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.

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An Alford plea, in United States law, is a guilty plea in criminal court, whereby a defendant in a criminal case does not admit to the criminal act and asserts innocence. In entering an Alford plea, the defendant admits that the evidence presented by the prosecution would be likely to persuade a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Double jeopardy, non bis in idem or ne bis in idem is a procedural defence that prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same charges following a valid acquittal or conviction in the same jurisdiction.

A plea bargain is any agreement in a criminal case between the prosecutor and defendant whereby the defendant agrees to plead guilty or nolo contendere to a particular charge in return for some concession from the prosecutor. This may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to a less serious charge, or to one of the several charges, in return for the dismissal of other charges; or it may mean that the defendant will plead guilty to the original criminal charge in return for a more lenient sentence.

Jury Sworn body of people convened to render a verdict officially submitted to them by a court, or to set a penalty or judgment

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-American common law legal system. They are still commonly used today in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, and other countries whose legal systems are descended from England's legal traditions.

Jury nullification (US), jury equity (UK), or a perverse verdict (UK) generally occurs when members of a criminal trial jury believe that a defendant is guilty, but choose to acquit the defendant anyway because the jurors also believe that the law itself is unjust, that the prosecutor has misapplied the law in the defendant's case, or that the potential punishment for breaking the law is too harsh. Some juries have also refused to convict due to their own prejudices in favour 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 or 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.

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

A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation. If the defendant does not break the law during that period, and fulfills the particular conditions of the probation, the judge usually dismisses the sentence.

A miscarriage of justice, also known as a failure of justice, occurs when a person is convicted and punished for a crime that they did not commit. It is seldom used as a legal defense in criminal and deportation proceedings. The term also applies to errors in the other direction—"errors of impunity", or to any clearly unjust outcome in any civil case. Every "miscarriage of justice" in turn is a "manifest injustice." Most criminal justice systems have some means to overturn or quash a wrongful conviction, but this is often difficult to achieve. In some instances a wrongful conviction is not overturned for several decades, or until after the innocent person has been executed, released from custody, or has died.

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 criminal convictions. 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 extenuating circumstances, 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, it cannot lead to the acquittal of the 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.

Burks v. United States, 437 U.S. 1 (1978), is a United States Supreme Court decision that clarified both the scope of the protection against double jeopardy provided by the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the limits of an appellate court's discretion to fashion a remedy under section 2106 of Title 28 to the United States Code. It established the constitutional rule that where an appellate court reverses a criminal conviction on the ground that the prosecution failed to present sufficient evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the Double Jeopardy Clause shields the defendant from a second prosecution for the same offense. Notwithstanding the power that appellate courts have under section 2106 to "remand the cause and direct the entry of such appropriate judgment, decree, or order, or require such further proceedings to be had as may be just under the circumstances," a court that reverses a conviction for insufficiency of the evidence may not allow the lower court a choice on remand between acquitting the defendant and ordering a new trial. The "only 'just' remedy" in this situation, the Court held, is to order an acquittal.

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.