Law.com Legal Dictionary
Note: This is a Web edition of The People’s Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill.
No. of terms: 3,000
Description: The People’s Law Dictionary is regarded as one of the most comprehensive and practical legal dictionaries on the Web and is certainly a very valuable tool to decipher the legal phrases and jargon that surround us. The People’s Law Dictionary can be found on several web sites. I preferred to point out the integration at Law.com, as there you have the possibility to search for a term, search the definitions or browse the legal terminology alphabetically. If you have a website you might even want to integrate this dictionary as a service to your visitors.
Example term: plea bargain
n. in criminal procedure, a negotiation between the defendant and his attorney on one side and the prosecutor on the other, in which the defendant agrees to plead “guilty” or “no contest” to some crimes, in return for reduction of the severity of the charges, dismissal of some of the charges, the prosecutor’s willingness to recommend a particular sentence or some other benefit to the defendant. Sometimes one element of the bargain is that the defendant reveal information such as location of stolen goods, names of others participating in the crime or admission of other crimes (such as a string of burglaries). The judge must agree to the result of the plea bargain before accepting the plea. If he does not, then the bargain is cancelled. Reasons for the bargain include a desire to cut down on the number of trials, danger to the defendant of a long term in prison if convicted after trial and the ability to get information on criminal activity from the defendant. There are three dangers: a) an innocent defendant may be pressured into a confession and plea out of fear of a severe penalty if convicted; b) particularly vicious criminals will get lenient treatment and be back “on the street” in a short time; c) results in unequal treatment. Public antipathy to plea bargaining has led to some state statutes prohibiting the practice, but informal discussions can get around the ban.
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Quote as: The People’s Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill, Publisher Fine Communications.