(redirected from Criminal defendant)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Financial, Encyclopedia.


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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


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)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
If Missouri courts choose to expand on the holding of Christian, one could predict that courts in the future will hold that failure of trial counsel to object to a prosecutor's infringement on a criminal defendant's constitutional rights in other contexts might also be considered deficient performance.
If judges win reelection at least in part because they appease public opinion by biasing themselves against criminal defendants, then we think there is less cause for relief than Attacking Judges perhaps implies.
In Iowa, criminal defendants and prisoners have a statutory right to counsel in most cases before the appellate courts.
The Florida Supreme Court held in Puglisi that a criminal defendant does not have the authority to make strategic decisions in his case and that it is the defense counsel that "has the final authority as to whether or not the defense will call a particular witness to testify at the criminal trial." (67) In a unanimous decision, the Florida Supreme Court found that the Sixth Amendment grants defendants only four fundamental rights in a criminal case: "whether to plead guilty, waive a jury, testify in his or her own behalf, or take an appeal." (68) A defendant who chooses to represent himself would have free reign to proceed in any direction he believes would assist his defense.
Resurrecting Autonomy: The Criminal Defendant's Right To Control
The National Association of Criminal Defense Counsel has published a proposed opinion, 03-02, which indicates that a criminal defense lawyer may not participate in a plea agreement that waives the client's right to collaterally attack the plea with a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, because of the personal conflict of interest it presents for criminal defense counsel, and because the waiver limits the lawyer's malpractice liability, because the criminal defendant in most jurisdictions must make a successful ineffective assistance of counsel claim in order to bring a malpractice claim against the lawyer.
While the criminal defendant certainly has an interest in obtaining a favorable outcome, they also have an interest in the execution of their defense.
Bearden ordered Kidd treated until she becomes well enough to stand trial or until she has been in custody for three years - the legal limit in Oregon for confining criminal defendants solely on the basis of incompetence to stand trial.
While Illinois courts have been advising criminal defendants generally of possible immigration consequences pursuant to 725 ILCS 5/113-8, since 2004, that does not appear to be sufficient where the specific consequence can be "easily determined." Many Illinois lawyers and judges who are not versed in immigration law are looking to sources such as www.ImmigrantDefenseProject.
The constitutional test is not whether some mental disorder evidence is untrustworthy, or even whether mental disorder evidence in general is untrustworthy, but whether all mental disorder evidence is so untrustworthy as to justify a total ban on such evidence, given a criminal defendant's countervailing right to a fundamentally fair trial.
For instance, the language of Rule 16 does not explain the manner or mechanisms through which ESI is to be exchanged between the prosecution and defense, and the rule is devoid of direction on how ESI is to be made accessible for review and analysis for the criminal defendant. (122)

Full browser ?