criminal law and procedure

Criminal Intent

The intention to commit a crime.

Criminal Law


Criminal law, as distinguished from civil law, is a system of laws concerned with punishment of individuals who commit crimes. Thus, where in a civil case two individuals dispute their rights, a criminal prosecution involves the government...

Criminal Procedure


Criminal procedure deals with the set of rules governing the series of proceedings through which the government enforces substantive criminal law. Municipalities, states, and the federal government each have their own criminal codes, defining...

Deadlocked Jury

See hung jury.

Deadly Force

Degree of force likely to result in serious bodily injury or death.

Death Row

The section of a prison that holds prisoners who have been sentenced to death and are awaiting execution.

An extended stay on death row does not violate the Eighth Amendment, although the Court contemplated this issue in Lackey v. Texas,...

Defense of Others

A defense to liability for an alleged crime for harm or threats to another person that is in defense of a person other than oneself.

Defense of Property

Affirmative defense to liability for an alleged crime that one used force in order to protect one's property.

Durham Test

Defense to a prosecution for a crime that relieves the defendant from liability if his or her conduct was the result of a mental disease or mental defect.

Dynamite Charge


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, nitroglycerine charge, shotgun charge, and third-degree instruction.

Illustrative caselaw...