criminal law

rule of lenity

The rule of lenity is a principle used in criminal law, also called rule of strict construction, stating that when a law is unclear or ambiguous, the court should apply it in the way that is most favorable to the defendant, or to construe the...


Intent or knowledge of wrongdoing. When a person has knowledge of the wrongness of an act or event prior to committing it.

second degree murder

There are no degrees of murder at common law. It is a modern statutory rule which divides murder into degrees according to its mens rea, but the exact definition of second-degree murder varies by jurisdiction.

Both first-...

securities fraud

Securities fraud is the misrepresentation or omission of information to induce investors into trading securities.


While always actionable under common law fraud, Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission (...


Sedition is language intended to incite insurrection against the governing authority. Edward Jenks, in The Book of English Law, contends that sedition is “perhaps the very vaguest of all offences,” and attempted to define it as “the speaking...


Seduction, in law, refers to an act by which a person entices another to have unlawful sexual intercourse with them by means of persuasions, promises, flattery or bribes without using any physical force or violence.



The use of force to protect oneself from an attempted injury by another. If justified, self-defense is a defense to a number of crimes and torts involving force, including murder, assault and battery.


Self-incrimination is the intentional or unintentional act of providing information that will suggest your involvement in a crime, or expose you to criminal prosecution.

The Fifth Amendment provides protection to individuals...


The judgment that a court formally pronounces after finding a criminal defendant guilty. "Sentence" refers to the term of imprisonment or probation imposed on a convicted defendant for criminal wrongdoing.

sex offender

According to the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, a sex offender is a person who has been convicted of a sex offense. The Act divides sex offenders into three tiers, as follows:

Tier I: sex offenders who do not...