modus operandi

(redirected from Method of operation)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Acronyms.
Related to Method of operation: way of operation, modi operandi

Modus Operandi

[Latin, Method of working.] A term used by law enforcement authorities to describe the particular manner in which a crime is committed.

The term modus operandi is most commonly used in criminal cases. It is sometimes referred to by its initials, M.O. The prosecution in a criminal case does not have to prove modus operandi in any crime. However, identifying and proving the modus operandi of a crime can help the prosecution prove that it was the defendant who committed the crime charged.

Modus operandi evidence is helpful to the prosecution if the prosecution has evidence of crimes committed by the defendant that are similar to the crime charged. The crimes need not be identical, but the prosecution must make a strong and persuasive showing of similarity between the crime charged and the other crimes. The prosecution may introduce evidence from prior or subsequent crimes to prove modus operandi only if the other crimes share peculiar and distinctive features with the crime charged. The features must be uncommon and rarely seen in other crimes, and they must be so distinct that they can be recognized as the handiwork of the same person.

For example, assume that a defendant is on trial for armed Robbery. In the robbery the defendant is alleged to have brandished a pistol and ordered the victim to relinquish cash and valuables. Assume further that the defendant has committed armed robbery in the past by brandishing a pistol and demanding cash and valuables. A prosecutor might be able to introduce the evidence into trial to show the defendant's motive, intent, or state of mind, or to identify the weapon used in the crime. However, the prosecutor could not argue to the judge or jury that the robberies were so similar as to demonstrate that it was the defendant who committed that particular robbery, because it is not unusual for a robber to brandish a pistol and demand cash and valuables in the course of an armed robbery.

Now assume that a defendant is charged with robbing a movie theater that was showing the movie Showgirls and that the defendant was wearing a glittering, flamboyant Las Vegas-style cabaret costume during the robbery. Assume further that the prosecution has evidence that the defendant, while dressed as a Las Vegas dancer, has robbed other movie theaters showing the movie Showgirls. The prosecution could introduce this evidence into trial to prove modus operandi and show that it was the defendant who committed the crime, because the method of armed robbery used in the crimes was both similar and distinctive.

When offering evidence to prove modus operandi, the prosecution does not have to prove Beyond a Reasonable Doubt that the other crimes occurred. Rather, the prosecution simply must present sufficient evidence to show that the act took place and was committed by the defendant.

Cross-references

Criminal Law; Criminal Procedure.

modus operandi

(mode-us ah-purr-and-ee or ah-purr-and-eye) n. from Latin, a criminal investigation term for "way of operating," which may prove the accused has a pattern of repeating the same criminal acts using the same method. Examples: a repeat offender always wore a blue ski mask and used a sawed-off shotgun, climbed up trellises to burglarize, pretended to be a telephone repairman to gain entrance, or set up phony companies to disguise a fraudulent scheme.

modus operandi

noun approach, behavior, course, course of conduct, definite procedure, line of conduct, manner, manner of operating, means, method, methodology, mode, mode of operation, mode of proceeure, operation, order, pattern, procedure, process, standard procedure, style, system, tactics, technique, way, ways and means
See also: course, procedure

modus operandi

‘way of doing things’.
References in periodicals archive ?
Courts have held that the negligent method of operation theory applies when
The invention must be new, never have been made public before, involve an inventive step that would not be considered obvious to a person experienced in that field, and must be capable of being made or used in some kind of industry, such as a device, a product, or a process or method of operation.
Message to Padilla: That has been the method of operation of the bureaucrats and their union cronies for years.
The investigating detective provided the names and addresses of the victims and the method of operation and physical description of the suspect to HITS personnel, who conducted an analysis of this information.
While we are committed to creating a more efficient, fully networked production facility, our heavy production schedule does not allow time for significant changes to our method of operation.
The sample code can be used by knowledgeable developers to independently review its method of operation and to confirm the speed and compression efficiency made possible using the algorithm.
They are popular with customers due to their strength and simple method of operation.
The Complaint alleges that the conduct of AWI constitutes an unsuitable method of operation under the Nevada Gaming Commission Regulation 5.
A unique investigative resource available to police agencies across the country, the album explains the YACS method of operation and contains a list of YACS names.
That was kind of our method of operation, if you will, and it worked out very well.
This method of operation allows Pangea to broaden its domestic exposure and acquire a position in three projects that have completed most or all of the initial investigative work," said Mark Weller, President of Pangea.
Method of operation, whereby stacking frames 'nest' into one another, makes Pushback extremely low profile for maximum space utilisation.

Full browser ?