criminal law and procedure



Someone aiding in or contributing to the commission or concealment of a felony, e.g. by assisting in planning or encouraging another to commit a crime (an accessory before the fact) or by helping another escape arrest or punishment (an accessory after the fact). An accessory, unlike an accomplice, is typically not present when the crime is committed. 

Illustrative caselaw

See, e.g. Lankford v. Idaho, 500 U.S. 110 (1990).

Acceptance of Service


Agreement by the defendant (or the defendant's attorney) to accept papers or a complaint without having the papers served by a process server or a sheriff.  Acceptance of service is accomplished by signing a "receipt and acknowledgment of acceptance of service" (or similarly titled instrument).  This satisfies the notice requirement of due process.

Abuse Excuse


A self-defense claim that a defendant is incapable of distinguishing between right and wrong or of controlling his or her impulses as a result of being subjected to prolonged physical or mental abuse, i.e. as a result of, inter alia, battered-child syndrome or battered-woman syndrome.

See also



1) Abuse, generally: physically, sexually, or mentally injuring a person.

2) Child abuse: physically, sexually, or mentally injuring a child either with intent or through neglect.

3) Substance abuse: excessively using or misusing a legal or illegal substance.

4) In bankruptcy: filing under chapter 7 by a debtor whose monthly, disposable income exceeds $10,950 or 25% of his or her non-priority unsecured debt (if at least $6,575) for a five-year period is presumptively abusive, requiring dismissal or conversion to chapter 13.



Taking a person away by means of persuasion, fraud, or force. Some jurisdictions also require that the abductee, the person abducted, be a child or that that the abductor intend to marry or defile the abductee or subject him or her to prostitution or concubinage.  Parental abduction, a parent's abduction of his or her child, is a crime.  Although the terms abduction and kidnapping are, at times, used interchangeably, kidnapping is narrower, generally requiring the threat or use of force. 


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