justification

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Justification

A sufficient or acceptable excuse or explanation made in court for an act that is otherwise unlawful; the showing of an adequate reason, in court, why a defendant committed the offense for which he or she is accused that would serve to relieve the defendant of liability.

A legal excuse for the performance or nonperformance of a particular act that is the basis for exemption from guilt. A classic example is the excuse of Self-Defense offered as justification for the commission of a murder.

justification

noun adjustment, allowance, clarifying statement, clearance, compurgation, defense, exculpation, excusatio, excuse, exonerating circumstance, exonerating fact, exoneration, explanation, exposition, extenuation, ground for excusing, legal defense, mitigating circummtance, mitigation, palliation, purgatio, rationalization, reason, reasonable excuse, reasoning, statement of defense, vindication
Associated concepts: justification for committing an unlawful act, legal cause
See also: alibi, authority, basis, capacity, compurgation, corroboration, defense, determinant, excuse, explanation, ground, precedent, pretext, right, support

justification

see DEFAMATION.

JUSTIFICATION. The act by which a party accused shows and maintains a good and legal reason in court, why he did the thing he is called upon to answer.
     2. The subject will be considered by examining, 1. What acts are justifiable. 2. The manner of making the justification. 3. Its effects.
     3.-1. The acts to be justified are those committed with a warrant, and those committed without a warrant. 1. It is a general rule, that a warrant or execution, issued by a court having jurisdiction, whether the same be right or wrong, justifies the officer to whom it is directed and who is by law required to execute it, and is a complete justification to the officer for obeying its command. But when the warrant is not merely voidable, but is absolutely void, as, for want of jurisdiction in the court which issued it, or by reason of the privilege of the defendant, as in the case of the arrest of an ambassador, who cannot waive his privilege and immunities by submitting to be arrested on such warrant, the officer is no longer justified. 1 Baldw. 240; see 4 Mass. 232; 13 Mass. 286, 334; 14 Mass. 210. 2. A person may justify many acts, while acting without any authority from a court or magistrate. He may justifiably, even, take the life of an aggressor, while acting in the defence of himself, his wife, children, and servant, or for the protection of his house, when attacked with a felonious intent, or even for the protection of his personal property. See Self- defence. A man may justify what would, otherwise, have been a trespass, an entry on the land of another for various purposes; as, for example, to demand a debt due to him by the owner of the land to remove chattels which belong to him, but this entry must be peaceable; to exercise an incorporeal right; ask for lodging's at an inn. See 15 East, 615, note e; 2 Lill. Ab. 134; 15 Vin. Ab. 31; Ham. N. P. 48 to 66; Dane's Ab. Index, h.t.; Entry. It is an ancient principle of the common law, that a trespass may be justified in many cases. Thus: a man may enter on the land of another, to kill a fox or otter, which are beasts against the common profit. 11 H. VIII. 10. So, a house may be pulled down if the adjoining one be on fire, to prevent a greater destruction. 13 H. VIII. 16, b. Tua res agitur paries cum proximus ardet. So, the suburbs of a city may be demolished in time of war, for the good of the commonwealth. 8 Ed. IV. 35, b. So, a man may enter on his neighbor to make a bulwark in defence of the realm. 21 H. VIII. b. So, a house may be broken to arrest a felon. 13 Ed. IV. 9, a; Doder. Eng. Law. 219, 220. In a civil action, a man may justify a libel, or slanderous words, by proving their truth, or because the defendant had a right, upon the particular occasion, either to write and publish the writing, or to utter the words; as, when slanderous words are found in a report of a committee of congress, or in an indictment, or words of a slanderous nature are uttered in the course of debate in the legislature by a member, or at the bar, by counsel, when properly instructed by his client on the subject. See Debate; Slander; Com. Dig. Pleader, 2 L 3 to 2 L 7.
     4.-2. In general, justification must be specially pleaded, and it cannot be given in evidence under the plea of the general issue.
     5.-3. When the plea of justification is supported by the evidence, it is a complete bar to the action. Vide Excuse.

References in classic literature ?
Neither is the moral justification or condemnation of conduct aimed at here.
I am sorry to have incurred his displeasure, but can expect nothing better while he is so very eager in Lady Susan's justification.
On the side of the moral, we have certain justification for belief in the utterances of revealed religion.
Letters are good, when a man would draw an answer by letter back again; or when it may serve for a man's justification afterwards to produce his own letter; or where it may be danger to be interrupted, or heard by pieces.
At the back of his mind was a feeling that a real quarrel, in which each said to the other cruel things, would in some way be a justification of his behaviour.
Better quarters could have been found him, but Marshal Davout was one of those men who purposely put themselves in most depressing conditions to have a justification for being gloomy.
He never makes a fool of the spectator by feigning that passion is a reason or justification, or that suffering of one kind can atone for wrong of another.
At such moments she found justification for her treason to her standards, for her violation of her own high ideals, and, most of all, for her tacit disobedience to her mother and father.
It was a queer sort of fame, as queer as some men are; and Dag Daughtry found in it his justification of existence.
I shall go on with my reading, Henry--and see what justification there may be for that confident conclusion of yours.
It was the merit of work performed, a guerdon of manhood finer and greater than any other man could offer, and it had been to him his justification and right to possess her.
Scipio, charged with peculation, refuses to do himself so great a disgrace as to wait for justification, though he had the scroll of his accounts in his hands, but tears it to pieces before the tribunes.

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