|CRIMINAL JUSTICE GLOSSARY
ACQUITTAL: a judgment of a court, based either on
the verdict of a jury or a judicial officer, that the defendant is not guilty of the
offense(s) for which he was tried.
ADJUDICATION: the formal giving or
pronouncing of a judgment or decree in a cause.
ADULT: a person 18 years of age or older.
AGGRAVATED ASSAULT: an unlawful attack or
attempted attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or
aggravated bodily injury. This type of assault is usually accompanied by the use of a
weapon or by means likely to produce death or great bodily harm. (UCR definition)
APPEAL: a petition initiated by a
defendant for a rehearing in an appellate court of a previous sentence or motion.
ARREST: "...taking a person into
custody, in a case and in the manner authorized by law. An arrest may be made by a peace
officer or by a private person." (P.C. 834)
ARREST RATE: the number of arrests per
100,000 population. See page 184 of 'Crime and Delinquency in California,
1993" for a further explanation.
ARSON: any willful or malicious burning or
attempt to burn, with or without intent to defraud, a dwelling house, public building,
motor vehicle or aircraft, personal property of another, etc. (UCR definition)
AUTOMATED CRIMINAL HISTORY SYSTEM (ACHS):
a centralized, automated system containing criminal history summary information on persons
arrested and fingerprinted in California.
BURGLARY: the unlawful entry of a
structure to commit a felony or a theft. Attempted burglary is included. (UCR definition)
CALIFORNIA CRIME INDEX (CCI): a group of
crimes chosen to serve as an index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate
of crime. These crimes, chosen because of their seriousness and likelihood of being
reported to the police by the public, are willful homicide, forcible rape, robbery,
aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft. These crimes are reported according
to definitions taken from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS (CDC):
the state agency which has jurisdiction over the California Rehabilitation Center and the
California prison system.
CALIFORNIA REHABILITATION CENTER (CRC): an
institution operated by the California Department of Corrections which is designated for
the treatment of persons addicted to narcotics or in imminent danger of addiction.
Commitment to the facility is by civil procedure only.
CALIFORNIA YOUTH AUTHORITY (CYA): the
state agency which has jurisdiction over and maintains institutions as correctional
schools for the reception of wards of the juvenile court and other persons committed from
justice, municipal, and superior courts.
CAMPS: see Minimum.
CASELOAD: the total number of clients or
cases on probation or under supervision with a given agency.
CHARGE: a formal allegation that a
specific person has committed a specific offense.
CITATION: a written order, issued by the
police for a violation, to appear before a magistrate or probation officer at a later
CIVIL COMMITMENT: a type of commitment in
which criminal proceedings are suspended while a defendant undergoes treatment at the
California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) as a narcotic addict.
CLEARANCE: a crime is cleared or
"solved" for crime reporting purposes when at least one person is arrested,
charged with the commission of the crime, and turned over to the court for prosecution or
cited to juvenile authorities. In certain situations a clearance may be counted by
"exceptional means" when the police definitely know the identity of the
offender, have enough information to support an arrest, and know the location of the off
ender but for some reason cannot take the offender into custody.
CLEARANCE RATE: method used to determine
the percentage of crimes cleared. The rate is based on the number of crimes reported.
COMBINED CASES: cases declined by the
prosecutor in favor of other counts/ cases.
COMMITMENT: a warrant, order, or process
by which the court directs a judicial officer to take a person to a correctional facility.
COMPLAINT: a verified written accusation,
filed by a prosecuting attorney with a local criminal court, which charges one or more
persons with the commission of one or more offenses.
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE: a drug, substance,
or immediate precursor which is included in Schedules I through V inclusive, as set forth
in Heath and Safety Code Sections 11054 through 11058. These would include heroin,
marijuana, amphetamines, barbiturates, and psychedelics.
CONVICTION: a judgment, based either on
the verdict of a jury or a judicial officer or on the guilty plea of the defendant, that
the defendant is guilty.
