criminal law and procedure

Mitigating circumstances

Definition

Factors that lessen the severity or culpability of a criminal act, including, but not limited to, defendant's age or extreme mental or emotional disturbance at the time the crime was committed, mental retardation, and lack of a prior criminal record. Recognition of particular mitigating circumstances varies by jurisdiction. 

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Magwood v. Patterson, 130 S.Ct. 2788 (2010).

See also

 

magistrate

Definition

1. A local official whose authority is limited to whatever has been granted by statute or specified in the appointment.

2. In local or state courts, a justice of the peace or other judicial officer who has strictly limited authority and jurisdiction to hear certain cases, often criminal cases or small claims.

3. In U.S. federal courts, a judicial officer who has been appointed by a federal district judge to expedite the judicial process by conducting routine hearings and other proceedings.

 

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