criminal law and procedure

a fortiori

A fortiori signals an argument that it is based on an even stronger argument. In Latin, the term literally means ‘from [the] stronger’. A fortiori is generally used to suggest that an argument is based on another argument so strong as to make...

a priori

A priori signals an assertion that is based on prior knowledge or intuition. In Latin, the term literally means ‘from [the] former’. An a priori determination is formed prior to investigation.

For example:

In...

a priori assumption

An a priori assumption is an assumption that is presumed to be true without any assessment of the facts or without further proof. A priori is a Latin term that refers to a theoretical deduction made on a subject without a precise and detailed...

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 June of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]

ab initio

Ab initio is a Latin term that means "from the beginning” or “from inception.” Ab initio is used to indicate that some fact existed from the start of a relevant time period. It is often used as part of the phrase “void ab initio,” meaning...

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

Absolute disparity is a calculation used to analyze a claim that a jury pool did not represent a fair cross-section of the community. For instance, a jury pool that is composed of only white jurors in a community that is predominantly Black....

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