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sealing - The closure of court records to inspection, except to the parties.  

search and seizure, unreasonable - In general, an examination, without authority of law, of one's premises or person to find stolen property or contraband.  

search warrant - An order issued by a judge or magistrate commanding a sheriff, constable, or other officer to search a specified location.  

self-defense - The protection of one's person or property against some injury attempted by another. The law of "self defense" justifies an act done in the reasonable belief of immediate danger. When acting in justifiable self-defense, a person may not be punished criminally nor held responsible for civil damages.  

sentence - The judgment formally pronounced by the court upon the defendant after conviction in a criminal prosecution, imposing the punishment to be inflicted.  

suspended sentence - A sentence ordered by the court but not imposed, which gives the defendant an opportunity to complete probation.  

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

separate maintenance - Allowance ordered to be paid by one spouse to the other for support while the spouses are living apart but not divorced.  

service of process - Notifying a person that he or she has been named as a party to a lawsuit or has been accused of some offense. Process consists of a summons, citation or warrant, to which a copy of the complaint is attached. Subpoenas are court orders which, if properly served, compel the attendance of the witness in court.  

slander - See Defamation 

small claims - A civil dispute in which the amounts of money involved is less than $2,000. Persons usually are not represented by lawyers in small claims proceedings. Small claims are litigated in the small claims division of the District Court, or in the Justice Court.  

sovereign immunity - The doctrine that a government or governmental agency cannot be sued without consent.  

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