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Latin: a court petition which orders that a person being detained be produced before a judge for a hearing to decide whether the detention is lawful. Habeas corpus was one of the concessions the British Monarch made in the Magna Carta and has stood as a basic individual right against arbitrary arrest and imprisonment.
A person who is convicted and sentenced for crimes over a period of time and even after serving sentences of incarceration, such as demonstrates a propensity towards criminal conduct. Reformation techniques fail to alter the behaviour of the habitual offender. Many countries now have special laws that require the long-term incarceration, without parole, of habitual offenders as a means of protecting society in the face of an individual that appears unable to comply with the law.
Unsolicited words or conduct which tend to annoy, alarm or abuse another person. An excellent alternate definition can be found in Canadian human rights legislation as: "a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome." Name-calling ("stupid", "retard" or "dummy") is a common form of harassment. (See also sexual harassment.)
An error committed during a trial that was corrected or was not serious enough to affect the outcome of a trial and therefore was not sufficiently harmful (prejudicial) to be reversed on appeal.
A brief summary of a legal rule or significant facts in a case, which along with other headnotes, precedes the printed opinion in reports.
A formal proceeding (generally less formal than a trial) with definite issues of law or of fact to be heard. Hearings are used extensively by legislative and administrative agencies.
Any evidence that is offered by a witness of which they do not have direct knowledge but, rather, their testimony is based on what others have said to them. For example, if Bob heard from Susan about an accident that Susan witnessed but that Bob had not, and Bob attempted to repeat Susan's story in court, it could be objected to as "hearsay." The basic rule, when testifying in court, is that you can only provide information of which you have direct knowledge. In other words, hearsay evidence is not allowed. Hearsay evidence is also referred to as "second-hand evidence" or as "rumor." You are able to tell a court what you heard, to repeat the rumor, and testify that, in fact, the story you heard was told to you, but under the hearsay rule, your testimony would not be evidence of the actual facts of the story but only that you heard those words spoken.
A will written entirely in the testator's handwriting and not witnessed. Some states recognize holograph wills, other do not. Still other states will recognize a will as "holograph" if only part of it is in the testator's handwriting (the other part being type-written).
The word includes all occasions where one human being, by act or omission, takes away the life of another. Murder and manslaughter are different kinds of homicides. Executing a death-row inmate is another form of homicide, but one which is excusable in the eyes of the law. Another excusable homicide is where a law enforcement officer shoots and kills a suspect who draws a weapon or shoots at that officer.
During an examination-in-chief, a lawyer is not allowed to ask leading questions of their own witness. But, if that witness openly shows hostility against the interests (or the person) that the lawyer represents, the lawyer may ask the court to declare the witness "hostile", after which, as an exception of the examination-in-chief rules, the lawyer may ask their own witness leading questions.
A jury is required to make a unanimous or near unanimous verdict. When the jurors, after full debate and discussion, are unable to agree on a verdict and are deadlocked with differences of opinion that appear to be irreconcilable, it is said to be a "hung jury". The result is a mistrial.
A special right that married persons have to keep communications between them secret and even inaccessible to a court of law. While this privilege may have been varied in some states, it has always been held to be lifted where one spouse commits a crime on the other. Similar to the client-solicitor privilege.