CORRECTIONS: those agencies or facilities
concerned with the custody, confinement, supervision, or treatment of alleged or
adjudicated off enders.
COURT: an agency of the judicial branch of
government, authorized or established by statute or constitution, having one or more
judicial officers on its staff. A court has the authority to decide upon controversies in
law and disputed matters of fact brought before it.
CRC: see California Rehabilitation Center.
CRIME: ". . . an act committed or
omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it . . ."
CRIME INDEX: crimes chosen to serve as an
index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate of crime. See California
Crime Index and FBI Crime Index.
CRIME RATE: the number of reported crimes
per 100,000 general population. See page 184 of "Crime and Delinquency in California,
1993" for further explanation.
CRIMINAL COMMITMENT: a type of commitment
which results when a defendant is sentenced to prison or the California Youth Authority.
CYA: see California Youth Authority.
DEFENDANT: a person against whom a
criminal proceeding is pending.
DEFERRED PAROLE REVOCATION: action taken
by a prosecutor to revoke the parole status of a subsequent offender to return the subject
to state prison in lieu of filing new charges.
DELINQUENT ACTS: those acts described
under Welfare and Institutions Code Section 602 which involve violations by a juvenile of
any law or ordinance defining crime, or the violation of a court order of the juvenile
DETERMINATE SENTENCING: sentencing which,
by law, requires imposition of a term of imprisonment proportionate to the seriousness of
the crime, with sentences uniform for like crimes.
DISMISSAL: a decision by a judicial
officer to terminate a case without a determination of guilt or innocence.
DISPOSITION - COURT: an action taken as
the result of an appearance in court by a defendant. Examples would be: adults -dismissed,
acquitted, or convicted and sentenced; juveniles -dismissed, transferred, remanded to
adult court, placed on probation, or sentenced to the California Youth Authority.
DISPOSITION - LAW ENFORCEMENT: an action
taken as the result of an arrest. Examples of police dispositions are: adults - released
by law enforcement, referred to another jurisdiction, or a misdemeanor or felony complaint
sought; juveniles - handled within the department, referred to another agency, or referred
to the probation department or juvenile court.
DISPOSITION - PROSECUTOR: an action taken
as the result of complaints which were requested by the arresting agency. Dispositions
include granting a misdemeanor or a felony complaint, or denying a complaint for such
reasons as lack of corpus, lack of sufficient evidence, interest of justice, complainant
refuses to testify, witness unavailable, inadmissible search, deterred parole revocation,
prefiling deferral and other.
DIVERSION: a disposition of a criminal
defendant either before adjudication or following adjudication but prior to sentencing, in
which the court directs the defendant to participate in a work, educational, or
DIVERSION DISMISSED: the successful
completion of a diversion program.
DRUGS: see Controlled Substance.
FBI CRIME INDEX: the FBI chose seven
crimes to serve as an index for gauging fluctuations in the overall volume and rate of
crime. These crimes include homicide, forcible raps, robbery, aggravated assault,
burglary, larceny-theft, and motor vehicle theft. By congressional mandate. arson was
added as the eighth index crime in 1979.
FELONY: ".. a crime which is
punishable with death or by imprisonment in the state prison." (P.C. 17 & 18)
FILING: a document filed with the
municipal court clerk or county clerk by a prosecuting attorney alleging that a person
committed or attempted to commit a crime.
FINE: the penalty imposed upon a convicted
person by a court requiring the payment of a specified sum of money.
FORCIBLE RAPE: the carnal knowledge of a
female forcibly and against her will. Assaults or attempts to commit rape by force or
threat of force are included. (UCR definition)
GRANT: the act of placing an adult on
GUILTY PLEA: a defendant's formal answer
in open court to the charge(s) in a complaint, indictment, or information, stating that
the charge(s) is true and that he/she has committed the offense(s) as charged.
