accessory- Someone who helps in the commission of a crime. Examples are driving a getaway car, carrying weapons, or assisting in the planning of a crime. The accessory does not have to be immediately present during the crime. Punishment for an accessory is usually less than for the main defendant.
accomplice- Someone who assists in the commission of a crime. Unlike the accessory, the accomplice is almost always present or directly aids in the commission of the crime. The accomplice may be punished as the principal defendant.
abscond- To leave a jurisdiction to avoid being served with legal papers or being arrested. Leaving with funds that have been stolen, as in "he absconded with the money."
accused- A person charged with a crime.
crime- A violation of a law perpetrated by a person against the interests of another person. The crime is considered to be a wrong against the people, not just the individual.
criminal- Any person who has committed and been found guilty of a crime.
malice- That mental state of the defendant demonstrating a conscious and intentional wrongdoing directed at another with the specific intent to inflict harm. Malice in the criminal sense is viewed as an evil which is so despicable it justifies the greatest punishment possible. Malice is often an element in first degree murder.
MNaughten rule- The earlier judicial test to determine whether a defendant was insane at the time the crime was committed. Under M'Naughten a defendant is legally insane if the defendant could not distinguish between right and wrong when the crime was committed.
offense- A crime or violation punishable by fine or jail.
quasi-criminal- The judicial discretion to punish an otherwise civil wrong under the criminal laws and jurisdiction. A common example is the parent who fails to comply with child support payments. The failure is considered to be a form of contempt which can carry criminal penalties.
R.I.C.O.- A federal law otherwise known as the "Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organization" act. It was originally intended to crack down on criminal conspiracies and actions which used otherwise lawful enterprises to hide the underpinnings of criminal activity. Over the years, the law was expanded to use criminal conspiracies to implicate vicariously others not directly linked to the center of a criminal conspiracy.
scienter- Latin for "willful" conduct. The focus is on whether the defendant actually had criminal intent. Criminal intent is a necessary element for all crime.
situs- Latin for "location." This usually refers to where the crime occurred. Situs can often determine where the court allows jurisdiction of the matter.
criminal law- The body of rules and laws that make up the criminal process and laws of the country. It includes both criminal process and criminal substantive law.
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