criminal law and procedure

Eighth Amendment

The Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution states that: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”

The Excessive Bail section provides constitutional protection...

Electronic Surveillance

Overview

Electronic surveillance is defined in federal law as the nonconsensual acquisition by an electronic, mechanical, or other surveillance device of the contents of any wire or electronic communication, under circumstances in which a party to the...

Environmental Law Violations

Environmental Law Violations: An Overview

The United States government regulates activities that impact the environment through a complex scheme of statutes and agency regulations.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) bears the...

Exigent Circumstances

Definition

Exigent circumstances - "circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to believe that entry (or other relevant prompt action) was necessary to prevent physical harm to the officers or other persons, the destruction of relevant evidence...

Expectation of Privacy

Overview

The expectation of privacy test, originated from Katz v. United States is a key component of Fourth Amendment analysis. The Fourth Amendment protects people from warrantless searches of places or seizures of persons or objects, in which they...

Felony Murder Rule

The unlawful killing of another human being while engaged in the commission of or attempted commission of one of several felonies specified according to the laws of a particular jurisdiction. At common law, the "felony murder crimes" are burglary,...

Foundation

Definition1) In evidence

The basis for admitting testimony or evidence into evidence. For example, an attorney must lay a foundation in order to admit an expert witness' testimony or a company's business records into evidence. Laying a foundation...

Good Faith Exception to Exclusionary Rule

An exception to the exclusionary rule barring the use at trial of evidence obtained pursuant to an unlawful search and seizure (see the Fourth Amendment). If officers had reasonable, good faith belief that they were acting according to legal authority...

Grand Jury

A group of people selected to sit on a jury that decide whether to return an indictment. An indictment formally charges a person with committing a crime and begins the criminal prosecution process.

In the United States, a grand...

Habeas Corpus

OVERVIEW:

Latin for "that you have the body." In the US system, federal courts can use the writ of habeas corpus to determine if a state's detention of a prisoner is valid. A writ of habeas corpus is used to bring a prisoner or other detainee (e...

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