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At Common Law, that extinction of Civil Rights and capacities that took place whenever a person who had committed Treason or a felony received a sentence of death for the crime.

The effect of attainder upon a felon was, in general terms, that all estate, real and personal, was forfeited. In common law, attainder resulted in three ways: by confession, by verdict, and by process or outlawry. The first case was where the prisoner pleaded guilty at the bar, or having fled, confessed guilt and abjured the realm to save his or her life. The second was where the prisoner pleaded not guilty at the bar, and the jury brought in a verdict against him or her. The third, when the person accused made his or her escape and was outlawed.

In England, by statute 33 & 34 Vict. c. 23, attainder upon conviction, with consequent corruption of blood, Forfeiture, or Escheat, was abolished. In the United States, the doctrine of attainder is now scarcely known, although during and shortly after the Revolution acts of attainder were passed by several of the states. The passage of such bills is expressly forbidden by the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 9).

Bills of attainder are special acts of the legislature that inflict capital punishments upon persons supposed to be guilty of high offenses, such as treason and felony, without any conviction in the ordinary course of judicial proceedings. If an act inflicts a milder degree of punishment than death, it is called a bill of pains and penalties, but both are included in the prohibition in the Constitution (Art. I, Sec. 9).

The term attainder is derived from attincta, Latin for stained or blackened. When attainder occurred, the condemned person was considered to bear a mark of infamy that corrupted his or her blood. Attainder was eventually abolished in England by statute.In the United States, attainder is scarcely known today, although several states enacted acts of attainder during the Revolutionary War period. A few states consider the disqualification of a person impeached and convicted to hold any government office to be a type of attainder. Attainder is akin to the concept of civil death, the forefeiture of certain rights and privileges upon conviction of a serious crime.


formerly the extinction of a person's civil rights resulting from a sentence of death or outlawry on conviction for treason or felony; an obsolete procedure not unlike IMPEACHMENT.

ATTAINDER, English criminal law. Attinctura, the stain or corruption of blood which arises from being condemned for any crime.
     2. Attainder by confession, is either by pleading guilty at the bar before the judges, and not putting one's self on one's trial by a jury; or before the coroner in sanctuary, when in ancient times, the offender was obliged to abjure the realm.
     3. Attainder by verdict, is when the prisoner at the bar pleads not guilty to the indictment, and is pronounced guilty by the verdict of the jury.
     4. Attainder by process or outlawry, is when the party flies, and is subsequently outlawed. Co. Lit. 391.
     5. Bill of attainder, is a bill brought into parliament for attainting persons condemned for high treason. By the constitution of the United States, art. 1, sect. 9, Sec. 3, it is provided that no bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.

References in periodicals archive ?
But after further legal consultation, (92) Ryder and the Solicitor-General decided that "it was impossible to prepare [a pardon for Lord MacLeod] with such a condition as is proposed by attainder, as any pardon by attainder would leave him capable of inheriting notwithstanding his own treason.
277, 320 (1866) (holding that a provision of the Missouri constitution forbidding clergy to preach unless they take an oath declaring that they have "never, by act or word, manifested [their] adherence to the Confederate side in the Civil War" was an ex post facto criminal law and a bill of attainder because "it was exacted, not from any notion that the several acts designated indicated unfitness for the callings, but because it was thought that the several acts deserved punishment, and that for many of them there was no way to inflict punishment except by depriving the parties, who had committed them, of some of the rights and privileges of the citizen"); Ex parte Garland, 71 U.
of attainder is a legislative act which inflicts punishment without a
As such, his role in developing precedent through the use of signing statements and impacting the future use of the tool is relatively minor, especially since the bill of attainder issue is clear in the Constitution.
Moreover, it provides an important analysis of the legal meaning of the phrase 'civil proceedings', delivers a useful discussion of important principles of statutory interpretation more generally and otherwise examines the effect of the common law principle of attainder in Australia.
He concludes that Raleigh was victim of a most unjust murder by royal attainder manipulated by the Duke of Buckingham.
He objected that singling out one organization rather than broadly ending federal subsidies to broadcasters might be an unconstitutional bill of attainder.
6th 31 (2006) (noting that courts have rejected claims that criminal disenfranchisement laws represent bills of attainder or ex post facto laws, and that the court have rejected challenges based on the First, Eighth, Nineteenth, Twenty-Fourth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments, absent an intent by the state to discriminate on the basis of race).
The constitutional bar against bills of attainder prevents application of this plea in the United States.
The court found that the CERCLA liability scheme generally did not constitute an ex post facto law or bill of attainder.
As the impeachment proceedings appeared about to collapse, Commons changed tactics and on April 21 passed a bill of attainder, 204 to 59, declaring Strafford's actions treason and condemning him to death.