HOMICIDE: the willful (nonnegligent)
killing of one human being by another. Murder and nonnegligent manslaughter are included.
INFRACTION: an offense punishable by fine
or other penalty, but not by incarceration.
JAIL: a county or city facility for
incarceration of sentenced and unsentenced persons. Also known as type I or II facility
(Section 1006 California Code of Regulations). See Medium-Maximum and Minimum.
JURISDICTION: the territory, subject
matter, or person over which lawful authority may be exercised.
JUSTICE COURT: see lower court.
JUVENILE: a person under the age of 18.
LARCENY-THEFT: the unlawful taking,
carrying, leading, or riding away of property from the possession of another (except
embezzlement, fraud, forgery, and worthless checks). (UCR definition)
LOCAL SUPERVISION: local correctional
agencies provide confinement, rehabilitation, and probation services for those sentenced
to their care and also house persons awaiting trial or sentencing.
LOWER COURT: the court of original or
trial jurisdiction for the prosecution of persons accused of misdemeanor or certain felony
offenses. Also. lower courts may sentence certain felony offenders as well as conduct a
preliminary hearing to determine probable cause in cases where felony off enders are
subject to jurisdiction of superior courts.
MANDATORY SENTENCING: sentencing mandated
by law which limits judicial discretion for specific offenses and/or convicted off enders.
MEDIUM-MAXIMUM: a county or city facility
for incarceration of sentenced and unsentenced persons. Also known as jail or type I or II
facility (Section 1006 California Code of Regulations).
MINIMUM: a county or city facility for the
incarceration of sentenced and unsentenced persons. Also known as type III or IV facility
(Section 1006 California Code of Regulations).
MISDEMEANOR: a crime punishable by
imprisonment in a county jail for up to one year or jail and fine.
MONTHLY ARREST AND CITATION REGISTER (MACR):
a reporting system, based on police statistics, used to collect information on adult and
juvenile arrests and citations. This register contains data on arrest offenses, arrestee
characteristics (age, sex, and race/ethnic group), and law enforcement dispositions.
MOTOR VEHICLE THEFT: the theft or
attempted theft of a motor vehicle. MUNICIPAL COURT: see lower court.
MUNICIPAL COURT: see lower court.
NONAGGRAVATED (SIMPLE) ASSAULT: assaults
and attempted assaults where no weapon is used and which do not result in serious or
aggravated injury to the victim. (UCR definition)
OFFENDER-BASED TRANSACTION STATISTICS (OBTS):
a system designed to collect statistical information on the various processes within the
criminal justice system that occur between the point of the felony arrest of an adult and
the point of final disposition.
OFFENSE: the charged offense is the crime
for which the defendant was arrested or filed on by the district attorney. The convicted
offense is the offense the defendant was convicted of or pled guilty to in court. The
sustained offense is the offense for which the juvenile court sustains a petition.
OUTPATIENT: a period of control
(supervision) following release from California Rehabilitation Center (CRC).
PAROLE: an added period of control
following release from prison (P.C. 3000(a)).
PAROLE VIOLATION: violation of one or more
of the conditions of parole or an illegal act for which parole is revoked rather than
proceeding with criminal prosecution. See Deferred Parole Revocation.
P.C. (PENAL CODE): the California Penal
Code contains statutes that define criminal offenses and specify corresponding punishments
along with criminal justice system mandates and procedures.
PETITION TO REVOKE PROBATION: action taken
by a prosecutor to revoke the probation status of an offender to return the subject to
county jail or state prison.
POPULATION AT RISK: that portion of the
total population, who because of like characteristics to the specific study group, is
considered "at risk". For example, R one were studying juvenile arrestees, all
persons between 10 and 17 years of age would be the "at-risk" population.
