criminal law and procedure


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryThe act of crossing a street illegally, for example by walking outside marked cross-walks. (The term "jay" once referred to a foolish rural person who cannot navigate city streets.)

Definition provided...


Definition from Nolo’s Plain-English Law DictionaryBeing put at risk for a criminal conviction. Jeopardy "attaches" once the jury has been sworn. (See also: double jeopardy)

Definition provided by Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary.


A jury is group of people empowered to make findings of fact. During a court trial, the jury decides the truth of disputed facts while the judge decides the rules of law, including whether particular evidence will be presented to the jury.


Liberty interest

A right that the Due Process Clauses of the state and federal constitutions confer on an individual.


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...


Intentional conduct that is wrongful or unlawful, especially by officials or public employees. Malfeasance is at a higher level of wrongdoing than nonfeasance (failure to act where there was a duty to act) or misfeasance (conduct that is lawful but...

Merger Doctrine

In criminal law, if a defendant commits a single act that simultaneously fulfills the definition of two separate offenses, merger will occur. This means that the lesser of the two offences will drop out, and the defendant will only be charged with...

Miranda v. Arizona (1966)

The Supreme Court held that the custodial interrogation of an individual must be accompanied by an instruction that the person has the right to remain silent, any statements made can be used against the person, and that the individual has the right to...

Mitigating Circumstances


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...

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...