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Vocabulary: The Legal System

VOCAB LIST: People in the Court

sus’pect (n.) – the person who the police think is guilty

suspect’ (v.) – to think or have a strong feeling that someone is guilty

Jason is the main suspect in the police’s murder investigation.

The police suspect Jason is the person who murdered the woman.


lawyer (AmE = attorney; BrE = solicitor) – a person who studies the law and argues in court

I need to get a good lawyer because I am the main suspect in the police’s criminal investigation. Hopefully, my lawyer can keep me out of jail.


prosecutor – the lawyer who works for the government and argues for the people

defense attorney – the lawyer who works for the defendant

defendant (also: accused) – when suspects are in court, they are called “defendants” or “the accused”

The defense attorney argued that the defendant was innocent, but the prosecutor argued that the defendant was guilty.


judge (BrE = magistrate) – the person in court who makes the decisions

The judge ruled that the defendant was guilty and should go to jail.


jury – the group of people (usually 12 people) who decide if a defendant is guilty or innocent

The jury found that the defendant was “guilty”, and he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

witness – a person who sees a crime happen, or a person who has information that can be used in court

The witness said that he saw Jason murder the woman.


criminal - a person who has broken the law

It is a prosecutor’s job to try to send criminals to jail. It is a defense attorney’s job to represent and defend criminals.


victim - a person who is hurt or killed by someone/something else

The prosecutor argued that the defendant murdered the victim for money.



Vocabulary: The Legal System

VOCAB REVIEW: People in the Court


Fill in the blanks with the correct word from the list on the previous page.

The main __________ in the murder of 21 year-old Jenny Page appeared in court today. His name is Jason Black, and standing next to him was his __________ __________, who argued that Mr. Black was not guilty because he was at work when the __________ was killed. However, according to the __________, there are no __________ who can testify that they saw Mr. Black at work. Therefore, the prosecutor argues that Mr. Black is guilty and he is a dangerous __________ who should be sent to prison. The 12 people on the _______ have listened to the two lawyers’ arguments and considered the evidence, and they have heard the instructions from the __________. Now, they must go deliberate and decide if Jason Black is guilty or innocent.

Additional Vocabulary:

court (n.) – the place where lawyers argue and judges or a jury make decisions

My lawyer told me to arrive at court at 9:00 tomorrow morning.

guilty (adj.) – responsible for doing something wrong

innocent (adj) – not responsible for doing something wrong

The jury must decide whether the defendant is guilty or innocent.

testify (v.) – when a witnesses provides information in a court

The witness testified that she saw the defendant at the victim’s house on the night of the murder.

prison (n.) – a place for criminals who are found guilty

After the jury found him guilty, the criminal went to prison for 5 years.

evidence (n.) – proof; information that shows the truth about what happened

The jury decided that the defendant was not guilty because there was not enough evidence.

deliberate (v.) – when a jury discusses the evidence and tries to reach a decision

The jury had to deliberate for three days before they were finally able to agree that the defendant was guilty.

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