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Blameworthy; culpable; having committed a tort or crime; devoid of innocence.

An individual is guilty if he or she is responsible for a delinquency or a criminal or civil offense. When an accused is willing to accept legal responsibility for a criminal act, he or she pleads guilty. Similarly, a jury returns a verdict of guilty upon finding that a defendant has committed a crime. In the event that a jury is not convinced that a defendant has committed a crime, jurors can return a verdict of not guilty, which does not mean that the individual is innocent or that the jurors are so convinced, but rather that they do not believe sufficient evidence has been presented to prove that the defendant is guilty.

In civil lawsuits, the term guilty does not imply criminal responsibility but refers to mis-conduct.

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


adj. having been convicted of a crime or having admitted the commission of a crime by pleading "guilty" (saying you did it). A defendant may also be found guilty by a judge after a plea of "no contest," or in Latin "nolo contendere." The term "guilty" is also sometimes applied to persons against whom a judgment has been found in a lawsuit for a civil wrong, such as negligence or some intentional act like assault or fraud, but that is a confusing misuse of the word since it should only apply to a criminal charge. (See: admission of guilt, cop a plea, plea bargain)

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


the plea by an accused that he accepts that he committed the offence charged or the finding to that effect by a court or jury. See also NOT GUILTY, NOT PROVEN.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

GUILTY. The state or condition of a person who has committed a crime, misdemeanor or offence.
     2. This word implies a malicious intent, and must be applied to something universally allowed to be a crime. Cowp. 275.
     3. In pleading, it is a plea by which a defendant who is charged with a crime, misdemeanor or tort, admits or confesses it. In criminal proceedings, when the accused is arraigned, the clerk asks him,: How say you, A B, are you guilty or not guilty?" His answer, which is given ore tenus, is called his plea; and when he admits the charge in the indictment he answers or pleads guilty.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Guiltiest has been the Financial Times of the UK and the Wall Street Journal of the US, both heavily caught up in the same free-market, supply-side fundamentalism that also did so much damage to the Russian and many other economies around the world.
(The British and the Romans felt the same way.) If the gunslinging hero is an illusion that a modern consumerist society peddles to keep its engines running, if individual force, whether craven or caring, only confirms a nation's commercial and industrial purposes, then the Western "agent" persists in America as its guiltiest pleasure--and most problematic obsession: the masculine agent can never finally die because, mythically, he must be made to do so for us again and again, once upon a time in the West.
The filmmaking nearly matches its subject in audacity: Soler provokes the guiltiest laughter at one turn, only to slap the smile off your face with images of maimed and starving Iraqi youth at the next.
Video, pictures, and music files are storage hogs, with video being the guiltiest culprit.
Third, Zengotita indicts the wrong Bill, for it is Gates rather than Clinton who is guiltiest of crafting a cheerful substitute for reality.
If such evil was humanly created, it must, they felt, be open to human remedy through practical measures and through the power of the Word to awaken conscience and modify behavior."(6) Given this belief in the merciful nature of God and the power of human beings to counteract evil in the world, Unitarians rejected the concept of everlasting punishment in favor of a future afterlife where there is discipline for the soul, where even the guiltiest may be redeemed and the stained spirit may be cleansed by fire.
Change into something comfortable, let your hair down, and indulge in some of the Web's guiltiest pleasures.
In fact, whichever parent feels the guiltiest about the divorce is often the one who does the worst job when it comes to setting limits, saying "no" to, or disciplining the children (Ahrons.
This conviction sometimes emerges in slightly puzzling forms, such as the statement, "When Thomas Jefferson invented rock and roll it became the sound of damnation as it existed in the heart of the greatest and guiltiest American who ever lived" (32).
But what of the single father, his responsibilities for parenting grown ten times graver at the very moment he feels guiltiest, most undermined by misery?
Moreover, as Calhoun's own data on citation patterns as well as the analyses by Crane and Small show, sociology is among the least inward-looking of the social and behavioural sciences while psychology and economics are by far the guiltiest of "intradisciplinary monism" (p.
`The guiltiest person in this affair', commented Chenon fils in a bitter letter to Lieutenant-General Louis Thiroux de Crosne, `is the commander of the Watch, whose name is also Dubois'.(7)