Excuse

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Excuse

The explanation for the performance or nonperformance of a particular act; a reason alleged in court as a basis for exemption or relief from guilt.

An excuse is essentially a defense for an individual's conduct that is intended to mitigate the individual's blameworthiness for a particular act or to explain why the individual acted in a specific manner. A driver sued for Negligence, for example, might raise the defense of excuse if the driver was rushing an injured person to a hospital, or if some unforeseen illness or mechanical failure made safe operation of the vehicle impossible.

EXCUSE. A reason alleged for the doing or not doing a thing. This word presents two ideas differing essentially from each other. In one case an excuse may be made in, order to own that the party accused is not guilty; in another, by showing that though guilty, he is less so, than he appears to be. Take, for example, the case of a sheriff who has an execution against an individual, and who in performance of his duty, arrests him; in an action by the defendant against the sheriff, the latter may prove the facts, and this shall be a sufficient excuse for him: this is an excuse of the first kind, or a complete justification; the sheriff was guilty of no offence. But suppose, secondly, that the sheriff has an execution against Paul, and by mistake, and without any malicious design, be arrests Peter instead of Paul; the fact of his having the execution against Paul and the mistake being made, will not justify the sheriff, but it will extenuate and excuse his conduct, and this will be an excuse of the second kind.
     3. Persons are sometimes excused for the commission of acts, which ordinarily are crimes, either because they had no intention of doing wrong, or because they had no power of judging, and therefore had no criminal will (q.v.); or having power, of judging they had no choice, and were compelled by necessity. Among the first class may be placed infants under the age of discretion, lunatics, and married women committing an offence in the presence of their husbands, not malum in se, as treason or murder; 1 Hale's P. C. 44, 45 or in offences relating to the domestic concern or management of the house, as the keeping of a bawdy house. Hawk. b. 1, c. 1, s. 12. Among acts of the second kind may be classed, the beating or killing another in self-defence; the destruction of property in order to prevent a more serious calamity, as the tearing down of a house on fire, to prevent its spreading to the neighboring property, and the like. See Dalloz, Dict. h.t.

References in classic literature ?
He looked, as he spoke, to the seat which Mrs Clay had been lately occupying: a sufficient explanation of what he particularly meant; and though Anne could not believe in their having the same sort of pride, she was pleased with him for not liking Mrs Clay; and her conscience admitted that his wishing to promote her father's getting great acquaintance was more than excusable in the view of defeating her.
'Now,' he thought to himself, with an excusable sense of triumph, 'let the whole family come here if they like!
Bob Jakin was with him, come to congratulate "the old master," not without some excusable pride that he had had his share in bringing about Mr.
It may make many things intelligible and excusable which now are not to be understood.
After favouring them with some heads of that discourse, he remarked that he considered the subject of the day's homily, ill-chosen; which was the less excusable, he added, when there were so many subjects "going about."
"I hope a little insincerity, when meant to act as chloroform--to save a woman from feeling a wound to her vanity--is excusable. By-the-bye, I must send a couple of telegrams from the first post-office we pass.
Nothing can be excusable especially things like sexual assault and the only punishment they deserve is death."
It said: "Taken alone, it might have been excusable as a one-off occurrence, perhaps due to jetlag or a packed schedule.
Even though people pay toll taxes that the authorities collect for the maintenance of the roads and highways, the poor quality of roads is not excusable. Moreover, the numbers of damaged roads are increasing day by day.
The rise of Islamist terrorism has allowed far too many people to convince themselves that Islamophobia can be an excusable form of racism.
The creditor may file a claim after the bar date, but must be prepared to argue that its failure to file a timely claim was due to excusable neglect.
He denied acting with manifest partiality, or gross excusable negligence in receiving the amount.