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discretion

n. the power of a judge, public official or a private party (under authority given by contract, trust or will) to make decisions on various matters based on his/her opinion within general legal guidelines. Examples: a) a judge may have discretion as to the amount of a fine or whether to grant a continuance of a trial; b) a trustee or executor of an estate may have discretion to divide assets among the beneficiaries so long as the value to each is approximately equal; c) a District Attorney may have discretion to charge a crime as a misdemeanor (maximum term of one year) or felony; d) a Governor may have discretion to grant a pardon; or e) a planning commission may use its discretion to grant or not to grant a variance to a zoning ordinance.


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications