criminal law and procedure

Prisoners' rights

Overview

Federal and state laws govern the establishment and administration of prisons as well as the rights of the inmates. Although prisoners do not have full constitutional rights, they are protected by the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against...

Privilege

Definition

In the law of evidence, certain subject matters are privileged, and can not be inquired into in any way. Such privileged information is not subject to disclosure or discovery and cannot be asked about in testimony. Usually, privileges exist...

proffer

Definition

To offer or present for immediate acceptance or rejection, usually evidence at trial.

Reasonable belief

When there exists a reasonable basis to believe that a crime is being or has already been committed.

Reasonable Suspicion

Overview

Reasonable suspicion is a standard used in criminal procedure. Reasonable suspicion is used in determining the legality of a police officer's decision to perform a search.

When an officer stops someone to search the person, courts require...

res gestae

Definition

[Latin: “things done” or “thing transacted”] The events or circumstances at issue, as well as other events that are contemporaneous with or related to them. Courts previously employed this term in order to admit otherwise inadmissible...

Right to confront witness

Overview

The Sixth Amendment provides that a person accused of a crime has the right to confront a witness against him or her in a criminal action. This includes the right to be present at the trial (which is guaranteed by the Federal Rules of Criminal...

Right to jury trial

Under the Sixth Amendment, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused criminal has the right to a trial by an impartial jury of the state and district in which the individual allegedly committed a crime.

riot

Definition

A concerted action: (1) made in furtherance of an express common purpose; (2) through the use or threat of violence, disorder, or terror to the public; and (3) resulting in a disturbance of the peace. Under common law, the crime of...

scintilla

A hint or a spark. In common law, if there is even a trace of evidence on an issue, then the issue must be decided on the merits, and a motion for summary judgment or a directed verdict cannot succeed.

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