To adjourn is to postpone or suspend a legal proceeding, either temporarily or indefinitely. “The court room was adjourned. No verdict was returned” is a line in the 1972 Don McLean song, “American Pie.” Although this line has been interpreted in various ways, some think that it refers to the trial of Lee Harvey Oswald for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

Because Oswald was killed before he could be tried, the proceedings against him were adjourned. The court also adjourns at the end of the business day, with the intention of resuming the trial the following day. Adjournment should not be confused with a recess, which is a short break, taken with the intention of returning to court same day.

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