Key Terms: S

  • Sentence - A sentence is a penalty imposed by the court on a defendant convicted of committing a crime. The sentence may include, but is not limited to, a term of incarceration, a fine, and/or a period of probation.
  • Sentencing Guidelines - Sentencing guidelines are a set of guidelines aimed at ensuring uniform sentences throughout the state of Maryland. The guidelines consist of a categorization all crimes in which each is given a designated number. Further, the guidelines categorize prior criminal conduct of the defendant, giving this conduct designated numbers. Finally, the guidelines use a chart where the numbers are plugged in for the designated categories. The sentencing guideline range is then calculated using the chart. Judges are not bound by the guidelines but must consult them when they impose a sentence upon a defendant. They may go below or above the guidelines, but must give a reason for doing so on the designated form.
  • Sheriff's Department - The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department is the oldest continuance operating law enforcement agency in the United States. It is responsible for security in the courthouse, security of the courtrooms and transportation of prisoners within the courthouse and transportation of prisoners to and from the courthouse.
  • Speedy Trial - The right that all defendants have to ensure that the crimes that they are accused of are heard in court in a timely fashion. In Maryland, it is usually within 120 days of the arrest or the first appearance in court.
  • State's Attorney - The State’s Attorney is a lawyer, elected by the residents of his or her jurisdiction, to represent the State in criminal proceedings against those accused of crimes.
  • Stet - A Stet is when there is no finding of guilt. This is also not a “not guilty” finding. When a case is on the Stet docket, the case is taken out of the trial rotation and off of the trial calendar. This can only occur by agreement of the three parties to the case, the judge, the defense and the State’s Attorney’s Office. The case is moved to the Stet docket for a period of 3 years. At the end of the 3 years, the defendant can petition the court to have the Stet expunged from his or her criminal record.
  • Summons - A summons is a document served on a defendant informing him that he has been charged with a criminal offense and the defendant must appear in court for the offense on a specific date.
  • Sustained - A term used in court by the judge when ruling on an objection made by the Assistant State’s Attorney or the defense attorney. It means that the judge agrees with the objection made and will not allow the question, testimony or evidence.
  • Sworn - A solemn oath given by a jury to render a true (and fair) verdict according to the evidence presented during a trial.