civil death


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Civil Death

The Forfeiture of rights and privileges of an individual who has been convicted of a serious crime.

Civil death is provided for by statute in some states. Most civil death statutes apply only to offenders who have been sentenced to a life term.

Civil death involves the imposition of numerous disabilities, including the denial of the privilege to vote, to hold public office, and to obtain many job and occupational licenses. In addition, an offender cannot enter into judicially enforceable agreements, such as contracts, and may not obtain insurance and Pension benefits. The offender may also be deprived of any right to commence certain lawsuits in court.

Successive marriages can also be affected by civil death laws. The issue is whether or not the spouse of a person declared civilly dead may enter into a subsequent marriage. The state courts are in disagreement on the matter, although, in most instances, where a felony is a ground for Divorce, the spouse of the convicted person may end the marriage.

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

civil death

the loss of all civil rights because of a serious conviction.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

CIVIL DEATH, persons. The change of the state (q.v.) of a person who is declared civilly dead by judgment of a competent tribunal. In such case, the person against whom such sentence is pronounced is considered dead. 2 John. R. 218. See Gilb. Uses, 150; 2 Bulst. 188; Co. tit. 132; Jenk. Cent. 250; 1 Keble, 398; Prest. on Convey. 140. Vide Death, civil.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
The common law referred to the collateral consequences of criminal conviction as "civil death" for a reason.
With the exception of excommunication, civil death and its analogues were formally eliminated from European law by the nineteenth century and in many ways formally eliminated from American law in the twentieth.
Gabriel Chin makes a persuasive case that even if individual CCs might not qualify as "punishment," the overall degradation of legal status that conviction now entails--which subjects ex-offenders to the whole panoply of CCs--is a modern iteration of colonial-era "civil death," and like civil death is a "momentous punishment" that the law must acknowledge.
This Article proposes that civil death has surreptitiously
Hedges' ingenuity, as highlighted by the condition of civil death, which reminds us of her position in the African American tradition.
Each factor directly feeds and accelerates the others, creating an ever-widening circle of social disadvantage, poverty, and civil death, touching the lives of tens of millions of US people.
Felon disenfranchisement laws came to America during the colonial period as part of the English legal system, which included numerous conditions under which a person could be deprived of normal legal rights: outlawry, attainder, and "civil death." As Jason Schall has observed, "disenfranchisement of felons was only a small slice of the suffrage restrictions that existed in the colonies and shortly after the American Revolution." (17) Colonies and, later, states restricted voting on the basis of religion, property ownership, and race as well as gender.
Scholars and policy advocates have used terms such as "civil disability" and "civil death" to describe these sanctions, and particularly the barriers they impose on those seeking to live, work, and participate in civil society free of discrimination.
Civil death is an inappropriate response to those deemed to be failed citizens; rather, the most constructive approach is to find ways of promoting civil engagement and responsibility.
Then, too, the signing of this contract is instant civil death to one of the parties.
The state's century-old "civil death statute" precludes a lifetime inmate from bringing a negligence action for injuries he sustained in an attack by a fellow prisoner at the Adult Correctional Institutions, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has held.<br />G.L.