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damages - Money that a court orders paid to party (usually the plaintiff) who has suffered a loss by another party who caused the loss (usually the defendant).  

declaratory judgment - One which declares the rights of the parties or expresses the opinion of the court on a question of law, without ordering anything to be done.  

decree - A decision or order of the court. A final decree is one which fully and finally disposes of the litigation. An interlocutory decree is a preliminary decree which is not final.  

defamation - The making of false, derogatory statements about a person's character, morals, abilities, business practices or financial status. (Includes libel, which is written, and slander, which is spoken).  

default - Occurs when a defendant fails to respond to the plaintiff's complaint within the time allowed, or fails to appear at the trial. The court may then enter a default judgment 

defendant - The accused in a criminal case; the person from whom money or other recovery is sought in a civil case.  

deferred sentence - The court retains jurisdiction to sentence the defendant at a later time.  

deliberation - The jury's decision-making process after hearing the evidence and closing arguments and being given the court's instructions.  

delinquency - The commission of an illegal act by a juvenile.  

dependent child - A child who is homeless or without proper care through no fault of the parent, guardian, or custodian.  

deposition - The taking of testimony of a witness under oath outside of court, usually transcribed in writing by a court reporter, or less frequently, recorded on videotape.  

deprivation of custody - The court transfers legal custody of a person from parents or legal guardian to another person, agency or institution. It may be temporary or permanent.  

detention hearing - In Juvenile Court, a judicial hearing, usually held after the filing of a petition, to determine interim custody of a minor pending a judgment 

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