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Texas Bankruptcy - Terms & Definitions

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Panel
1. In appellate cases, a group of judges (usually three) assigned to decide the case; 2. In the jury selection process, the group of potential jurors; 3. The list of attorneys who are both available and qualified to serve as court-appointed counsel for criminal defendants who cannot afford their own counsel.
Parole
The release of a prison inmate–granted by the U.S. Parole Commission–after the inmate has completed part of his or her sentence in a federal prison. When the parolee is released to the community, he or she is placed under the supervision of a U.S. probation officer. The Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 abolished parole in favor of a determinate sentencing system in which the sentence is set by sentencing guidelines. Now, without the option of parole, the term of imprisonment the court imposes is the actual time the person spends in prison.
Party in Interest
a party with a stake in the outcome of a bankruptcy proceeding. The debtor, creditors, trustee, United States Trustee, and equity security holders are all parties in interest.
Per Curiam
Latin, meaning "for the court." In appellate courts, often refers to an unsigned opinion.
Peremptory Challenge
A district court may grant each side in a civil or criminal trial the right to exclude a certain number of prospective jurors without cause or giving a reason.
Perfection
When a secured creditor has taken the required steps to perfect his lien, the lien is senior to any liens that arise after perfection. A mortgage is perfected by recording it with the county recorder; a lien in personal property is perfected by filing a financing statement with the secretary of state. An unperfected lien is valid between the debtor and the secured creditor, but may be behind liens created later in time, but perfected earlier than the lien in question. An unperfected lien can be avoided by the trustee.
Permissive Provision
a provision in a reorganization that is not mandatory.
Person
any kind of entity, individual, corporate, or partnership, except a governmental unit. Section 101(35) of the Bankruptcy Code defines person for purposes of the Bankruptcy Code.
Personal Property
Property that is not real property or affixed to real property, such as cars, stock, furniture, etc.
Petit Jury (or trial jury)
A group of citizens who hear the evidence presented by both sides at trial and determine the facts in dispute. Federal criminal juries consist of 12 persons. Federal civil juries consist of at least six persons.
Petition
The document that initiates a bankruptcy case. The filing of the petition constitutes an order for relief and institutes the automatic stay. Events are frequently described as "prepetition", happening before the bankruptcy petition was filed, and "post petition", after the bankruptcy.
Petition preparer
A business not authorized to practice law that prepares bankruptcy petitions.
Petitioning Creditors
creditors initiating an involuntary petition against a debtor.
Petty offense
A federal misdemeanor punishable by six months or less in prison.
Plaintiff
A person or business that files a formal complaint with the court.
Plan
A debtor's detailed description of how the debtor proposes to pay creditors' claims over a fixed period of time.
Plan of Reorganization
common title of a Chapter 11 reorganization plan.
Plea
In a criminal case, the defendant's statement pleading "guilty" or "not guilty" in answer to the charges. See also nolo contendere.
Pleadings
Written statements filed with the court which describe a party's legal or factual assertions about the case.
Plenary Jurisdiction
full jurisdiction over the subject matter of the case and the parties, as distinguished from the more limited "summary" jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court. These terms were used in connection with bank- ruptcy jurisdiction prior to 1978, but have become outmoded under the Code and the current jurisdictional provisions of Title 28.
Pluries Writ
a writ of execution issued after the second ("alias") writ. See alias writ.
Postpetition Transaction
a transfer of estate property after a bankruptcy filing that is made without court approval or is not otherwise authorized by the Bankruptcy Code. An unauthorized postpetition transaction my be avoided by a bankruptcy trustee. Postpetition transactions are the subject of Bankruptcy Code Section 549.
Postpetition transfer
A transfer of the debtor's property made after the commencement of the case.
Prebankruptcy planning
The arrangement (or rearrangement) of a debtor's property to allow the debtor to take maximum advantage of exemptions. (Prebankruptcy planning typically includes converting nonexempt assets into exempt assets.)
Precedent
A court decision in an earlier case with facts and legal issues similar to a dispute currently before a court. Judges will generally "follow precedent" — meaning that they use the principles established in earlier cases to decide new cases that have similar facts and raise similar legal issues. A judge will disregard precedent if a party can show that the earlier case was wrongly decided, or that it differed in some significant way from the current case.
Preference
A transfer to a creditor in payment of an existing debt made within certain time periods before the commencement of the case. Preferences may be recovered by the trustee for the benefit of all creditors of the estate.
