conditions of release.

Bond Hearing: A hearing held for the State and defense to provide argument, evidence, or testimony for the Court to use in determining an appropriate amount of bail to be set for a defendant.

Bump Up: The process of filing a misdemeanor criminal referral as a felony.

Crime: An act prohibited by statute. Violations of law are punishable by fines and/or incarceration.

Defendant: The person against whom a criminal case is pending.

Dismissal: Termination of a criminal charge by the court or by the prosecutor after the case is filed.

Disposition: Final resolution of a case.

Diversion: A procedure by which the prosecutor removes cases from the criminal justice process and allows the accused to participate in a program that is often court supervised. The programs are designed to be rehabilitative rather than punitive.

Equitable: Fair and impartial or reasonable; just and right

Felony: Any crime for which the penalty could be death or a prison sentence of a year or more.

Filing a case: Prosecutors review arrest reports/referrals for each case. If the prosecutor determines the evidence supports a good faith belief in conviction beyond a reasonable doubt, the case is filed and continues until resolution.

Gun Crime: A felony offense in which the use or possession of a firearm is an essential element. Unlicensed carrying a concealed firearm as prohibited by section 790.01(2), F.S., is not included in the definition of gun crime.

Hispanic: A defendant is included as Hispanic if the defendant’s last name appears on the Hispanic Surnames List maintained the US Census Bureau, meaning that at least 75% of the individuals in the United States with that surname self-identify as Hispanic.

Incarceration: A punishment involving confinement to jail or prison.

Indigence/Indigent: A determination made by the Court regarding income levels of a defendant to determine whether they have enough funds to pay for a private attorney or to pay court costs. An indigence determination must be made prior to the appointment of the Public Defender using the Application for Criminal Indigent Status Information.

Information: The charging document filed by the State setting forth the crimes with which a defendant is being charged. The Information must be accurate and list the crime, statute, and degree as well as have specific wording regarding the charged crimes in order to effectively prosecute the defendant for the alleged law violations.

Judgments and Sentences: These are the official records of an individual’s conviction. They include the charges, the sentence, the conditions, the judge’s signature, and often the defendant’s fingerprints. As these are official records, they are the most accurate and reliable.

Lesser Included Offense: When the charge at disposition is a lesser crime than the initially charged offense, carrying less severe penalties.

Median: The median is the value separating the higher half of a data sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. In simple terms, it may be thought of as the "middle" value of a data set. For example, in the data set {1, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9}, the median is 6, the fourth number in the sample. The median is a commonly used measure of the properties of a data set in statistics and probability theory.

Misdemeanor: Any offense which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to \$1,000.

Nolle Prosequi (Nolle Pros): The action by the State to discontinue prosecution after a criminal charge is filed.

Plea: When a defendant makes a formal statement (through his/her attorney) either admitting or denying guilt to a charged crime. At Arraignment, the plea is either Guilty or Not Guilty. It also applies after Arraignment when a defendant wishes to either admit guilt and be sentenced by the Court or accept the terms of a negotiated plea agreement.

Plea Agreement: A resolution in the case that has been agreed upon by the defendant and the prosecutor. If accepted by the court, the agreement resolves the case without a trial.

Pretrial detention: Defendants who are detained pretrial are incarcerated in jail prior to resolution of the case.

Probation: Supervision of a defendant involving standard terms and conditions, as well as special conditions imposed by a court. Probation is an alternative to an incarceration sentence.

Recidivism: Defendants who recidivate are those who are arrested or convicted after case resolution. This might include a new law violation or a violation of a defendant’s term of probation.

ROR (Released on Recognizance): The release of a defendant without monetary conditions.

Subpoena: A formal summons issued by the court to an individual to provide information in a criminal case.

TCC (Transfer to County Court): A felony charge referral filed as a misdemeanor charge for legal or equitable reasons.

Top/Bottom Quintile ZIP Codes: ZIP code wealth is determined using the median household income of each ZIP code in Duval, Clay, and Nassau Counties. This data is provided in the American Community Survey. ZIP codes in the top quintile include: 32065, 32034, 32225, 32250, 32224, 32226, 32266, 32223, 32258, 32003. ZIP codes in the bottom quintile include: 32209, 32206, 32202, 32254, 32208, 32211, 32204, 32227, 32205.

Victim: A person who has suffered death, physical or mental suffering, or loss of property as a result of an actual or attempted criminal offense committed by another person.

Felony Caseflow

Interested in a detailed overview of how felony cases are processed in the Fourth Judicial District?

Download SAO 4th Felony Case Flowchart
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