guilt

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guilt

responsibility for a criminal or moral offence deserving punishment or a penalty.

GUILT, crim. law. That quality which renders criminal and liable to punishment; or it is that disposition to violate the law, which has manifested itself by some act already done. The opposite of innocence. Vide Rutherf. Inst. B. 1, c. 18, s. 10.
     2. In general everyone is presumed innocent until guilt has been proved; but in some cases the presumption of guilt overthrows that of innocence; as, for example, where a party destroys evidence to which the opposite party is entitled. The spoliation of papers, material to show the neutral character of a vessel, furnishes strong presumption against the neutrality of the ship. 2 Wheat. 227. Vide Spoliation.

References in classic literature ?
for even within these accursed walls, where, as thou well sayest, guilt shrouds itself in inscrutable mystery, even there has the name of Cedric been sounded and I, wretched and degraded, have rejoiced to think that there yet breathed an avenger of our unhappy nation.
The person to whom I addressed myself added that Justine had already confessed her guilt. "That evidence," he observed, "was hardly required in so glaring a case, but I am glad of it, and, indeed, none of our judges like to condemn a criminal upon circumstantial evidence, be it ever so decisive."
The great black forest -- stern as it showed itself to those who brought the guilt and troubles of the world into its bosom -- became the playmate of the lonely infant, as well as it knew how.
Who would be willing to stake his life and his estate upon the verdict of a jury acting under the auspices of judges who had predetermined his guilt?
He was entirely absorbed by two considerations: his wife's guilt, of which after his sleepless night he had not the slightest doubt, and the guiltlessness of Dolokhov, who had no reason to preserve the honor of a man who was nothing to him....
It was too horrible a confusion of guilt, too gross a complication of evil, for human nature, not in a state of utter barbarism, to be capable of!
But the moon came slowly up in all her gentle glory, and the stars looked out, and through the small compass of the grated window, as through the narrow crevice of one good deed in a murky life of guilt, the face of Heaven shone bright and merciful.