Legal Terms & Definitions

Rock Island County Circuit Clerk SealAlias Summons

This is a second summons issued in a case because the defendant was not previously served or found as indicated by the original return of service date.

Body Attachment

Is an order by the Court to the Sheriff commanding him to take a person into custody for Contempt of court and directing him to hold him or her until the day of court or admitting him or her to bail for a future court date.

Citation to Discover Assets

This is a document issued by the Court Clerk, after judgment, which requires the defendant to reveal under oath the location of his or her bank accounts, property owned or name of employer if any of these exist.


The Court document that is filed by the plaintiff to initiate the lawsuit.


Is the party being sued.

Notice of Motion

Is a written instrument sent by either the plaintiff or defendant notifying the other party of court date in which one of the parties is requesting the Court to take some action. If sent by U. S. Mail, the postmark must be four days from the Court date requested.

If the notice is served in person, it must be at least one day prior to the requested court date. The original must be filed with the Circuit Clerk before the court date. This notice does not have to be sent by certified mail.


Means the party who initiates a lawsuit.

Pro Se

Is a Latin term meaning "for himself" or "in his own behalf" and is pronounced, "pro say". When a plaintiff files a case without a lawyer's assistance, the plaintiff is filing the case "pro se."

Rule to Show Cause

This is an order by the Court directing a party to appear before the Court on a certain day to show the Court why he or she should not be held in contempt of Court for failure to comply with the court's previous order.


A summons issued by the Clerk of the Court in Small Claims is either served by certified mail (in Rock Island County only) or by the Rock Island County Sheriff and a return is made either by the return receipt from the U.S. Post Office or an endorsement on the summons by the Sheriff. Until a summons has been served, the Court does not have authority to hear the case.


Is an order of the Court commanding a person to testify in a pending court case. (Note: In order for the subpoena to be valid, the statutory witness fees ad mileage must be paid at the time of service).


The Court document issued by the Circuit Court Clerk, which commands the defendant to file an appearance or appear in court for trial.

Turn Over Order

Is an order form used to direct a garnishee to "turn over" or transfer funds or property to a specific person.

Disclaimer: Circuit Court Clerk staff are prohibited from providing legal advice.