CT-N State Civics Toolbox

The Road to Impeachment



TITLE: IV. Lessons Learned




  1. attorney client privilege – the right of a client to refuse to disclose information he or she shared confidentially with an attorney.
  2. bill of attainder - a legislative act that singles out one or more persons and imposes punishment on them, without a trial.
  3. bi-partisan - supported by members of two parties, especially two major political parties.
  4. brief - a written statement setting out one’s arguments.
  5. burden of proof – the duty to prove an assertion to move on in a legal proceeding.
  6. capias – an order commanding someone to be arrested or taken into custody.
  7. categorical immunity – not held responsible under any circumstances.
  8. caucus – a meeting of the local members of a political party.
  9. compel – force someone to do something.
  10. Connecticut General Statutes – the collection of state laws that govern Connecticut.
  11. disclosure – making something known that was previously unknown. 
  12. due process – the administration of justice according to established rules and principles.
  13. Ethics Commission advisory opinion – a formal response from the Commission to persons who are subject to the Code of Ethics that ask how the Code applies to specific situations.
  14. executive session – when the public is excluded from the meeting of a public agency for purposes of discussing personnel matters, pending litigation, security issues, real estate deals or disclosure of public records.
  15. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) -  A law that requires the government to give out certain information to the public when it receives a written request
  16. hearsay – testimony given by a witness who relates not what he or she heard, saw, or knew personally, but what others have said.
  17. hearsay rules – hearsay testimony was allowed during the Select Committee of Inquiry hearings.
  18. impeach - to accuse a public official of a crime while in office.
  19. in camera – a hearing or inspection of documents that takes places in private.
  20. in limine – at the outset. (usage: Attorney Ross Garber requests permission to file a motion in limine prior to the calling of witnesses by the Select Committe of Inquiry.)
  21. indict – to officially accuse someone of a crime.
  22. inference - a logical judgment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and prior conclusions rather than on the basis of direct observation.
  23. jurisdiction – the power to exercise authority over persons and things within a territory.
  24. justiciable - issues and claims that can be properly examined in court.
  25. litigant – a party to a lawsuit.
  26. Majority Leader – the leader of the majority party in either the House or the Senate.
  27. Minority Leader – the leader of the minority party in either the House or the Senate.
  28. non-partisan – free from party affiliation or bias.
  29. partisan – a member of a political party.
  30. per curiam  - an opinion which expresses the decision in the case but which does not identify the judge who wrote it.
  31. precedent – court decision on a legal question that guides future cases with similar questions.
  32. Pro Tempore (pro tem.) –for the time-being.
  33. quash – to make void.
  34. quorum – the minimum number of members required to hold a meeting.
  35. ripe – a case that is ready to be argued before the Supreme Court because all other avenues for determining the case have been exhausted.
  36. Select Committee of Inquiry to Recommend Whether Sufficient Grounds Exist for the House of Representatives to Impeach Governor John Rowland – a group of ten Representatives assigned by the House in House Resolution 702. Committee is referred to throughout the unit as the Select Committee of Inquiry.
  37. separation of powers – the idea that government is most free and effective when the powers and functions of government are divided amongst separate, independent governmental institutions.
  38. Speaker of the House –  Elected by the Majority party to preside over the session of the House.  Sets the agenda for the party issues and controls which bills are debated on the floor.
  39. special counsel – a lawyer appointed for a particular purpose. (Attorney Steven Reich was appointed as Special Counsel for the Select Committee of Inquiry.)
  40. speech and debate protection – refers to the immunity of legislators from arrest or prosecution while the legislature is in session.
  41. standing – the right or capacity to initiate a suit.
  42. State Ethics Commission – in Connecticut, a nine member panel created to administer and enforce the State's Codes of Ethics.
  43. stay – an order forbidding an action until an event occurs or the order is lifted.
  44. subpoena – an order requiring an individual to testify.