Conviction

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In law, a conviction is the verdict that usually results when a court of law finds a defendant guilty of a crime. [1] The opposite of a conviction is an acquittal (that is, "not guilty"). In Scotland and in the Netherlands, there can also be a verdict of "not proven", which counts as an acquittal. There are also cases in which the court orders that a defendant not be convicted, despite being found guilty; in England, Wales, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand the mechanism for this is a discharge.

For a host of reasons, the criminal justice system is not perfect: sometimes guilty defendants are acquitted, while innocent people are convicted. Appeal mechanisms and post conviction relief procedures may mitigate the effects of a conviction to some extent. An error which results in the conviction of an innocent person is known as a miscarriage of justice.

After a defendant is convicted, the court determines the appropriate sentence as a punishment. Furthermore, the conviction may lead to results beyond the terms of the sentence itself. Such ramifications are known as the collateral consequences of criminal charges.

A minor conviction is a warning conviction, and it does not affect the defendant but does serve as a warning.[ citation needed ]

A history of convictions are called antecedents, known colloquially as "previous" in the United Kingdom, and "priors" in the United States and Australia. The history of convictions also shows that a minor law conviction can be prosecuted as any individual's punishment.

See also

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Jury Group of people to render a verdict in a court

A jury is a sworn body of people convened to render an impartial verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment. Juries developed in England during the Middle Ages, and are a hallmark of the Anglo common law legal system. They are still commonly used today in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries whose legal systems are descended from England's legal traditions.

Jury nullification (US/UK), jury equity (UK), or a perverse verdict (UK) occurs when members of a criminal trial's jury believe that a defendant is guilty, but choose to acquit the defendant anyway. Reasons may include beliefs that: the law itself is unjust, the prosecutor has misapplied the law in the defendant's case, the punishment for breaking the law is too harsh, or general frustrations with the criminal justice system. Some juries have also refused to convict due to their own prejudices in favor of the defendant.

In criminal law, diminished responsibility is a potential defense by excuse by which defendants argue that although they broke the law, they should not be held fully criminally liable for doing so, as their mental functions were "diminished" or impaired.

A pardon is a government decision to allow a person to be relieved of some or all of the legal consequences resulting from a criminal conviction. A pardon may be granted before or after conviction for the crime, depending on the laws of the jurisdiction.

Acquittal The legal result of a verdict of not guilty

In common law jurisdictions, an acquittal certifies that the accused is free from the charge of an offense, as far as the criminal law is concerned. The finality of an acquittal is dependent on the jurisdiction. In some countries, such as the United States, an acquittal operates to bar the retrial of the accused for the same offense, even if new evidence surfaces that further implicates the accused. The effect of an acquittal on criminal proceedings is the same whether it results from a jury verdict or results from the operation of some other rule that discharges the accused. In other countries, the prosecuting authority may appeal an acquittal similar to how a defendant may appeal a conviction.

A hung jury, also called a deadlocked jury, is a judicial jury that cannot agree upon a verdict after extended deliberation and is unable to reach the required unanimity or supermajority. Hung jury usually results in the case being tried again.

Not proven is a verdict available to a court of law in Scotland. Under Scots law, a criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts, one of conviction ("guilty") and two of acquittal.

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A miscarriage of justice occurs when a grossly unfair outcome is made in a criminal or civil proceeding, such as the conviction of a person for a crime that they did not commit. There is no statute of limitations for purposes of investigating and correcting a miscarriage of justice.

Three basic features of Japan's system of criminal justice characterize its operations. First, the institutions—police, government prosecutors' offices, courts, and correctional organs—maintain close and cooperative relations with each other, consulting frequently on how best to accomplish the shared goals of limiting and controlling crime. Second, citizens are encouraged to assist in maintaining public order, and they participate extensively in crime prevention campaigns, apprehension of suspects, and offender rehabilitation programs. Finally, officials who administer criminal justice are allowed considerable discretion in dealing with offenders.

Collateral consequences of criminal conviction are the additional civil state penalties, mandated by statute, that attach to a criminal conviction. They are not part of the direct consequences of criminal conviction, such as prison, fines, or probation. They are the further civil actions by the state that are triggered as a consequence of the conviction.

In criminal law, a mitigating factor, also known as an extenuating circumstance, is any information or evidence presented to the court regarding the defendant or the circumstances of the crime that might result in reduced charges or a lesser sentence. Unlike a legal defense, the presentation of mitigating factors will not result in the acquittal of a defendant. The opposite of a mitigating factor is an aggravating factor.

United States criminal procedure derives from several sources of law: the baseline protections of the United States Constitution, federal and state statutes; federal and state rules of criminal procedure ; and state and federal case law. Criminal procedures are distinct from civil procedures in the US.

The Double Jeopardy Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides: "[N]or shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb..." The four essential protections included are prohibitions against, for the same offense:

Italian Code of Criminal Procedure

The Italian Code of Criminal Procedure contains the rules governing criminal procedure in every court in Italy. The Italian legal order adopted four codes since the Italian Unification. After the first two codes, in 1865 and 1913, the Fascist Government established in 1930 a new code adopting an inquisitorial system. In 1988 the Italian Republic adopted a new code, that could be considered to be somewhere in between the inquisitorial system and the adversarial system.

In law, post conviction refers to the legal process which takes place after a trial results in conviction of the defendant. After conviction, a court will proceed with sentencing the guilty party. In the American criminal justice system, once a defendant has received a guilty verdict, he or she can then challenge a conviction or sentence. This takes place through different legal actions, known as filing an appeal or a federal habeas corpus proceeding. The goal of these proceedings is exoneration, or proving a convicted person innocent. If lacking representation, the defendant may consult or hire an attorney to exercise his or her legal rights.

References

  1. Garner, Bryan A., ed. (2000). Black's law dictionary (7th ed.). St. Paul, Minn.: West Group. p. 335. ISBN   0-314-24077-2.