bill of attainder

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Related to Writ of attainder: writ of habeas corpus, writ of certiorari

Bill of Attainder

A special legislative enactment that imposes a death sentence without a judicial trial upon a particular person or class of persons suspected of committing serious offenses, such as Treason or a felony.

A bill of attainder is prohibited by Article I, Section 9, Clause 3 of the Constitution because it deprives the person or persons singled out for punishment of the safeguards of a trial by jury.

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

bill of attainder

n. a legislative act which declares a named person guilty of a crime, particularly treason. Such bills are prohibited by Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution.

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

bill of attainder

formerly, a legislative act finding a person guilty without trial of treason or felony and declaring him attainted. See ATTAINDER.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

BILL OF ATTAINDER, legislation, punishment. An act of the legislature by which one or more persons are declared to be attainted, and their property confiscated.
     2. The Constitution of the United States declares that no state shall pass any bill of attainder.
     3. During the revolutionary war, bills of attainder, and ox post facto acts of confiscation, were passed to a wide extent. The evils resulting from them, in times of more cool reflection, were discovered to have far outweighed any imagined good. Story on Const. Sec. 1367. Vide Attainder; Bill of Pains and Penalties.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.