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A charge made by an individual who is being accused of some act against the accuser.

Recrimination is sometimes used as a defense in actions for Divorce. Traditionally the underlying theory was that a divorce could be granted only when one individual was innocent and the other guilty, and the defense of recrimination allowed the party accused of misconduct to terminate divorce proceedings by asserting guilt against the other party. As grounds for divorce were expanded, however, recrimination became more and more readily provable.

Recrimination has been limited or eliminated as a defense in some states, and others allow it only where one spouse accuses the other of Adultery and the defendant wants to prove that the plaintiff was also guilty of that offense. In some jurisdictions, the courts have attempted to counterbalance the plaintiff's accusation with the defendant's defense by allowing only comparable grounds to be offset by recrimination.

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


a charge made by an accused against his accuser.
Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006

RECRIMINATION, crim. law. An accusation made by a person accused against his accuser, either of having committed the same offence, or another.
     2. In general recrimination does not excuse the person accused, nor diminish his punishment, because the guilt of another can never excuse him. But in applications for divorce on the ground of adultery, if the party defendant, can prove that the plaintiff or complainant has been guilty of the same offence, the divorce will not be granted. 1 Hagg. C. Rep. 144; S. C. 4 Eccl. Rep. 360. The laws of Pennsylvania contain a provision to the same effect. Vide 1 Hagg. Eccl. R. 790; 3 Hagg. Eccl. R. 77; 1 Hagg. Cons. R. 147; 2 Hagg. Cons. R. 297; Shelf. on Mar. and Div. 440; Dig. 24, 3, 39; Dig. 48, 5, 13, 5; 1 Addams, R. 411; Compensation; Condonation; Divorce,

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