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A rule of conduct that prescribes or mandates a certain kind of behavior.

Statutory Law

A written law. "The law on the books." As enacted by a government body or agency having the power to make laws.

Penal code

The written, organized, and compiled form of the criminal laws of a jurisdiction

Case Law

Serves as a guide to decision making especially in court. Based on past interpretation of statutory law.

Common Law

The body of law origination from usage and custom rather than written statutes. "Unwritten Law"

Rule of law

an orderly society must be governed by established principles and applied uniformly and fairly to all members.


The philosophy, science, and study of law.

Criminal Law

The body of rules and regulations that define and specify the nature of punishments for offense of a public nature or for wrongs committed against state or society.

Substantive criminal law

The part of law the defines crimes and specific punishments

Procedural Law

Part of law that specifies methods of enforcing substantive law

Civil Law

the branch of modern law that governs relationships between parties


A wrongful act not involving breach of conduct. A private or civil wrong of injury.


A legal principle that previous judicial decisions are considered and incorporated in future cases

stare decisis

Literally means " standing by decided matters " don't go back on previous decisions.


A criminal offense punishable by death or incarceration in a prison facility for at least one year.


offense punishable by incarceration, usually at most one year in prison


A violation of criminal law


Minor violation of state statute or local ordinance. Fine or penalty or specified minor incarceration.


A U.S. citizens actions to assist foreign government in overthrowing, starting war with, or injuring the United States


Gathering, transmitting, or losing of information related to national defense in a way that information becomes available to enemies.

Inchoate offense

An offense not yet complete.

actus reis

An act in violation of a law. "A guilty act".

Mens rea

The state of mind that accompanies a criminal act. "A guilty mind".

Reckless behavior

An activity that increases risk of harm.

Criminal Negligence

When a person fails to perceive substantial and unjustifiable risk with dangerous consequence. (failure to know you are committing a crime or stopping someone else from committing one you see playing out)


A persons reason for committing a crime

Strict Liability

A liability without fault or intent. Strict liability does not require mens rea (guilty mind)


The coexistence of (1) an act in violation of the law and (2) a culpable mental state.

legal cause

A legally recognizable cause. Must be demonstrated in court in order to hold and individual liable for causing a crime.

ex post facto

"after the fact" you cannot be tried for a crime if the law was enacted after the offense was committed

attendant circumstances

The facts surrounding a crime

Element (of a crime)

In a specific crime, an essential element of a crime, as specified by law or statute.

corpus delicti

the facts that show a crime has occurred. "The body of the crime".

defense ( to a criminal charge)

evidence and arguments offered by a defendant and his attorney to show why he should not be held liable for criminal charge.


Shows a suspect was distant or engaged in a provable activity at the time the crime was committed.


defendant admits to the crime in questioning but reasons that it had to be done to stop greater evil


A legal defense when a defendant claims a personal condition or circumstance was such at the time that he or she should not be held accountable.

procedural defense

defense claims discrimination or improper conduct in an investigation or the time following

Islamic Law

system of laws based off the holy Koran

Hudud Crime

A serious violation of Islamic law that is regarded as an offense against God

Tazir Crime

Minor violation of Islamic law regarded as a offense against society


Self protection is why the crime was committed

reasonable force

a degree of force that is reasonable in a given situation to protect oneself, ones property, a third party, or another's property in a threat.

alter ego rule

you can only be defended if as a third party you can legally act on your own behalf.

insanity defense

A legal defense based on claims of mental illness or mental incapacity

M'Naughten Rule

A rule for determining insanity that asks whether or not the defendant knew what they were doing was wrong.

Guilty but Mentally Ill (GBMI)

Proving the defendant guilty though also showing that mental illness is sufficiently blameable for the acts.

Diminished capacity

Defense argues mental illness insufficient to exonerate but that may be relevant to mental elements of certain crime or degree of crime.


Providing an opportunity for a willing offender to commit a crime but not making them commit it.

Double jeopardy

No dual trials for the same offense.

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