criminal law and procedure

self-incrimination

DefinitionThe act of implicating oneself in a crime or exposing oneself to criminal prosecution. Overview

Self-incrimination may occur as a result of interrogation or may be made voluntarily. The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution protects a person...

Sentencing

sentencing: an overview

A criminal sentence refers to the formal legal consequences associated with a conviction. Types of sentences include probation, fines, short-term incarceration, suspended sentences, which only take effect if the convict fails to...

Separate sovereigns doctrine

Under this doctrine, the prohibition on double jeopardy does not prevent dual prosecution when the prosecutions are each by separate sovereigns. Thus, a criminal defendant can be prosecuted by a state court and then by a federal court (or the other...

shoplifting

Definition

The willful theft of merchandise from a retail establishment without the knowledge or consent of the seller with the intention of converting those goods for one’s personal use and without having paid the purchase price. Shoplifting is...

Shotgun charge

Definition

An instruction given by a court to a deadlocked jury to encourage it to continue deliberating until it reaches a verdict. Also called Allen charge, dynamite charge, nitroglycerine charge, and third-degree instruction.

Illustrative caselaw...

Showup

A pretrial identification procedure, where a witness is shown only the suspect and asked if that person was the perpetrator. Has been criticized as subject to error. Contrast with pretrial lineup

Spousal immunity

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, in a criminal case the prosecution cannot compel the defendant's spouse to testify against him. This privilege only applies if the defendant and the spouse witness are currently married at the time of the...

Stop and frisk

Overview

A stop-and-frisk refers to a brief non-intrusive police stop of a suspect. The Fourth Amendment requires that before stopping the suspect, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed...

Strip Search

A strip search is an inspection of a naked person. Strip searches are generally improper unless supported by probable cause. When determining the reasonableness and legitimacy of a strip search, the court will consider the totality of circumstances...

Substantive due process

Substantive due process is the notion that due process not only protects certain legal procedures, but also protects certain rights unrelated to procedure.

Many legal scholars argue that the words “due process” suggest a concern with procedure...

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