criminal law

a fortiori

A Latin term meaning literally 'from [the] stronger'. Translated into English and used in the particular context of legal writing, the term often means 'from [the] stronger [argument]'. If a particular fact is true, then one can infer that a second...

a priori

Definition

A Latin term meaning "from what comes before." In legal arguments, a priori generally means that a particular idea is taken as a given.

a.k.a.

A.K.A is the abbreviation of “also known as”. It is often used to specify a party’s aliases or nicknames in a case.

[Last updated in November of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]

ab initio

Definition

A Latin term meaning "from the beginning." Used to indicate that some fact existed from the start of a relevant time period.

abatement ab initio

Abatement ab initio is a rule in criminal law which negates a conviction if the defendant died before they could exhaust all appeals. In People v. Mount, a California Court of Appeals described the rule as dismissing or remanding a criminal...

abduction

Abduction means the taking of a person against their will, generally by means of persuasion, fraud, or force. Some jurisdictions also require that the abductee (the person who is abducted) be a child or that that the abductor intend to marry...

abet

Definition

To criminally assist another person in the commission of a crime including in planning a crime, escaping from a crime, or in the actual commission of the crime.

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Gonzales v. Duenas-Alvarez, 549 U.S....

abscond

Abscond means leaving a jurisdiction secretly or suddenly, e.g. to avoid service of process, arrest, or prosecution; or leaving with another person's money or property. Absconding is generally a criminal offense which may lead to imprisonment...

absolute disparity

Definition

A calculation used to analyze a claim that a jury pool did not represent a fair cross-section of the community. Calculated by subtracting the percentage of a group in the jury pool from the percentage of that group in the general population...

abstention doctrine

The abstention doctrine is an authority that precludes federal courts from hearing cases within its jurisdictions, instead, giving state courts authority over the case. The policy behind this doctrine is rooted in federalism, and the interest...

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