Interpreting a legal provision (usually a constitutional protection) narrowly. Strict constructionists often look only at the literal meaning of the words in question, or at their historical meaning at the time the law was written. Also referred to as "strict interpretation" or "original intent," because a person who follows the doctrine of strict construction of the Constitution tries to ascertain the intent of the framers at the time the document was written by considering what the language they used meant at that time.
Referring to an underlying legal basis or cause of action -- such as a contract or tort (civil wrong) -- in a lawsuit. For example: "Plaintiff's first cause of action against defendant sounds in tort, and his second cause of action sounds in contract."
1) Plural of right. 2) Slang for the information which must be given by law enforcement officers to a person who is under arrest or otherwise not free to leave. (See also: Miranda warnings)
(pah-see kom-i-tah-tuhs) Latin for "power of the county." The power of the sheriff to call upon any able-bodied citizens to help keep the peace or apprehend a criminal.
Latin for "by itself," meaning inherently. Thus, a published writing which falsely accuses another of being a convicted felon is libel per se, without further explanation of the meaning of the statement.
A doctrine asserted by a plaintiff (the person in the offensive position) that prevents a defendant from relitigating an issue that was previously decided against that defendant in a case with a different plaintiff.
The state of mind necessary to prove first-degree murder. The prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to cause death or great bodily harm, or exhibited extreme and reckless indifference to the value of life. Any intentional killing that does not involve justification, excuse, or mitigation is a killing with malice aforethought.
A presumption of fact assumed by a court for convenience, consistency, or to achieve justice.
A cause that produces a direct effect, and without which the effect would not have occurred. (See also: direct and proximate cause)