Preferential debt payment
A debt payment made to a creditor in the 90-day period before a debtor files bankruptcy (or within one year if the creditor was an insider) that gives the creditor more than the creditor would receive in the debtor's chapter 7 case.
Prejudgment Remedy Or Process
provisional and ancillary relief available to the plaintiff during the pendency of a civil case to prevent loss or harm before the case is finally resolved. Most prejudgment remedies aim at the preservation of property that is claimed in the suit or may ultimately be sold in execution to satisfy the judgment.
Prepackaged Bankruptcy
an effort at a composition agreement, which nonetheless ends up in Bankruptcy Court.
Prepackaged Plan
a Chapter 11 plan that is wholly or substantially settled by the debtor and creditors before the Chapter 11 petition is filed.
Pre-petition
Claims or events arising before the commencement of the bankruptcy case, that is, before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Generally only pre petition debts may be discharged in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Prepetition Planning
the debtor's recording of his or her affairs prior to filing a bankruptcy petition by realizing nonexempt property and using the proceeds to acquire exempt property.
Presentence report
A report prepared by a court's probation officer, after a person has been convicted of an offense, summarizing for the court the background information needed to determine the appropriate sentence.
Present Value
See best interests test.
Pretrial conference
A meeting of the judge and lawyers to plan the trial, to discuss which matters should be presented to the jury, to review proposed evidence and witnesses, and to set a trial schedule. Typically, the judge and the parties also discuss the possibility of settlement of the case.
Pretrial services
A function of the federal courts that takes place at the very start of the criminal justice process–after a person has been arrested and charged with a federal crime and before he or she goes to trial. Pretrial services officers focus on investigating the backgrounds of these persons to help the court determine whether to release or detain them while they await trial. The decision is based on whether these individuals are likely to flee or pose a threat to the community. If the court orders release, a pretrial services officer supervises the person in the community until he or she returns to court.
Priority
The Bankruptcy Code establishes the order in which claims are paid from the bankruptcy estate. All claims in a higher priority must be paid in full before claims with a lower priority receive anything. All claims with the same priority take a pro rata share. Claims are paid in this order: 1) costs of administration 2) priority claims and 3) general unsecured claims. Secured claims are paid from the proceeds of liquidating the collateral which secured the claim.
Priority Claims
Certain debts, such as unpaid wages, spousal or child support, and taxes are elevated in the payment hierarchy under the Code. Priority claims must be paid in full before general unsecured claims are paid.
Probation
Sentencing option in the federal courts. With probation, instead of sending an individual to prison, the court releases the person to the community and orders him or her to complete a period of supervision monitored by a U.S. probation officer and to abide by certain conditions.
Probation officer
Officers of the probation office of a court. Probation officer duties include conducting presentence investigations, preparing presentence reports on convicted defendants, and supervising released defendants.
Procedure
The rules for conducting a lawsuit; there are rules of civil procedure, criminal procedure, evidence, bankruptcy, and appellate procedure.
Proceedings in Aid of Execution
See supplementary proceedings.
Proceeds
any property or money received in exchange for an asset.
Professional
attorneys, accountants, auctioneers, appraisers, and the like. A professional rendering services to a bankruptcy estate must be approved by the court for the services to be compensable. The fees of a professional rendering services to a bankruptcy estate are subject to court approval by way of a fee application as described in Bank- ruptcy Code Sections 330 and 331.
Pro Forma
a financial forecast of future performance over a period of time. Pro formas are frequently used in Chapter 11 plan practice.
Proof of Claim
Document filed by the creditor showing how much money is owed to them by the debtor, along with all other supporting evidence.
Pro per
A slang expression sometimes used to refer to a pro se litigant. It is a corruption of the Latin phrase "in propria persona."
Property of the Estate
The property that is not exempt and belongs to the bankruptcy estate. Property of the estate is usually sold by the trustee to generate funds to pay the claims of creditors.
Proponent
the party in interest proposing a specific reorganization plan in a Chapter 11 proceeding. Also known as a plan proponent.
Pro Rata
a distribution to creditors within a given class on a proportional basis.
Pro Se
Representing oneself. Serving as one's own lawyer.
Prosecute
To charge someone with a crime. A prosecutor tries a criminal case on behalf of the government.
Pro Tem
Temporary.
Provisional Remedy or Process
See prejudgment remedy or process.
Purchase
the acquisition of rights in property by voluntary act. "Purchase" is not simply a synonym for "buy", but includes also the consensual acquisition of other rights, such as a security interest. (§§101(43) and 101(54))
Purchase Money Security Interest
a security interest in collateral when the purpose of the loan is to purchase the collateral.

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