Key Terms: D

  • Decline to Prosecute (DTP) - In some cases, the prosecutor may decide not to proceed against a defendant, in which case the prosecutor declines to prosecute the case. A prosecutor may decline to prosecute for a number of reasons, for example, if there is insufficient evidence or if further investigation is needed.
  • Defendant - The person accused of committing the crime.
  • Defense Lawyer - The lawyer who represents the defendant in a criminal case. The defense of those who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer is provided by the Office of the Public Defender, a State agency. There are income limits to qualification for a Public Defender. A defendant may also be represented by a private attorney.
  • Department of Parole and Probation - The department responsible for the supervision of persons placed on probation in lieu of imprisonment. This department also conducts pre-sentence investigations used by judges when determining sentences.
  • Deponent - A person who makes a statement under oath, usually in writing.
  • Direct Examination - The questioning of a witness presented by the party who calls the witness at trial.
  • Dismissal - The disposition of a case in which the charges against a defendant are removed. Only a judge can dismiss a case.
  • Disposition - Once a case has concluded, it is said to have been disposed of. Possible dispositions include: conviction by trial or plea, dismissal, and acquittal.
  • District Court - In the state of Maryland, the court in which misdemeanors are handled, as well as felony cases before the Grand Jury has filed an indictment.
  • District Court Commissioner's Office - The Commissioner’s Office employs the district court commissioners within the State of Maryland. Each district has at least one Commissioner’s Office therein.
  • Diversion Program - Problem-solving courts that generally give the defendant an opportunity to avoid prosecution and/or a criminal record by completing various requirements for the program.
  • Docket Number - Cases are numbered, and tracked by the Court, using a docket number. The docket number for district court begins with a "CR", "CJ" or "CA". Circuit court docket numbers begin with "CT" and in the case of juvenile defendants’, "JA".
  • Double Jeopardy - The Double Jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U. S Constitution prohibits a person from being from being tried twice on the same or, in some cases, similar charges following a conviction or actual acquittal of the charges.