defendant


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Defendant

The person defending or denying; the party against whom relief or recovery is sought in an action or suit, or the accused in a criminal case.

In every legal action, whether civil or criminal, there are two sides. The person suing is the plaintiff and the person against whom the suit is brought is the defendant. In some instances, there may be more than one plaintiff or defendant.

If an individual is being sued by his or her neighbor for Trespass, then he or she is the defendant in a civil suit. The person being accused of murder by the state in a Homicide case is the defendant in a criminal action.

defendant

n. 1) the party sued in a civil lawsuit or the party charged with a crime in a criminal prosecution. In some types of cases (such as divorce) a defendant may be called a respondent. (See: plaintiff)

defendant

noun the accused, accused litigant, accused party, charged party, party against whom a commlaint is lodged, party against whom charges are pending, party who is sued, respondent
Associated concepts: codefendant, defendant's rights, indissensable party defendant, necessary party defendant, nommnal defendant, party defendant, principal defendant, proper party defendant, third party defendants
Foreign phrases: Favorabiliores rei potius quam actores habentur.The condition of the defendant is to be favored rather than that of the plaintiff. Reus excipiendo fit actor. The defendant by his pleading may make himself a plaintiff. Melior est conditio possidentis, et rei quam actoris. The condition of the possessor and that of the defendant is better than that of the plaintiff. Habemus optimum testem, confitentem reum. We have the best witness, a confessing defendant. Melior est conditio defendentis. The position of the defendant is the better one.
See also: convict, litigant, party, respondent

DEFENDANT. A party who is sued in a personal action. Vide Demandant; Parties to Actions; Pursuer; and Com. Dig. Abatement, F; Action upon the case upon assumpsit, E, b; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.
     2. At common law a defendant cannot have judgment to recover a sum of money of the plaintiff. But this rule is, in some cases, altered by the act of assembly in Pennsylvania, as by the. Act of 1705, for defalcation, by which he may sue out a sci. fac. on the record of a verdict for a sum found in his favor. 6 Binn. Rep. 175. See Account 6.

References in classic literature ?
Monsieur the President," replied the advocate, "since the defendant has confessed the crime, I have only one word to say to these gentlemen.
This court finds the defendant not guilty, and the cruiser shall wait a few days longer that he may have an opportunity to come and thank the divine Portia.
He conducted the case for the defendant and won it.
It is an axiom of the law that the defendant should be given the benefit of the doubt.
It is a rule of law that the defendant shall be given the benefit of the doubt.
Would you say `most,' I replied, when you consider that there is a further stage of the evil in which a man is not only a life-long litigant, passing all his days in the courts, either as plaintiff or defendant, but is actually led by his bad taste to pride himself on his litigiousness; he imagines that he is a master in dishonesty; able to take every crooked turn, and wriggle into and out of every hole, bending like a withy and getting out of the way of justice: and all for what?
The defendant, the eldest son, immediately afterwards gave out that his father had destroyed the will; and no will being found, he entered into possession of the lands in question, and so matters remained for twenty-one years, the whole family during all that time believing that the father had died without a will.
Pickwick,' replied Jackson; 'it's the defendant in Bardell and Pickwick.
You are the defendant, Sir, in Bardell and Pickwick?
Ultimately the defendants (the crew of another ship) came up with the whale, struck, killed, seized, and finally appropriated it before the very eyes of the plaintiffs.
Horace Mann, one of the legal counsel for the defendants in that case.
The sudden appearance of the figure from the tent had created a momentary stupor among the defendants of the rock, which might, with suitable forbearance, have been happily improved; but startled by the voice of Middleton, the surprised Phoebe discharged her musket at the female, scarcely knowing whether she aimed at the life of a mortal or at some being which belonged to another world.