criminal law and procedure

Allocution

The direct address between the judge and the convicted defendant prior to sentencing.  During the address, the judge speaks directly to the defendant and asks if the defendant has anything to add prior to hearing the sentence.  The defendant then answers the judge and may say anything in an effort to lessen the severity of the sentence, such as an apology, an offering of remorse, or an explanation of the motivations that drove the defendant's criminal actions.

See Criminal procedure for more information.

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Mitigating factor

Any fact or circumstance that lessens the severity or culpability of a criminal act.  Mitigating factors include an ability for the criminal to reform, mental retardation, an addiction to illegal substances or alcohol that contributed to the criminal behavior, and past good deeds, among many others.  Recognition of particular mitigating factors varies by jurisdiction.

See also Aggravating Factors, Criminal Procedure, and the Death Penalty.

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Substantive due process

A doctrine holding that the 5th and 14th Amendments require all governmental intrusions into fundamental rights and liberties be fair and reasonable and in furtherance of a legitimate governmental interest. The U.S. Supreme Court during the middle of the 20th Century used substantive due process to give added force to the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution by constraining certain actions by law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges.

See due process 

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Criminal procedure

criminal procedure: an overview

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Category: Criminal Justice

Money laundering

money laundering: an overview

Money laundering refers to a financial transaction scheme that aims to conceal the identity, source, and destination of illicitly-obtained money. The money laundering process can be broken down into three stages. First, the illegal activity that garners the money places it in the launderer’s hands. Second, the launderer passes the money through a complex scheme of transactions to obscure who initially received the money from the criminal enterprise. Third, the scheme returns the money to the launderer in an obscure and indirect way.

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