PRE-FILING DEFERRAL: action taken by a
prosecutor to defer the filing of felony charges against a first-time off ender who
committed a less serious felony. A case is filed but there is no further disposition until
the subject completes the diversionary program (e.g., support group, rehabilitation
PRISON: a state correctional facility
where persons are confined following conviction of a felony offense.
PROBATION: a judicial requirement that a
person fulfill certain conditions of behavior in lieu of a sentence to confinement but
sometimes including a jail sentence.
PROBATION WITH JAIL: a type of disposition
rendered upon conviction which imposes a jail term as a condition of probation status.
PROBATION REVOCATION: see Petition to
PROPERTY CRIMES: crimes against property.
This category includes burglary and motor vehicle theft.
PROPERTY OFFENSES: arrest offenses for
crimes against property. This category includes burglary; motor vehicle theft; forgery,
checks, and access card offenses; and arson.
PROSECUTOR: an attorney employed by a
governmental agency whose official duty is to initiate and maintain criminal proceedings
on behalf of the government against persons accused of committing criminal offenses.
PUNISHMENT: varies by type of crime. See
Felony, Misdemeanor, and Infraction.
RATE: the ratio of the number of events to
REMOVAL: a case removed from the active
caseload and no longer under the supervision of the probation department, or a case not
removed but escalated to a more advanced level of supervision.
REVOCATION: cancellation or suspension of
parole or probation.
REVOKE: withdraw, repeal, or cancel
probation or parole for an adult.
ROBBERY: the taking or attempting to take
anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or
threat of force or violence and/or by creating fear in the victim. (UCR definition)
SECONDARY GRANT: a subsequent grant of
probation in the same court for an adult still on probation for the initial grant.
SENTENCE: the penalty imposed by a court
upon a convicted person.
STATE INSTITUTION: a facility for housing
defendants who are under the jurisdiction of state correctional or treatment programs.
STATE SUPERVISION: the state correctional
system provides confinement, rehabilitation, and parole services. The principal provider
of these services for adults is the California Department of Corrections (CDC), which
includes the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). Based on special circumstances, some
adult offenders are placed in the California Youth Authority (CYA) and California
Department of Mental Health (CDMH).
STATUS OFFENDER: a juvenile who has been
adjudicated by a judicial officer of a juvenile court, as having committed a status
offense, which is an act or conduct which is an offense only when committed or engaged in
by a juvenile.
STATUS OFFENSE: an act or conduct,
described by Welfare and Institutions Code Section 601, which is declared by statute to be
an offense, but only when committed or engaged in by a juvenile, and which can be
adjudicated only by a juvenile court.
STRAIGHT PROBATION: probation granted to
adults with no condition or stipulation that the defendant serve time in jail as a
condition of probation.
SUBSEQUENT DISPOSITION: a judicial
decision or sentence given at the time of a court return.
SUBSEQUENT GRANT: see Secondary Grant.
SUMMARY DATA SYSTEM: a data collection
method based on the sum of the number of events/counts which occur in a specific period of
time (e.g., Uniform Crime Reporting data base).
SUPERIOR COURT: the court of original or
trial jurisdiction for felony cases and all juvenile hearings. Also, the first court of
appeal for municipal or justice court cases.
SUSTAINED: to affirm or approve, as when
an appellate court sustains the decision of a lower court.
SWORN PERSONNEL: a full-time employee of a
law enforcement agency who has sworn to carry out law enforcement duties and has full
TERMINATED: satisfactorily completed
specified term of probation.
UNIFORM CRIME REPORTING (UCR): a federal
reporting system which provides data on crime based on police statistics submitted by law
enforcement agencies in the nation. DOJ administers and forwards the data for California
to the federal program.
VIOLATION: breach or infringement of the
terms or conditions of probation.
VIOLENT CRIMES: crimes against people.
This category includes homicide, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
VIOLENT OFFENSES: arrest offenses for
crimes against people. This category includes homicide, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated
assault, and kidnapping.
YA - YOUTH AUTHORITY: see California Youth